A-5 - 1 Roy Parker WRIT-140 A-5 Trisha Hubbs Let the King...

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Roy Parker WRIT-140 – A-5 Trisha Hubbs 4/29/11 “Let the King Speak” Thirty-two days after The King’s Speech (2010) won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay, the king was silenced. Momentarily. The film, which had garnered many awards and notoriety even before the Oscars, had been released with an R rating for “some language” which refers to the multiple usages of the F-word that Colin Firth’s King George VI repeats to help get over his unfortunate stutter. The $15 million budgeted film had already grossed eight times that when on April 1, 2011 The Weinstein Company, the film’s distribution company, released in theatres a new version of the film rated a family-friendly PG-13 for “language.” Yes, the best picture of the year had been censored. Although the reasoning behind censoring the arts such as film is that it shields young people from experiencing seemingly offensive material, the act contradicts the whole notion of art itself, which is freedom of expression without boundaries for one and for all to experience in their own way. Instead of censoring artist’s work by having labels and such defining what is suitable, let the art speak for itself and trust people enough to make up their own minds about whether or not the content is offensive. The King’s Speech dilemma is a problem that finds its roots in two different places, being the company behind the film’s distribution (TWC) and the infamous Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) or the ratings board. The TWC’s reason for re-editing the film down to a milder rating was to make the film more accessible and 1
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allow peoples such as teenagers into the film (Kit and McClintock). This is not the real reason though. The real reason for this unnecessary censorship was for one simple reason – money. Out of the top fifty grossing films of all time only three of them have been rated R – #15 The Passion of the Christ (2004), #47 The Matrix Reloaded (2003), #49 The Hangover (2009) (“All- Time USA Box Office”). Statistically speaking, PG-13 and lower rated films make more money than R rated films. This is also just common sense as well, since R rated movies have the restriction on them that requires the paying audience members to be of a certain age to actually buy a ticket to that movie as opposed to any other film in theatres. But money should not be a reason to censor a piece of art. That is what happened with TWC’s re-cutting of The King’s Speech . Their reasoning behind doing so was to rake in much more money than they already had gotten.
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