While sitting down and chatting with Coming Soon, director Gore Verbinski explained why he would not be involved in the creation of a Bioshock movie after all. It turns out he couldn’t find anybody to fund an R rated action film. To explain, Bioshock is a first person shooter video game where the playable character is a plane crash survivor who ends up stranded in a crazy underwater world. This undiscovered society has seen better days, is a little bit post-apocalyptic, and you end up needing to shoot pretty much everything that lives there to get your way through the story. Verbinski said of his position, “ … I wasn’t really interested in pursuing a PG-13 version. Because the R rating is inherent.” So studio accountants wanted to make a movie about a game where 90% of everything that happens is shooting things PG-13. What kind of a world are we living in?
To further explain the problem Verbinski added, “It’s a movie that has to be really, really scary, but you also have to create a whole underwater world, so the price tag is high. We just didn’t have any takers on an R-rated movie with that price tag.” The concern is understandable. A movie about a videogame is going to appeal to a much younger crowd than most other things, and making a movie aimed toward people who aren’t old enough to buy a ticket to it doesn’t seem like a smart move at all. It’s kind of a Catch-22. But when did this problem start for the film industry?
When I was a kid hard R action movies were an absolute staple of the multiplexes. My dad took me to one almost every weekend, and we loved the hell out of them. There was an entire crop of film icons who became the biggest stars in the world just by blowing things up. Action movies had gory deaths, tons of cursing, boobs thrown in for no reason; they were great. Everyone loved them and they made tons of money. Horror movies are still among the highest grossing films that get put out there. Flocks of teenagers swarm theaters to see them every weekend, and nearly every one is R rated. The game that this proposed movie would be based off of has the video game industry equivalent of an R rating, and yet it was a big enough success that there is interest in making a film version of it. Who do you think is buying these games? Why did the studio system suddenly decide that R rated action movies couldn’t make back their money? The last decade or so of watered down, forgettable action films has been putrid. Everything good about the genre gets stripped away, more CG explosions and shaky cam are futilely added to try and make up for the loss, and the result is always completely bland.
I for one am happy to hear about a director taking a stand. Too many other people in the business would have just done what the executives wanted and made that lame PG rated snoozer. Gore Verbinski will either do it right or not do it at all. He’s my hero of the day. And what did you expect? His first name is Gore.