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'Black Adam' cut its kills in half to get rid of R-rating

Black Adam ultimately got a PG-13 rating, though some of the character's kills had to go. Some.

By Vanessa Armstrong
DWAYNE JOHNSON as Black Adam in New Line Cinema’s action adventure “BLACK ADAM".

Black Adam is set to make a killing this Friday at the box office, but the final version of the movie will have less kills in it than originally planned.

In an interview with Collider, producers Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn revealed that Dwayne Johnson’s titular character initially killed several more people on screen. So much so, that the MPAA — the organization that gives movies their rating level — initially thought the number of deaths by Black Adam’s hand warranted an R-rating for the film. 

The producers and everyone else involved knew the film needed a PG-13 rating so it would appeal to a larger audience, but they also wanted to make sure Black Adam stayed true to his comic book roots. 

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“We really wanted to make sure that we honored the character of Black Adam,” Garcia told Collider. “One of the things he's known for is his aggression and violence, and to do a Black Adam movie that didn't have that just wouldn’t have been authentic. So we always went into this knowing that we were going to push it as far as we did. We knew it was going to be a collaborative process with the MPAA to finally get it to where we were able, to get that rating, but we were able to pull it off. But it was really important for us to do that. And that's something Dwayne was very committed to as well.”

Getting that necessary PG-13 rating, however, was no easy task. According to Flynn, the creative team went four rounds with the rating organization, and only nailed down a PG-13 rating about four or five weeks ago. 

And while the producers and Johnson fought and won for there to be plenty of killing action in the final film, the producers did concede that there were a fair amount of changes made to please the MPAA. 

“We did have to make a lot of edits, actually,” said Flynn. “There are some personal moments that we really love, but we had to let them go. But we never compromised, we never had to cut a scene. We had some really cool moments, and if you notice, there are some great moments when Black Adam is in the fly bike chase sequence and drops one of the intergang soldiers. Then there's this great moment where the truck bounces over the body. But those are moments that you need and remember in these movies, you know what I mean? You can't play it safe, and you have to go for it. And I think we have four or five of those. At one point we had about ten, and we were able to find some compromise with the MPAA on that.”

You can see Black Adam still kill a lot of people when Black Adam premieres in theaters on Friday, Oct. 21. 

Looking for more superhero action? Stream Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider and more on Peacock right now.