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Thread: Fantasy Island Movie Was Originally Going To Be R-Rated

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    Fantasy Island Movie Was Originally Going To Be R-Rated


    The Fantasy Island movie from Blumhouse was originally going to be rated R. To an older generation, the title Fantasy Island instantly conjures the 1970s/80s TV show starring Ricardo Montalban and Hervé Villechaize, about a tropical paradise where every week a new set of guests would arrive via plane and see their wildest fantasies come true.

    Though the show certainly had a mysterious element to it, no one would ever characterize Fantasy Island as scary. However, when Blumhouse decided to revive the show’s basic concept as a movie, the idea was hatched to take things down a much darker road and create an all-out horror version. That horror-skewed take on Fantasy Island finally reached screens this weekend but did not impress critics much and currently holds just a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were somewhat warmer on the film than reviewers, helping it open to $14 million over the President’s Day holiday, good enough for third place at the box office.

    Though Fantasy Island is indeed a horror film, it’s actually not as extreme a horror film as it could have been according to director Jeff Wadlow. Speaking to CinemaBlend, the filmmaker revealed that he wanted the film to be rated R before test audience responses convinced producer Jason Blum and company to make enough changes for the movie to receive a PG-13 rating. Wadlow said:

    Upfront I said, 'Jason Blum, the movie has to be rated R.' And it's not. That's great example of having to change and kind of go with the flow. I felt that it had to be R, and I thought I shot an R movie, but then when we showed it to an audience we were like, 'Well, it's not really that R.' And just a couple of trims and it was a PG-13.

    Wadlow also revealed that there’s a “slightly edgier” cut of the film that will be made available later. Despite the cuts made to get from R down to PG-13, Wadlow still thinks the movie works thanks to the performances. “It doesn't matter if a movie's PG-13 or R – those things come through when you have great actors like we have in our film.”

    It is of course impossible to say now if the film would have performed better had it gone into theaters carrying an R rating rather than a PG-13. Generally speaking, horror audiences do prefer more extreme works that push the boundaries of violence and gore, and tend to look down on PG-13 rated horror films as being softer and more kid-friendly. That being said, there have been some very successful PG-13 horror films in recent years, most notably A Quiet Place, Happy Death Day and Insidious.

    At any rate, it sounds from Wadlow’s remarks like the cuts made to Fantasy Island were minimal at best, so the downgrade from a soft R to PG-13 likely didn’t affect the film’s story very much. Audiences will get to judge for themselves, should they so wish, which version of the movie is better when the “edgier” cut arrives somewhere down the road. And for an even less horrific experience, they can just check out the original Fantasy Island TV show.

    Fantasy Island (2020)
    Release Date: Feb 14, 2020

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