While Avatar: The Way of Water continued its box office dominance last weekend, it was the surprisingly strong debut of M3GAN that had everyone talking. With $45M worldwide, Blumhouse and Universal’s dancing killer doll flick was an instant hit that appealed to everyone who saw it. How’s that? Well, Universal targeted the film at a wider audience, reducing the gore that was initially part of the story, and aiming for a PG-13 rating.
While James Wan’s name has been all over M3GAN, the film was co-written by Akela Cooper, who admitted to the LA Times why Universal made the decision to cut much of the blood and violence, and what that means for fans who really want to see it put back in…
“No shade to Universal, love them, and I understand that once the trailer went viral, teenagers got involved and you want them to be able to see it,” said Cooper. “There should be an unrated version at some point. … I heard it is on the books. But yes, it was way gorier. Her body count in the script was higher than in the movie. It wasn’t a Gabriel [in ‘Malignant’]-scale massacre, but she did kill a bunch more people, including a couple of characters whom James was like, ‘I like what you did with those people, but I want them to live.’ I was merciless, but again, that is me. My humor is extremely dark.”
That’s right. An unrated version of M3GAN is coming our way. I really enjoyed the film but must admit it felt too light on gore. The body count is shockingly low for such a movie. Chucky wouldn’t stand for it.
Furthermore, Cooper thinks we’re starting to have a sea change in Hollywood as studios move away from the “elevated” horrors and back to fun, violent stuff again…
“It is exciting because for so long everyone was doing ‘elevated horror.’ Even going out and pitching, I would have people say, ‘We like it, but it’s too gory. It’s not elevated. An exec who read one of my specs and really liked it said, ‘It’s gory and no one’s doing gore right now. We have to wait for a horror movie that has gore to come out and be a hit, and then the market will shift.’ I was sitting there, like, ‘OK … we could lead that charge.’”
“Now I’m [hearing], ‘There’s gore, and it’s not a problem.’ I’m happy that I could have a hand in bringing back fun horror that doesn’t take itself so seriously. I’m reading about more horror movies that are wild, out-there ideas coming out or being bought. And some of them are original, which is good! I’m happy that I could steer that ship so that studio execs can be like, ‘Oh! There might actually be money in them thar hills.’”
I’ll take fewer Ari Aster movies and more James Wan/Akela Cooper movies, please.