Why did Warner Brothers spend half a million dollars to digitally alter 8 seconds of Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut?


     To avoid getting an “NC-17” rating from the MPAA.

Not only does an NC-17 rating reduce the size of a movie’s in-theater audience (by prohibiting anyone under the age of eighteen from buying a ticket), but it prevents the film from being licensed to either network television or the airlines for in-flight entertainment. Worse yet, it also means that the giant retailer Wal-Mart--which writes the largest annual paycheck to the studios--will not carry the video or DVD in its stores. Nor will Blockbuster Entertainment. Since director Stanley Kubrick had contractually agreed to deliver an R-rated film before he died, Warner Brothers had a computer-graphics house insert digital fig leaves (actually bobbing heads) in the film’s orgy scene. As a result, Eyes Wide Shut was able to earn the less-restrictive R rating from the MPAA.


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