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PG-13 'King's Speech' draws mild business

The re-cut version of 'The King's Speech' draws only mild business.

April 04, 2011

Maybe Harvey Weinstein should have listened to Colin Firth.

After winning the lead actor prize for his role in "The King's Speech" at the Oscars in February, Firth told reporters backstage that he was vehemently opposed to the chief of the Weinstein Co.'s plan to create a PG-13 version of the R-rated movie.

"I don't support it," Firth said, referring to the cutting of a scene in which his character, the Duke of York, spews out the F-word during a speech therapy session designed to help him overcome a debilitating stammer. "I think the film has its integrity as it stands. I think that scene belongs where it is. I think it serves a purpose."

If new box-office results are any indication, audiences seem to agree. The PG-13 version of the film with less obscenity hit theaters this weekend, replacing the R-rated version in 1,007 theaters. But the new rating did little to attract a broader audience to the film, as the re-cut edition collected only $1.2 million in ticket sales. Last weekend, when the R-rated film was playing in 1,062 theaters, it grossed $1.6 million.

With a handful of kids out on spring break, the Weinstein Co., which is distributing the film, had been hoping that the new version of the period drama would lure in younger moviegoers. Instead, the majority of families showed up to see the hybrid live-action/animation film "Hop," which brought in an estimated $38.1 million on its opening weekend.

But even if the marketing ploy is a failure, "The King's Speech" ultimately still will be a box-office success: It has made $136.6 million domestically and more than $230 million internationally. Interestingly, a less restrictive rating might have helped the film find success abroad: In Great Britain, where the movie has made more than $70 million, "The King's Speech" is recommended for audiences 12-and-older.

— Amy Kaufman

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