Christopher Nolan Cut A Gruesome Dark Knight Rises Death Scene To Avoid NC-17 Rating



Christopher Nolan Cut A Gruesome Dark Knight Rises Death Scene To Avoid NC-17 Rating 2

In the final cut of «The Dark Knight Rises,» Matthew Modine’s character shoots at Talia al Ghul, only for the picture to cut away, implying that she ran him over. While the death sequence was filmed, it seems like Christopher Nolan knew right there and then that the shot wasn’t going to make it to multiplexes. «I remember I looked at Christopher Nolan […] when we shot it and his face was white,» Modine said. «He was like, ‘OK, let’s move on. We got that.’ But it was like, ‘Oh my God, is that guy going to get up? Is he okay?'» Ultimately, Nolan told the actor that the sequence would have given the blockbuster an NC-17 rating. 

For those unfamiliar with the NC-17 rating, it’s the harshest and most mature rating a film can receive. While some NC-17 films have debuted in cinemas, some exhibitors don’t show films with the rating at all, which means that profitability can become minimal. A look at the highest-grossing NC-17 films to ever be released reveals that none have topped more than $65 million. 

With no one under 17 admitted, a blockbuster simply can’t thrive with such a rating. For context, «The Dark Knight Rises» debuted in over 4,400 theaters domestically and went on to make over $1 billion at PG-13. Imagine if the film had an NC-17 rating — the flick, which cost $230 million, would have been one of Warner Bros. and Nolan’s biggest bombs. But then again, Nolan’s R-rated «Oppenheimer» made over $950 million in 2024, which confirms there’s a market for mature, adult-oriented blockbusters. 

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