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James Gunn On Why 2002 Scooby-Doo Originally Received an R Rating

January 31, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

It’s been known for a while that the 2002 Scooby-Doo live-action film oddly received an initial R rating, and now James Gunn has revealed why. Gunn, who wrote the script for the film, took to Twitter on Friday after a fan asked if the R-rated cut would ever be released and explained the reasons for the initial rating, as well as why we’re unlikely to ever see it.

“The movie was originally meant to be PG-13 & was cut down to PG after like 3 parents were outraged at a test screening in Sacramento,” Gunn said. “The studio decided to go a more family-friendly route. Yes, the first MPAA rating was R, but it was only because of one stupid joke the MPAA misinterpreted. Language and jokes and sexual situations were removed, including a kiss between Daphne and Velma. Cleavage was CGI’d over. But, thankfully, the farting remained.”

He continued, “I thought at the time the rating change was a mistake. I felt like a lot of teens came out for the first film and didn’t get what they wanted (and didn’t come back for the sequel). But today I don’t know. So many young kids loved those movies, which is pretty cool. Also, for the record, I doubt any of those old cuts still exist.”

The film starred Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and Linda Cardellini as the human members of the Scooby gang, returning to action after two years of being closed down. Directed by Raja Gosnell, the film was not loved by critics but made $275.7 million worldwide. The sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, was also a financial success but didn’t meet studio expectations and the series was abandoned. An animated take on the franchise, Scoob!, will bow on May 15th.

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Scooby-Doo, Jeremy Thomas