Punisher War Zone: Studio sustains self-inflicted gunshot wound to foot .

I recently came across some coverage of the upcoming Punisher: War Zone movie which will be released by Lionsgate studios on December 5th. The stories have been circulating since late July, and primarily concerned the claim that Lionsgate have decided that instead of releasing the violent vigilante movie with the originally intended 'R' rating, they would instead like to see the film released with a PG13 rating. Speculation has been that the success of the Dark Knight with its PG13 rating is the catalyst for this apparent sea change in the studio's thinking.

A PG13 Punisher movie?

Yes, this idea apparently distressed a few people, including the new Punisher movie's director, Lexi Alexander who was understandably unreceptive to this idea. Supposedly Alexander was in fact unwilling to edit the film in post-production to deliver the studio a PG13 cut and was unceremoniously removed from the project in post-production. Evidence of this included the fact that the director was noticeably absent from the Punisher panel at the San Diego Comic con this past July (the studio claimed that she had chosen this time to go on her honeymoon) as well as the fact that the director appeared to remove all mention of the Punisher movie from her own website.


Anyway, the story didn't end there: there were soon reports that all of this was in fact a marketing ploy on the part of Lionsgate to gain some needed publicity for their film. Some bloggers found this rather hard to believe, citing that this would require a studio to have some balls and creativity.

Again ouch.

Personally, I could see the studio thinking it really needs some kind of buzz for this project, considering that Frank Miller's upcoming movie project, The Spirit movie, will be garnering some buzz of its own from comic book movie fans later that same month; I just don't know if a studio could realistically take those kinds of actions and risk the potential fallout from the film's fanbase and potential audience - remember: it is almost always harder to create a positive buzz once a negative perception of something has been established.

Amazingly the story still was not over; the most recent update on this whole situation is that it was not a ploy and that all of the bad stuff reported on had never really happened.


The most recent news is that the film's chief cinematographer, Steve Gainer, has gone on the record and publicly denied most of the negative rumors swirling around the project. The following passage is from his post on the Raw message boards forum:

Holy smokes, I go away and shoot some kids stuff for Disney, and the whole world is a different color when I return. Again I appear here to dispel rumors. Please believe:

Lexi is not off the film

Lexi is still involved in the edit process

The film is not (nor could it ever be) PG-13

Today I saw a cut that ran 91 minutes

Lexi did in fact get married

Lexi is an incredibly talented director, and this film kicks major ass, as will be proven when it is released IN THEATRES DECEMBER 5th

The film is most certainly not all exploding heads, but will reveal a great deal of Franks personna and pain

This film has been difficult from the begining, from a bitter Canadian winter, to endless nights, to rampant sickness, Lexi has fought to make a killer Punisher film for fans and non fans alike.

Initially we were to release in September, but for whatever reason (not the quality of the film or edit IMHO) it was decided to release in December. That extra time has given everyone a chance to put their two cents worth in, but rest assured, Lexi is still stearing the boat, and she is a great captain.

When I hear vicious unfounded troll rumors like the "film was unwatchable" or "a total mess" it makes my blood boil. I want to punish the corrupt. People sit on their fat asses trolling the internet, people that have never even looked through a motion picture camera, and make judgements on a work of art that they've never seen, it's like saying a baby will be ugly before it is born, I can't freaking wait for this film to come out and prove the nay-sayers wrong.

Sorry for the rant, I just love something wonderful you have yet to see-

(courtesy of

I would like to think that this takes care of things and satisfactorily addresses most of the negatives surrounding the upcoming Punisher film but there are still some nagging doubts in my mind. Sadly, I can imagine a scenario in which all of these bad things did in fact happen (ie the decision to go for the PG rating and the firing of the director off of the project right at the final stages) and that onluy after the damage was done did the studio clue in on this and go into damage control mode and 're-write history to reverse recent studio dumb decision to go for a PG13 rating mode', by getting alexander back on the project. Sure I could be wrong and everything could just be a coincidence, but you know that whole smoke and fire thing? Ehhh, I don't know...

I just hope that the finished product makes me forget all of the rumors...

To see for yourself a more in depth summary of the ongoing Punisher:War Zone movie headlines, visit