question of the day: Is two versions of a movie — one for kids and one for adults (like Hugh Jackman wants for ‘Wolverine’) — a good idea?

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

So this is being talked about: Hugh Jackman has revealed that he’d love for the upcoming Wolverine movie he’s making with diretor James Mangold to go darker. As Jackman told MTV (via /film):

There’s such great temptation to make an R-rated Wolverine. I’ve always felt that. I know a lot of fans would like that. I totally get it. If there was ever a superhero that was going to be R-rated, it’s Wolverine. However, in the last ten years, I’ve also met many, many 12, 13, dare I say 10, 14, 15 year-olds who, for them, Wolverine is not just cool, you see it in their eyes. He’s everything to them. So my thing is, which James Mangold and I talked about, is let’s not put it off the table. There’s even a talk of us doing two versions, as in finding a way for us to do both while you shoot it, which could be really cool. But you need to have a really good reason to exclude those fans.

What do you think? Is two versions of a movie — one for kids and one for adults (like Hugh Jackman wants for Wolverine) — a good idea? Would that make it too confusing to know which is the “real” version? Or would it be barely different from the “director’s cut” versions we often get on DVD?
For me, I despair that the difference between a movie for children and a movie for adults could be boiled down to just the number of swear words and whether the violence is bloody or bloodless. In the case of this particular example, my most anticipated “adult” version of The Wolverine would be “adult” because it would about issues that might bore children. Imagine a Wolverine that looked and felt more like Mangold’s Cop Land than like what we’ve been trained comic-book movies are supposed to look and feel like! Imagine a serious, intense drama about a man who was already an outsider when he was abused and turned into something many would consider a monster! Such a movie could still have plenty of violence, but it could be — should be — primarily the themes that are grownup about it.

Oh, I know I am too much of a dreamer.

What’s your take on the idea?

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