David Ellis, director of Shark Night 3D, told Movies.com that he feels lucky the film received the PG-13 it ultimately earned. “I’m surprised we got the rating, I really am” Ellis said in an interview Wednesday night. “We went before the MPAA and they had some notes, and we addressed a few of them, and we pushed it - I think we pushed it as far as you can go before you’re an R. It’s intense, it’s scary, it’s got blood, the only thing we didn’t need in the movie was a lot of boobs and a lot of really gory stuff.”
Ellis previously made the campy horror flick Snakes On a Plane, as well as The Final Destination. He said that he wanted Shark Night to be a different kind of film than his previous efforts within the genre. “What I wanted to do was a smarter movie,” he confessed. “Not that Snakes on a Plane wasn’t smart, but this wasn’t something that you see every day. We had a great script, great characters, great twists, a lot of scary stuff, but a lot of fun too. They’re two totally different kind of movies. People don’t really take Snakes on a Plane that seriously, but I think they will this movie.”
According to Ellis, part of the reason he steered the film towards a PG-13 rating was because he wanted to broaden its commercial potential. “We wanted to make the best movie and have a wider demographic for the movie,” he said. “But we have really sexy women, great characters, a great cast, and less is more.”
Shark Night follows in the footsteps of Piranha 3D, a film which tested the limits of an R rating (much less good taste) with its depiction of nudity and gore. But Ellis indicated that his film offered a different sort of enjoyment than its prurient pleasures.
“I’m not sure the Piranha movies are a whole bunch of fun,” he observed. “They might have fun for a couple of minutes until the piranha come, but then it’s campy and funny, and ridiculous in a way.”
“So tried to just make a smart movie, and have fun with it.”
Shark Night 3D opens nationwide on September 2, 2011.