Lionsgate Gunning For A PG-13 Punisher: War Zone?

Slowly but surely, Punisher: War Zone is being lowered into a grave of WTF by Lionsgate. First, Lexi Alexander, director of the gorey Marvel actioner, was seemingly kicked off the project. We still don't know what happened exactly. Her candid, rah-rah website was suddenly wiped clean of all prior updates on the film, save for a cryptic "see, hear, speak no evil" monkey post, which was later replaced by a detached entry about a friend's Bugatti. Today, Latino Review hears that Lionsgate might edit the film for a PG-13 rating. The site speculates that The Dark Knight's money volcano was an influence. Strange since Lionsgate is moving forward with an R-rated Conan reboot, also being compared (of course) to TDK. But if true, this is beyond absurd. We're almost intrigued to see them brick, given that Alexander enticed fans with boasts of hardcore bloodshed and Castle-worthy violence for months—later confirmed by this entertaining, head smashing red band clip.

If Lionsgate is reading this, all it takes is a short statement to the fans clarifying your flick's status. I was just interviewed by a mag about the detrimental impact a studio's silence in 2008 can have on a movie generally perceived as troubled. War Zone is becoming a prototypical botched case. Current online perception is that there are two bad-buzz nails already in this film's coffin, and buzz wasn't too hot to start with. All it takes is one more, like star Ray Stevenson issuing a quiet diss, and this December outing will meet a worse fate than the prior Thomas Jane Punisher. That would make Frank Castle, a character that is, uhhh, not a "college educated Ferrari engine," 3-for-3 for movie wipeouts.