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Sylvester Stallone says a PG-13 rating for Expendables 3 was a ‘horrible miscalculation’

Summer 2014’s action-ensemble sequel The Expendables 3 missed the mark at the U.S. box office despite generating respectable ticket sales overseas, and with the film arriving on DVD and Blu-ray this week, franchise creator and star Sylvester Stallone has been doing the press rounds to promote the film. During a recent interview, the veteran actor offered a frank assessment of where he thinks the blame lies for the film’s shortfall.

Asked by CraveOnline whether future installments of the franchise would go back to an “R” rating as opposed to the “PG-13” rating embraced by the third film, Stallone made his opinion abundantly clear.

“Absolutely unequivocally yes,” he answered. “I believe [changing to a ‘PG-13’ rating after two ‘R’-rated films] was a horrible miscalculation on everyone’s part in trying to reach a wider audience, but in doing such, diminish the violence that the audience expects. I’m quite certain it won’t happen again.”

In returning to an R- rating, however, Stallone hinted that the believability of the characters’ survival from one ridiculously dangerous mission to the next could itself become a casualty of embracing a more adult audience.

“It is a big conflict for me, because in an R-rated film it is difficult to believe that none of the heroes die,” he explained. “I personally just believe that the characters become identifiable and their demise could put a dark cloud over an audience exiting the theatre after seeing the film. But that may change in Expendables 4.”

The Expendables 3 arrives on DVD and Blu-ray November 25.