'High Tension' | 2005 | NC-17

Box office: $3,681,066 Lionsgate chose to release Alexandre Aja's French horror film called "High Tension" as NC-17 instead of unrated during a brief 2004 renaissance of the rating. The story of two friends fighting off a killer (Philippe Nahon) in the French countryside has minimal dialogue after the opening segment -- perhaps only 10 minutes in all. The action is told from the vantage point of Marie (Cecile De France), who, having escaped from the man's clutches, is trying to save Alex (Maiwenn), whom the killer has kidnapped. Some of the more violent scenes were trimmed -- though not removed. "We feel it's important to establish a legitimate adult rating," said Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate Releasing. "If the MPAA won't do it, we'll do it for them. By refusing to use its tremendous lobbying power to lean on newspapers and theaters [resistant to showing or promoting NC-17 material], the organization has marginalized the designation." The film was originally rated NC-17 in the U.S. for strong graphic violence. But a few graphic shots were cut from the final version and it was later given an R rating, but the NC-17 version was still shown in some theaters. More: NC-17 comes out from hiding | Mixing a new kind of message
Toni Salabasev / Lionsgate Films
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