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763 more 'Anchorman' jokes

A still from "Anchorman 2" (the whole number version)

Just in case you didn't get enough Ron Burgundy during the all-out blitzkrieg of product placement and PR schemes that accompanied the release of "Anchorman 2", Paramount is releasing an entire second version of the film next Friday. In theatres. It turns out they had enough extra material to replace nearly every joke in the movie, 763 to be exact.

The official title of the movie is "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version". The original "Anchorman 2" was PG-13, which means the jokes were less raunchy, and better suited to a less mature audience.

Movie studios generally like to avoid R ratings because they tend to make less money. But since the PG-13 version of "Anchorman" already came out, there is little risk in a theatrical release of an R-rated version.

"People who like 'Anchorman' aren't shy. Audiences could totally handle an R-rated Ron Burgundy, and probably would love to see that," says Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

These days, it's common for studios to do a DVD release of an unrated version of a movie, with raunchier jokes or more nudity, but it's never in theaters and never on this scale, replacing nearly all the jokes.

"I think in some ways this is a first in the history of Hollywood," says NYU Stern School of Business professor Luis Cabral.

This type of joke overhaul wasn't even possible 10 to 20 years ago. But digital editing has changed that.

Cabral doesn't expect this to become a trend. It worked for "Anchorman" only because there was so much extra material, the result of director Adam McKay's encouragement of on set improvisation.

And while the new version is much longer than the original, the theatrical release is much shorter. It will be in theaters for only a week.

About the author

David Weinberg is a general assignment reporter at Marketplace.

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