The shift came after the studio appealed the MPAA’s initial R rating, which was based on “brief strong language.”
The drama stars Kevin Costner as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, which last won the NFL championship in 1964. Ivan Reitman is directing and shot scenes at last year’s draft at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.
“Draft Day” is set for an April 11 release, a month before the actual 2014 draft to be held May 8-10. The film also stars Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, Sean Combs, Chadwick Boseman and Denis Leary.
It’s the second time in recent months that the appeals board has lowered a rating. In November, The Weinstein Company won its appeal on the MPAA’s initial decision to give “Philomena” an R rating, which will be changed to PG-13.
TWC had argued that the MPAA’s ratings rule — that more than one “harsher, sexually derived word” used as an expletive automatically garners a film an R rating — was inappropriately applied in this case and that based on its subject matter and context, the film should be granted a more family-friendly PG-13.