Director Jose Padilha and actor Joel Kinnaman fought hard for an R rating, but due to the ever expanding budget, which went from a modest $60 million budget and ballooned to a $120 million budget, studio executives were forced to deliver a PG-13 rating in hopes to recoup the budget they had spent on the film. Throughout the course of filming, studio executives kept a close eye on Padilha, making sure he was going to deliver a PG-13 rating.
During production of the film, director José Padilha phoned friend and fellow Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles to confide in him his frustration in the lack of creative control he was allowed by the studio for the project. Padilha estimated that for every ten ideas he brought to the project, the studio refused nine, and went on to the describe the making of the film as "The worst experience of [his] life". When word of this conversation became public, in an effort to appease the studio Padilha released counter statements expressing satisfaction with the film.