Lionsgate has already clearly had differences of opinion with director Lexi Alexander, who has reportedly been fired from the film, whose own website no longer even mentions the film. Now it seems that the studio may be trying to find a way to bring in the higher box-office numbers that they believe a PG-13 rated superhero movie can bring.
The decision to strive for a more family friendly rating is probably due to the level of violence that Warner Brothers managed to show in The Dark Knight. But there is a huge difference between violence in Batman and the violence fans would expect from the Punisher. Batman is a superhero, he doesn't kill people. The Punisher is a vigilante, and his enemies often are killed, violently.
We'll all know for sure what sort of final cut Lionsgate ends up with for Punisher: War Zone when the film explodes into theatres September 12, 2008.