Of all the plum gigs out there, classifying movies has gotta be up there with the plummest. Sittin’ on yr backside all day long watching fillums before they get released to the public, then arguing endlessly about them with a room full of co-workers who take their job way too seriously.
That is the dream.
But providing a stringently upheld set of ratings and classifications for media is a hella important gig, even if it is a system that’s prone to abuse and massive secrecy; if you haven’t already checked it out, the 2006 doco ‘This Film Is Not Yet Rated‘ is a wildly fascinating and eye-opening look into the horrendously closed-off operations of the Motion Picture Association of America and their ratings operations.
Whilst the Australian system is nowhere near as wildly shady and clandestine as the MPAA (the Board of Classification, for one thing, is a Federal Government operation and therefore by default operates on an infinitely more transparent basis), that’s not to say that it’s completely without its little quirks and foibles.
As with all films that wish to go on public display in the country, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse‘ submitted a print to the board ahead of its release into cinemas tomorrow.
Normally these processes pass by without any huge event or notability, as is evidenced by the “news” section of the Board’s government website listing a mere three entries for 2016, one of which is a system outage alert.
The film was rated and subsequently given a classification of MA15+ last Wednesday. The board, at the time, noted that the film featured “strong science fiction themes and violence,” with the violence in particular rated as being “strong impact.”
That rating is a veritable disaster for 20th Century Fox, cutting their ability to advertise in certain timeframes and markets, (at least theoretically) preventing people under the age of 15 from seeing the film without adult supervision, and giving off a vibe that it’s not suitable for children at all; a rating like that is likely to scare parents off taking their kids to see it.
So in what apparently is a particularly rare move for Australian film, the distributing studios appealed the board’s decision to the secondary Classification Review Board.
And in what apparently is an even rarer move, the board caved.
An announcement posted by the board today stated that they have “unanimously determined” that the film’s rating should be downgraded to the much more marketing-suitable M rating, with “frequent action violence and infrequent coarse language” (someone probably says “shit” a coupla times).
There you have it, folks. How do you get an MA15+ rated film downgraded to an M rating? Probably be a giant American film studio with squillions of dollars behind you, or some such.
The film hits cinemas tomorrow. Take your kids to see it.
Source: Board of Classification.