'The Hunger Games': The world rates its age-appropriateness
A story about teenagers locked in a vicious televised battle to the death at the behest of an iron-fisted government might seem an unlikely candidate to captivate a broad mainstream audience, but that's precisely the aim of "The Hunger Games," opening in theaters worldwide next week. Adapted from the bestselling young-adult novel by Suzanne Collins, the film is poised to follow in the lucrative footsteps of the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" book-to-movie franchises.
Like those films, "The Hunger Games" has managed to avoid an R rating in the U.S. and its equivalent in many other countries, thus increasing the chances of reaching the widest audience. Given the potentially grim subject matter, that's no small task, and the film may yet spark discussion regarding its suitability for young viewers. Following is a sample of how the film has been rated in various countries.
The Motion Picture Assn. of America the film rated PG-13 for "intense violent thematic material and disturbing images, all involving teens." But in Britain it had to be shaved by seven seconds and digitally retouched to remove some bloody imagery in order to land a 12A rating, which signifies that the film is suitable for ages 12 and older, with younger viewers requiring adult accompaniment.
In the Canadian provinces of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the film is rated 14A, and anyone under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. In the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and Ontario, the film is rated PG, denoting that "parental guidance is advised."
In Norway and Denmark, the film is rated as suitable for ages 11 and older; in Germany and Finland, the film is rated for ages 12 and older. Younger audiences are permitted with adult accompaniment.
In Australia and New Zealand, the film is rated M, for mature audiences, though attendance is not restricted.
"The Hunger Games" opens March 23 in the U.S. and numerous other countries.
-- Oliver Gettell
Photo: Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games." Credit: Murray Close / Lionsgate