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A Bad Day For Die Hard?

Friday 15 February 2013, 09:56

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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The latest instalment in the apparently endless Die Hard franchise is released this week. The distributors have cut the film to achieve a 12 certificate - but who is this really benefitting?

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    Comment number 16.

    This is obviously down to box-office, that isn't even an argument. The real issue is classification and it needs to be changed in the UK with "12"s & "12A"s the big issue. What is being allowed into 12's these days is frankly shocking and I hold the BBFC responsible. I'm a horror fan, actually rarely frightened by examples of that genre, but even I could see the creeping terror and full-on horror visuals of The Woman In Black should never have been allowed near kids as young as twelve.

    So, to balance the issue and make everyone a winner (parents, BBFC, distributors), maybe we should have a return to the old "AA" rating - suitable for 14-yr-olds and over. It would replace the "15", allowing more reasonably mature kids into the cinema, while keeping the "12" for much softer material and its target market of vulnerable and impressionable pre-teens. As research suggests, the main target demographic is 14-34, so why not give the distributors what they want? They know they're missing out on millions of dollars from a "15", so are forced to compromise and do a deal with the BBFC, meaning the film that was originally written, filmed and edited isn't the film that gets seen in the cinema. Well, what's the point in that? If that's the future, we may as well go back to the Hays Code scenario of submitting scripts for approval before principal photography even starts.


    Whether I'm right or wrong, something needs to be done about the way the BBFC and distributors are conspiring to allow 12-yr-olds into films that were never meant to be seen by 12-yr-olds in the first place, and the BBFC need to get their act together and sort this mess out.

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    Comment number 8.

    Oh, how long I've waited for the good doctor to cover this issue in the film industry at the moment. Yes, I whole-heartedly agree Dr. K, US movie studios seem to obsessed nowadays with editing down their films to 12A (or PG-13 in America).
    Die Hard 5 isn't the only action film to have suffered this fate, I remember when Expendables 2 was threatened with a 12A/PG-13 rating when Chuck Norris, a devout Creationist was angered by the bad language and violence in the film, and only agreed to star in the film if cuts were made. Lionsgate couldn't be happier, and they were made. It was only later that Sly Stallone intervened and the R/15 rating was brought back. Whether you like Expendables 2 or not (I personally did), it's still a classic example of studios (or in this case an actor as well) wanting to maximise profits in order to remove the threat of offending Christians.

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    Comment number 9.

    All that needs to happen is the BBFC to bring in a 15A rating. It would be the equivalent of an R in the States and would mean no cuts to any film. Problem solved. Why this hasn't happened years ago I do not know.

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    Comment number 13.

    What we've got here is clearly a knock-on effect from the influences of the MPAA and the likes of Walmart.

    Being that an NC-17 certificate in the states is a box office and dvd sale death knell as theatres won't screen it and stores won't sell it; film makers in the US have, for years, diluted their work to an R rating in order to maintain commercial viability.

    Now, where this practice in the past, whilst repulsive, had redemptive value by allowing many auteurs to actually have a successful career, we now have the studios replicating the process for lower ratings to increase market size for no reason other than pure profit.
    After seeing the benefits of sanitization on their own shores the studios are now gaming the BBFC and other ratings bodies, finding out what needs to be lessened or removed and doing so to maximize their financial gain on a country by country basis.

    Someone above suggested changing the rating system to be more akin to the US; what do you think the introduction of the 12 and the 12A rating were? They were brought in to bridge the gap that used to exist and it's now being exploited to maximize the audience and therefore the profits. If we accommodated them more they would still game the system to increase profits and we would still be the ones ultimately losing out...

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    Comment number 14.

    Maybe the whole idea of the bbfc giving advice on what to cut to get a 12A should be abandoned. From what I understand the bbfc is government run, (I'm not from Britain, so correct me if wrong) they should be therefore answerable to the viewers not the distributors.


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