Spider-Man to catch the under-12s in his web

Story by Jack Foley

CHILDREN under the age of 12 will now be allowed to watch 12-rated movies, so long as they are accompanied by an adult.

The new 12A rating means that pre-teens will now have access to films such as Spider-Man and Austin Powers in Goldmember for the first time, as well as the likes of Tom Cruise’s Minority Report. The ratings review marks the biggest change to the classification system for more than a decade.

The 12A will replace the current 12 and is designed to give parents more power over what their children see.

The change follows several complaints from parents that the ratings system was too strict, particularly with regard to comic book movies such as Spider-Man, and has paved the way for Sam Raimi’s money-spinner to be reissued.

The 12 rating, which was introduced to coincide with the release of Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, has meant that children under that age have been excluded from seeing some of the biggest blockbuster draws of recent years, including Titanic and Independence Day (even though many have probably snuck in on the sly!).

According to Robin Duval, director of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the decision has been made as a concession because the ‘development and maturity of children’ varies considerably and ‘parents know best what their children can deal with’.

"It is important, however, that young children have an adult with them, in case they are disturbed by anything they may see," he added.

The new certificate came into effect for the first time on Friday and the criteria for rewarding it remains the same - strong language, nudity, and violence are allowed, in context and only if used sparingly.

Needless to say, the decision has delighted bosses at Spider-Man distributor, Columbia Tristar, who have re-released the film to coincide with the demand.

Richard Napper, managing director of Columbia TriStar Films (UK), commented: "We are delighted that the creation of the new 12A category will allow parents to take their children to see Spider-Man."

The nationwide re-launch will be supported by a new, revised campaign to communicate the new certificate to a nation of young Spider-Man fans and their parents.

Sam Raimi’s blockbuster, starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, was first released in the UK on June 14 with a 12 certificate. It has gone on to be one of the biggest blockbusters this year, grossing to date over £27million.

WEB LINKS (THE INDIELONDON SPIDER-FILES): Click here for the Spiderman review...
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Spiderman spins his magic in the West End. Click here for UK premiere news...

RELATED LINKS: Click here for the official Spiderman website...