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Old 12-13-2018, 04:08 AM   #1
Rick Grimes Rick Grimes is online now
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Default Bumblebee will be censored for Aussie Cinemas

I had to start a new thread to vent due to what I consider to be a ridiculous decision from the Australian Classification Board.

Bumblebee just scraped by, censored, to a PG rating!
The Uncut version was given an M rating.
Then a censored version was also given an M. But cooler heads prevailed, upon review, and the initial "modified version" that was submitted got by with a "PG - Mild science fiction violence, mild themes, some scenes may scare young children"

Here is how it all went down:
The Classification Review Board has received an application to review the classification of the film Bumblebee.
Bumblebee was classified M (Mature) by the Classification Board on 20 November 2018. A subsequent modified version was submitted and was classified M (Mature) by the Classification Board on 4 December 2018.


The distributor asks for the decision to be reviewed.

On December 11 a three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film Bumblebee is classified PG with the consumer advice 'Mild science fiction violence, mild themes, some scenes may scare young children'.

The UK has a cut version that was submitted to get a UK rating 12A (Aussie PG equivalent), so I would assume we will be getting the same censored UK theatrical version at our cinemas.

For more, here is the link to the OFLC regarding the Bumblebee classification saga: http://www.classification.gov.au/Pub...-releases.aspx

There is a trend here as these kinds of crazy decisions are not new:
In 2015, Blinky Bill the movie was initially rated PG, but got a G rating upon review.
In 2016, TMNT: Out of the Shadows got an M rating, but upon review got a PG rating.
And also in 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse initially got an MA15+, but upon review, got an M rating.
FYI, Blair Witch got an MA15+, but after it was reviewed, it stayed MA15+... Considering Jigsaw was initially R18+ and it got an MA15+ upon review, I think it is ridiculous that Blair Witch couldn't get an M, considering Jigsaw had way more graphic violence than Blair Witch (which was pretty tame).

However, the biggest worry is that this is the first time in a long time (if not ever), that a film other than R rated or Refused Classification films has been modified to make the classification board happy.
I am perturbed because this case sets a bad precedent. The last thing I want to happen here in Australia is that we start getting censored theatrical and/or Blu-Ray releases, just like the UK does.

Hence, in this case, I hope we get the US Blu-Ray with a branding "Harder Extended Cut" (with an M classification), to be made available for the Australian Blu-Ray release, and simply a copy of the UK disc, with a PG rating.
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:32 AM   #2
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what was removed?
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:50 AM   #3
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So Bumblebee makes the third film this month cut by Paramount Australia for a reduced rating.
The other two are Overlord, cut from an R18+ down to an MA15+ rating (although cinemas are still advertising it as R18+ so that seemed like a worthless exercise if they were hoping to make more money) and Instant Family (Mark Wahlberg film) cut from an M rating down to PG. Disappointing trend.
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:51 AM   #4
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Another reason to hate cinemas.
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by kuzronk View Post
Another reason to hate cinemas.
I go maybe twice a year now. It's just not an enjoyable experience anymore. Would rather watch movies in the comfort of my own home.
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:04 AM   #6
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I really can't understand why though? Any family thinking of going along to this still would have gone as an M movie. Look at how much the Marvel movies/previous Transformers made! Not like the Last Knight returned Solo like results...
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:18 AM   #7
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I think the classic example is the very adult Ted in 2012. Despite it's MA rating it racked in almost $40 million at the Australian box office. It was strategically released at school holidays and parents had no issues taking their demanding children to see it.

And poor Sony released one of those Spiderman films at the same time and it massively underperformed. Didn't even crack $20 million.

When are distributors/studios going to learn that people don't pay any attention to what 'advisory' rating a film is granted.

I'll wait for home video release to watch this.
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:40 AM   #8
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Like you said, odd that this is happening to a mild rated film.

I'm seeing it tomorrow and just noticed it is rated PG here too, I could have sworn it was M last time I checked..
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:54 AM   #9
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According to the BBFC website it's rated PG in the UK and claims to be uncut: https://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/bumblebee-2018 Hopefully the NZ release is uncut...
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:16 AM   #10
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Lady Bird was classified MA15+ earlier this year, but reclassified M 15+ with cuts made to it for its theatrical release. The original MA15+ version was released on home media.

It's a shame that, for the same reason most people wouldn't care if Bubblebee was classified M or PG at cinemas, most wouldn't even take a stand to not support this kind of behavior from distributors because they aren't even aware of it.

Just wait; the home media release here will be labelled or advertised as some kind of special edition or extended version not seen in cinemas or some bull. Insane...
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:40 AM   #11
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Eh **** it, I won't go see this at the cinema.


I will just buy the US 4K version when it comes out, so stupid.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister_M View Post
According to the BBFC website it's rated PG in the UK and claims to be uncut: https://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/bumblebee-2018 Hopefully the NZ release is uncut...
Unfortuntely not true, it was re-edited to get a PG rating from a 12A.

https://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/bumblebee-film

Expand "Details" to see
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:14 PM   #13
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Maybe it was just a bit of language that was cut? I never saw the need for the F bombs in the Michael Bay films.

Also for anyone wondering, Overlord was ultimately released uncut here.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:46 PM   #14
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I don't see this as the fault of the OFLC, but Paramount. Based on the facts provided by the OP;

- Paramount submitted the film for classification to the OFLC who classified it with an M rating.

- Paramount resubmitted a modified version of the film. (That says to me they wanted a lower rating.)

- OFLC still rates the modified film with an M rating.

- Paramount appeals this decision.

- On appeal, OFLC grants the modified version of the film with a PG rating.

- Paramount accepts this. Unsurprisingly.

The way I read this is Paramount wanted this lower kid friendly rating rating to potentially put younger bums on seats and potentially obtain a larger gross, my reasoning is as follows.

- Paramount have been in a precarious financial situation for several years now due to the under performance of several of their tent pole films and the failure of the Wanda Group buyout of 49% of the studio has meant things have been difficult for them on the corporate side.

- The perceived under performance of the last two transformers films means Paramount will be playing Bumblebee "safe" in order to maximise profits at the expense of creative integrity to reinvigorate the franchise.

- It gives Paramount another selling point when the home release hits the market with an "uncut" version.

Remember, this is the same studio whose books show Forrest Gump being a flop financially in 1994 according to their Hollywood accounting because they shifted the profits to films that lost money that year. This screwed over Winston Groom on royalties, so he refused to sell the sequel rights to them and we missed out on a potentially great sequel.

Studios don't really give a toss about filmmaking integrity when it comes to their blockbuster tent pole films, so long as they make the maximum profit available. Most of the punters who go see this, won't even know it's been modified, only cinephiles would be in the know and most cinephiles won't go and see this at the cinema anyway.

Long story short, financial decisions by the distributors aren't the fault of the classification board. It's happened before, it will happen again.

This isn't the first time i've seen this in the past. E.T. famously had a review board decision when the OFLC slapped the 20th anniversary edition with a PG rating, up from the original G rating. Thankfully universal decided not to modify the film to bring it back down to a G rating. So the upgraded rating stuck. It was a similar story a few years earlier with the Pokemon movie. More often than not, these kinds of things happen with films in the MA/R category, but it does happen with lower ratings as well. So it's not unprecedented.

Last edited by hypnotoad8128; 12-13-2018 at 01:52 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:41 PM   #15
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Some good points there, but essentially my issue with the OFLC is inconsistency when a film like Jigsaw can get an R18+, then upon review get an MA15+, yet initially a film like X-Men: Apocalypse was given an MA15+ (reviewed to an M), yet the difference in the graphic nature of the violence is extreme.

And to reclarify, I did have this in the original post to point out it happens to G, PG and M films in recent times:

In 2015, Blinky Bill the movie was initially rated PG, but got a G rating upon review.
In 2016, TMNT: Out of the Shadows got an M rating, but upon review got a PG rating.


Also, as you discussed E.T., it seems that it is close to impossible to get a G nowadays. E.T. was G when I was a kid and it should remain so, I don’t think sensibilities have changed that much.

How both Ant-Man films can get classified PG, yet Bumblebee gets an M is beyond me. Even if there is one F-bomb, that shouldn’t mean an automatic M. By Grade 4, I was cursing like a sailor on shore leave. And nowadays, I’m sure kids are exposed to coarse language even earlier than I was in my Lower Middle Class neighbourhood.
While the OFLC in the end made the right decision, I don’t think it needed to be modified to get a PG, and even the fact that the modified version got an M rating initially is strange.

Sometimes I think that they do this shit just to have a justification for their jobs and every now and then they decide to rock the boat.

Either way, IMHO, the Aussie OFLC needs more consistency and perhaps with films that are in the G, PG and M range should be presented to the board, with the distributor stating beforehand what kind of classification they are looking for.
Then, in conjunction with the OFLC, they could come to an agreement on the rating. Rather than having the film have to go to the OFLC three times.

I assume Paramount must have thought a PG would be on the cards when they first put the film to the board. As mentioned earlier, if it is just a matter of an F-bomb, I really think the film should have got it’s PG rating with a brief coarse language warning.

Bumblebee is a film about robots fighting each other. If the original Star Wars Trilogy can still carry a PG rating (and someone has his hand amputated by a laser sword during a violent encounter), then logic dictates that a film like Bumblebee should get a PG rating as well.

Last edited by Rick Grimes; 12-13-2018 at 10:52 PM. Reason: Syntax
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:13 AM   #16
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I thought given the number of films getting trimmed by distributors to gain lower ratings under the false belief that they will make more money.

Frankly, I'm sick of it. If distributors are going to do this fine but let us who are shelling out dollars to see the films know so we can make an informed choice.

I'm going to contact Fox tomorrow to complain about this:

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Directed by Marielle Heller / 2018 / USA / IMDb

This film has never had problems with the Australian censors. It is included because the distributor chose to censor it to achieve a more commercial rating.

On November 8, 2018, a 106m print of CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? was passed with an M (Coarse language and sexual references) rating.

The extended classification information described,
Moderate impact: language, sex
Mild impact: themes, drug use
Very mild: violence

Unfortunately, it appears that Twentieth Century Fox Film Distributors pre-censored the film for language in order to avoid an MA15+ rating.

Thanks to Scott B. for initially alerting us that this was likely the case and Tom S. for viewing the film and confirming it.

Tom S. reports.
In the second last scene of the film, the following dialogue takes place between Jack Hock (Richard E Grant) and Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy).

Jack Hock : You're a horrid c..., Lee.
Lee Israel : You too, Jack.

In our version, Grants character calls her a “horrid s...”, but his mouth is easy to read and you can see there is a dub.

Also mentioned in some parent's guides is a scene where Jack Hock snorts cocaine off a table whilst his partner smokes marijuana. This is present, but looked zoomed (the film grain spikes in this scene and the framing is way off, as well as Jack being mostly off-screen now). That is speculative, but it did not look right and you do not see the act mentioned. I will have to catch up with a copy when one is released to check.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:15 AM   #17
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If it can be kept to Australian releases, and confirmed rather than speculative, should be a good way of keeping people informed.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:43 AM   #18
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I should have mentioned that the Can Ever You Forgive Me? information is from the Refused Classification site.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:06 PM   #19
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What's bizarre to me is that there's no difference between an M15+ and a PG in terms of audience restriction. Anyone can be admitted to a film with either rating, yet they've chosen to censor the film anyway.
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Old 12-20-2018, 12:16 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PT Ryan View Post
What's bizarre to me is that there's no difference between an M15+ and a PG in terms of audience restriction. Anyone can be admitted to a film with either rating, yet they've chosen to censor the film anyway.
They're probably worried about all the uptight wowsers who won't let their kids watch M-rated stuff. I'm sure there's plenty of those types around.
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