Thursday, June 03, 2004

Australia slaps M15+ rating on PoA
SYDNEY - Australian film authorities slapped a mature rating on the third Harry Potter film on Thursday, in a move that cinema-owners fear will discourage parents taking their children to see the movie.
Rated "PG" in most major markets including the United States and Britain, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has been given the tougher M15+ rating by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). The OFLC board said "horror elements" in the film were behind the classification, citing scenes featuring Harry's friend Ron Weasley being attacked by a wolf and fight between a werewolf and Hogwarts teacher Professor Severus Snape as reasons for the classification.
"The classifiable elements are themes involving horror ... that are moderate in impact - several of which are inextricably linked to violence - and do not exceed a moderate level of menace or threat," it said.
The previous two Harry Potter films were rated PG in Australia but the third instalment of author J.K. Rowling's tale of young wizards is described as darker than its predecessors.
The film's Australian distributors, Village Roadshow, refused to comment on a possible appeal against the OFLC decision.

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" opens in Australia on June 10.

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