Harry Potter gets softer rating

Based on arguably the most violent Potter book to date, how come the film of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince has just got a PG in the US?

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Warner Bros is taking few chances with its biggest blockbuster of the summer, with the confirmation that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince has earned a PG rating from the MPAA in the States. This is in spite of the fact that the book it is based on is really quite dark and violent in places.

The belief and fear is that the book’s content has been toned down to get the softer rating, and so ensure that as wide an audience as possible can get in to see the film. The first three Harry Potter films earned PG ratings in the US, but Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix were both rated at PG-13. It’s, thus, surprising that film six should find itself with a broader rating.

In the UK, the picture has been mirrored. Films one through to three (and this still surprises us where Prisoner of Azkaban is concerned) were given PG certificates by the BBFC, while the two subsequent movies were rated at 12A. Does this mean that Half Blood Prince will get a PG in the UK? It barely seems to matter, given the fact that seemingly anyone is allowed into a 12A at the movies now, whether they’ve got a parent with them or now.

It’s too early, of course, to judge whether this hurts the film at all, and it could all be a bit of a cafuddle over nothing. We won’t know for certain until July. Ho hum.

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8 January 2009