'The Hunger Games' not cut by BBFC to get 12A rating

The ratings body says that distributor Lionsgate made the cuts themselves

Video: The Hunger Games - Trailer 2

The Hunger Games was not cut by the British Board Of Film Classification, it has been clarified.

Seven seconds of footage including ‘blood splashes’ were cut from the dystopian blockbuster, in order for it to get a 12A rating in the UK rather than a 15.

But the ratings body have now said that they did not enforce any cuts on distributor Lionsgate. The BBFC's head of policy David Austin has told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We didn't cut any of the film. We offered a 15 uncut to the distributor.

"The distributor said, 'We want a 12. We will cut the film ourselves to get a 12 to meet the BBFC's guidelines. That’s what they chose to do and that’s what they did. We did not insist on any of these cuts; it was purely a choice by the distributor."

Austin explained the background of the situation: "The Hunger Games came to us some time ago and the distributor Lionsgate told us they wanted a 12A classification. When we saw the film we told them that although much of the film was appropriate according to the BBFC's guidelines there were certain sequences which went beyond what’s acceptable at 12A - beyond what the public told us is acceptable at 12A.

"Therefore the film was heading towards 15. We did suggest some changes that they might like to consider if they wanted to achieve the 12A."

Based on the hit young adult novel series, The Hunger Games follows a group of teenagers made to fight to the death in an annual televised battle. But Austin insisted that the subject matter is still suitable for young teens.

He said: "It's not a theme that is completely unknown to 12-year-olds and above. It's essentially gladiatorial combat, although involving children, but the concept of gladiatorial contests is well known.

"It's based on a well-known novel that has been widely read by 11-14-year-olds. It's not dissimilar to Lord Of The Flies which is a book that I studied at school when I was 11. In a sense, Lord Of The Flies is even bleaker than The Hunger Games. [In this case] children are forced against their will to take part in this competition. In Lord Of The Flies certain children revert to their natural state."

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