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Exhibiting films to the public

This information is for cinema operators and anyone intending to exhibit a film to members of the New Zealand public. This page explains the things you must do to comply with New Zealand's classification law:

People at the movies

Allowing underage people into restricted films is against the law

It is an offence to allow underage people into a restricted film.

It is the cinema operator's responsibility to train staff in an appropriate age-verification policy. We advise a common sense approach. For example, if a person looks like he or she could be of legal age to view a film but cannot produce ID, a verbal verification of their age from an accompanying parent or adult guardian might be acceptable. You should also decide whether or not staff can accept non-photo ID, and advise patrons of ID requirements.

If ID is required, it should be requested when a ticket is purchased, and it could also be requested at the door where the restricted film is showing. An underage patron can be refused entry at any point.

Order our Red Means Restricted flyer

To help both staff and customers understand classification labels on DVDs, films and games, the Classification Office has created a new Red Means Restricted flyer.

If you would like us to send you some pads (100 sheets per pad), please contact the Information Unit.

Classification and descriptive note information for films must be displayed at the venue

Classification symbols and descriptive notes for films must be clearly displayed in the lobby of the premises or (if applicable) outside the entrance to the room in which the film is screening.

This information must be on display at all times while the premises are open to the public.

The classification and descriptive note information can be displayed by means of:

  • A lobby board no less than 28cm by 36cm, easily readable by people at a reasonable distance from it, or
  • A copy of the official label issued in respect of the film

Contact the Film and Video Labelling Body for official New Zealand labels.

A poster explaining the classification symbols must be displayed

Information about what the classification symbols mean must be displayed on a poster in the lobby of the premises or at the entrance where films are exhibited, and must be displayed at all times while the premises are open to the public.

The Classification Office can send you the required poster free of charge. Posters come in A2 and A3 sizes. If you need a poster, please contact the Information Unit.

Official classification label poster
Official classification label poster

Exhibitors should select appropriate trailers to show before films

Some trailers are classified as restricted, and so they can only be screened with films that carry the same restriction or higher.

Industry guidelines about screening trailers have been issued by the Film and Video Labelling Body and the Motion Picture Distributors' Association of New Zealand. It is standard practice for cinemas to follow the agreed guidelines, as screening inappropriate trailers can have a negative effect on your audience.

When deciding on which trailers to play, the guidelines recommend that you consider the following:

  • The age of the audience that could be attending a particular feature film (for example, younger children are more likely to attend matinee screenings)
  • The likely impact on the audience of screening a particular trailer with that film
  • Any consumer advice notes on a trailer's rating

A general recommendation is to match the trailer to the likely audience and to the main feature the trailer accompanies. For a copy of the industry guidelines about selecting appropriate trailers, contact the Film and Video Labelling Body.