The Batman Film Classification Changes After Chief Censor Review

March 7, 2022

In light of mixed classification decisions from our overseas counterparts, the Chief Censor David Shanks made the decision to call in The Batman earlier this week.

After assessing the film on Thursday, the rating of the film lifted from an M (mature audiences) to R13 (restricted to people aged 13 years and over), as of Friday 4 March. 

“We were concerned about the potential impact of violence, cruelty and disturbing content in this film on children under 13, and after viewing it ourselves, we believe it went beyond what was reasonable for an unrestricted film,” said Mr Shanks. 

“The Australian classification office gave this film an M rating which under their system is recommended for viewers aged 15 years and over, but this is advisory only. Children of any age can view such a film. Aotearoa has a cross-rating system which means that films rated M in Australia are normally cross-rated M for New Zealand movie goers.

“However we also saw that in the UK, the BBFC had seen fit to restrict this particular film to viewers aged 15 and over, due to the level of violence and disturbing content. In the US, the MPAA applied a PG-13 rating which advised parents to be cautious before allowing children under the age of 13 to attend.

"Given the range of approaches to this film taken overseas, we felt it was important to call in and classify this film for local audiences. New Zealanders have their own views about the level at which it is acceptable to expose children to material that may be violent, disturbing or cruel. The R13 classification we decided on is more restrictive than the Australian M rating, but less restrictive than the UK 15 classification.

"We took the opportunity to take a teenage member of our Youth Advisory Panel along to our viewing of this film, and took into account her perspectives and reactions in our deliberation as well.

"While in our assessment this edition of the Batman is not suitable for under 13 year olds, we appreciate this will be a disappointment to some younger Batman fans out there. If any viewers have a particular perspective on the classification of this film (whether it is too high, too low or just right) we would love to hear from them. We know attitudes are constantly changing, so we are always keen to get feedback from people on the classifications we make - particularly when the subject is as iconic as the Batman. So don’t hesitate to please get in touch."

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