Riddick will be released in September of 2013, but as of August it is generating some classification controversy. CBC News reports that the Canadian distributor, eOne Films Canada Inc., is appealing the 18A classification issued by the Maritime Film Review Board (operated by Nova Scotia and serving New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and, informally Newfoundland).
As reported by the CBC:
“We feel that the film’s rating should be 14A with whatever warnings you may deem appropriate,” writes eOne’s Chris Emery in the company’s appeal. “The reasons you gave the film an 18A rating were due to the following observations: brutal violence, gory scenes….We respectfully feel that though there is violence in the feature, and there are gory scenes, the scenes depicted are brief and not nearly as extreme as the classification indicates, and that the scenes are safe to a 14A audience.” He notes the film has deemed appropriate enough for a 14-year-old audience in Ontario.
The boards in British Columbia (also serving Saskatchewan), Alberta, and Manitoba also classified the film as 18A, the MPAA classified it as Restricted, equivalent to 18A, and the BBFC classified it as suitable for 18 and up. Most agencies also have warnings about strong violence. The news report suggests Nova Scotia’s 18A classification is exceptional, but in fact it is Ontario’s 14A classification that is exceptional.
Will the appeal be successful? Classification appeals in Nova Scotia are handled by the Utility and Review Board, which also considers appeals on matters such as property assessments, transportation licenses, and insurance rates. The results will be posted here once known, as well as any information I can find on appeals in other jurisdictions.
Update: The appeal in Nova Scotia was unsuccessful. eOne films did not reply to my request for more information.