As soon as the upcoming ‘Deadpool’ movie was announced, fans worldwide began speculating if the film would remain true to the source material and go for an ‘R’ rating in the U.S. In typically Wade Wilson fashion, it was revealed it would indeed! This then prompted cheers from many, and pondering by others.
Here in the U.K. the ratings system is quite different, and though there are some corresponding certifications, the ‘R’ can easily fall one of two ways, as a ’15’ meaning that anyone 15 years old and older can see the film in a cinema, or an ’18’ meaning that only someone of 18 years or over can see the film in a cinema. Unlike the U.S. that age restriction is regardless of any guardian accompaniment, you can’t for example take your 14 year old child to see a 15 even if you say you’re fine with it and accept responsiblity for them.
The U.S. and U.K. certification authorities have different guidelines from which they make their decisions, partly based on how certain things are viewed in their respective territories. Which means that it’s not always clear which way a film will fall, before you even begin to factor in the possibility of an alternative edit being submitted to each. A fuller explanation can be read here on the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) website, it’s honestly fascinating.
So, where would ‘Deadpool’ end up? Obviously the lower age restriction would mean that a broader age range of audience would be able to go see the film, boosting the box-office takings, including a larger share of the teen audience that are often eager for films like this.
No official decision has yet been announced. However, I have noticed a clear indication that ‘Deadpool’ will receive an… ’18’.
The BBFC website recently made this decision:
Now, this is by no means a foregone conclusion that the feature film will receive the higher of the two likely ratings. It merely stands to reason, that if the material presented in this upcoming trailer is also in the film itself, then it will most likely also be rated an ’18’ here in the U.K. There’s still the possibility that in context it changes the impact of such scenes or shots to pass as a ’15’ or cuts could be made to the film for U.K. theatrical release.
What does this mean for the movie?
Likely, not a lot. The studio will be more interested in the U.S. takings than how it performs on this side of the pond, and in the states an ‘R’ is no big issue, in fact for a film like this it’s more an attraction in its favour. Likewise, here in the U.K. the 18 isn’t a huge issue, though it will limit the potential cinema-going audience. Doubtless many will try to get in under age and some may succeed, there’s no provision under the ratings system for them to be allowed in to see the film with a parent or guardian, and so bunches of school-age teens who might usually flock to see a film of this genre, even if rated at ’15’, will simply not be able to do so if it does ultimately get the higher certification.
On home release however, that will be another story…
UPDATE (Feb 1st): Turns out I was wrong, it has been rated 15 in the U.K. I’m more than a little surprised, and I do wonder if the edit submitted here was the same as elsewhere. Details of alternate (and censored) edits will likely emerge in the future as they often do.