Northern Ireland news

Belfast City Council agrees to overrule 15 age rating for new Batman movie

The Batman: Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Robert Pattinson as Batman
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Children under the age of 15 who are accompanied by their parents will be able to watch the new Batman movie in Belfast after the city council overruled the age rating given to the movie.

It means Belfast will be the only location in the UK where the movie, starring Robert Pattinson, will have a 15A rating.

The Batman had originally been given a 15 rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Michael McAdam, managing director of the Movie House chain in Northern Ireland, had originally made the application after he said cinema staff had faced abuse from parents in recent years because younger teenagers were not permitted to watch films with a 15 classification.

He said a new 15A classification would allow parents to make the decision and accompany their children to the cinema.

A proposal he took to the council’s Licensing Committee was narrowly defeated last month, but on Tuesday night the full council accepted a proposal from Sinn Féin councillor Arder Carson that the film should have a 15A rating.

Mr Carson told the meeting: “My batphone has been ringing off the hook for these last two weeks with people asking me what in the sweet name of Gotham City is going on in that Licensing Committee.

“We all know the crux of the matter. There has been a request from the Moviehouse.

“The request from the applicant is that the council agrees to impose a rating of 15A which would allow young people under the age of 15 to see the film as long as they were accompanied by an adult.

“We have the authority to do this. It is ours to do if the will is there.

“Given what is going on in the world and the last two years of lockdowns and restrictions, this seems like a small potato to us, yet it is such a big deal to hundreds if not thousands of young people.

“I think we need to trust our parents.”

Mr Carson made the proposal that the council agree to a certification of 15A, which was agreed without a vote.

Mr McAdam said: “I am delighted that Belfast City Council has taken the decision to award a 15A certificate for the film The Batman.

“A 15A certificate gives parents the ultimate decision on what their children watch and means that parents can come to the cinema with their children to watch together as a family in Belfast.

“Belfast is the only part of the UK where parents can take their children who are under 15 to see this movie.

“We believe that a 15A certificate should become the norm, in the same way that the BBFC adopted a 12A some years ago.”

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