‘Batman v Superman’ given universal rating in Pakistan

Upcoming superhero film to release uncut across the country

Our Correspondent March 15, 2016
Batman v Superman is set to release on March 25. PHOTO: FILE


Whether it will be Batman who lands the first punch or Superman who draws first blood, one thing is for certain. Fans of this year’s most eagerly-awaited superhero film are definitely not going to sit out the epic showdown between their two favourite caped crusaders.

With only nine days left for the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has granted the film a Universal (U) rating, sans any cuts. “It was a unanimous decision made by a five-member panel,” shared CBFC Chairman Mobasher Hasan, while speaking to The Express Tribune.

In Pakistan, the U rating is equal to the General (G) rating of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and allows admission to people of all ages. It indicates that there is nothing in the said film that may offend parents when it is viewed by children. Hence, the current rating of Batman v Superman permits viewers of younger ages to enter cinemas without adult supervision across the country.

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Naturally, this will grant the film — based on the popular DC comic characters — a great boost. Interestingly though, where Batman v Superman has been granted a U rating in Pakistan, the film’s North American theatrical cut is expected to be rated PG-13, reported the Entertainment Weekly website. As per the online publication, the ratings board had classified the shorter version of Batman v Superman as a PG-13 due to “intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality.”

Elaborating upon the panel’s decision to approve the movie without a singular cut, Hasan explained that the decision had been made after careful deliberation. “As per the collective wisdom of the board members and Motion Pictures Ordinance (1979), the movie is fit for viewing by all audiences,” he proclaimed. Hasan also reiterated how the genre or cast of the film had no bearing on the final decision made by the panel. Using another recently released superhero film Deadpool as an example, he revealed how the film had gone through extensive cuts. “There were a lot of cuts made to Deadpool due to the excessive violence and profanity in the film,” said Hasan.

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Having already been cleared for release by CBFC, Batman v Superman is yet to be reviewed by the Punjab Board of Film Certification (PBFC). According to an official of the film body, the distributors are yet to provide them with the prints. “We were expecting to receive the prints for viewing by Tuesday, following which we would have invited other board members. But unfortunately, there has been a delay on the distributor’s side,” shared a PBFC official requesting anonymity.

The Sindh Board of Film Certification (SBFC) has also given the film a universal rating. When told that Batman v Superman had been given a PG-13 rating internationally, SBFC Chairman Fakhr-e-Alam responded, “As per the Motion Pictures Act of 2012, there are only two ratings in Pakistan — universal and adult. According to that, Batman v Superman falls in the former category.”

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Directed by Zack Snyder, the action film is slated to release on March 25, 2016. It features a stellar ensemble cast comprising of seasoned actors such as Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams and Jesse Esienberg. A sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel, Batman v Superman picks up right after the events of the first film, with Gotham-based vigilante Batman travelling to Metropolis to fight Superman and being faced with another threat that endangers humanity. The film is being viewed as the start of DC Comic’s extended universe, which will eventually culminate in a Justice League film.

Batman v Superman is being distributed by HKC Entertainment in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2016.

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