I got this from the Reading Cinemas website. Because our ratings system is different to America's (and clearly the superior system).
These films are for general viewing. However, G does not conclusively mean a children’s film because many of these productions contain content that would be of no interest to children. The content is very mild.
Recent examples of this rating: Pride & Prejudice, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Shark Tale, Lilo & Stich, Russian Ark
These films contain material that a parent might need to explain to younger children. The content is mild.
Recent examples of this rating: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Finding Nemo, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Peter Pan, Girl With A Pearl Earring, Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, Lost In Translation, Shrek 2, In Good Company, Harry Potter 1-3, Finding Neverland
These films contain material that requires a mature perspective. The content is moderate.
Recent examples of this rating (this is the most common rating - sort of like PG-13 I think but a bit older): Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, Chicago, In Her Shoes, War of the Worlds, 2046, Star Wars Ep. 3, Sideways, Love Actually, Spiderman 2
People under 15 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian for the duration of the film in the cinema. Parental permission to see an MA 15+ film is not sufficient. People under 15 are not permitted to hire or buy films classified MA 15+. The content is strong.
Recent examples of this rating: Fahrenheit 9/11, Kinsey, Crash, Birth, Sin City, Dogville, Gangs of New York, Little Fish, 21 Grams, Bad Education, Elephant, Closer, Kill Bill Vol. 2
People under 18 cannot see these films in the cinema or buy or hire them. High impact content.
Recent examples of this rating: Wolf Creek, Chopper, American Psycho, The Dreamers, City of God, In The Cut, You & Me & Everyone We Know, 9 Songs, Oldboy, Mysterious Skin, Irreversable, anything by Catherine Breillet, demonlover, AutoFocus, Hannibal, Kill Bill vol. 1
See, now clearly where our rating systems betters America's is in our use of the R rating. You guys have you NC17 and "unrated" (WTF?) - which is basically a skapegoat for movies that don't want to be seen as "too adult" or whatever NC17 entails for you guys (cinema boycotts, Blockbuster refusing to hold stock, etc). In Australia our R rating is not seen as bad - it's seen as ADULT.
Roger Ebert always talks about America's need for a suitable adult rating. One that isn't as forbidden as NC17 but one that is more restrictive than R - because how many times have R rated movies been seen as maybe a bit too violent, sadistic, sexual, etc? It's stupid.
Now, if a movie was released with an R over here it will still get a relatively wide release and can reach #1 at the box-office (Wolf Creek being the most recent example - it's also Australia's highest grossing film of the year! and it's the most restrictive rating!).
Sometimes the R rating is totally not warrented (the teenagers having sex in Me & You... was not enough for an R i think. But it involves underage kids so it's automatically R). And sometimes family groups think lesser rating's aren't enough. Quite controversially in 2001, Hannibal was originally rated MA15+ and was actually released into cinemas. A week after it's release (and subsequent HUGE box office) it's rating was upgraded to an R! I saw it before it's rating was changed (I was 15 so I could see MA movies, but not R).
And then there are movies like Black Hawk Down, which was originally rated R18+, but the distributor argued against it and it got downgraded to an MA15+. Troy was actually originally rated MA, and got downgraded to M on appeal.
The Harry Potter movies are interesting as well. The first two were PG. Then the third got an M15+ rating. They appealed and it got downgraded to PG. The fourth also got an M and an appeal was lodged, but this time they got not favours and it's M15+ rating was upheld. Rightfully so I think.
And of course there are those movies that get banned!!!! See, that's one area where America is better. You guys don't have hysterical family and religious groups going around asking for movies to be BANNEDBANNEDBANNED!!!
Baise-Moi was originally rated R18+ and was destributed into cinemas for several weeks before the constant petitioning by these groups made the raters re-review it. They decided to ban it. However, due to all the controversy about the possibility it would be banned, Baise-Moi became one of the biggest box-office phenomenom's of the year. It made more money in a three weeks than a bunch of Hollywood movies made. And that's saying something.
Ken Park, Larry Clark's movie about underage kids having a whole lot of sex was deemed to pornographic or something and was banned outright. Margaret Pomeranz (who i talked about the other day, a god amongst film critics) was nearly sent to jail for screening an illegal DVD copy of the film to a packed hall in Balmain, Sydney. Police raided the place and seized all copies of the DVD and such.
Romance X (or just plain Romance), was released with an R18+ rating, then was banned due to protest, but then released back as an R. Strange. The same people who petitioned against this film and all the others also tried to get Breillet's Anatomy of Hell banned too.
Mysterious Skin was petitioned about because certain family groups (who hadn't seen the movie) believed it was a how-to guide for wannabe peadophiles. The rating's board disagreed and upheld it's warrented R18+ rating. The controversy subsequently lead to high box office and a near Top 10 appearance by the film.
Anyway, that is all.
(this entry was rated: unrated <-WTF?)