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14 Mar 2012

The Hunger Games has been cut by its distributor in order to achieve a teen-friendly rating of 12A in the UK.

The film, set in a post-apocalyptic America where adolescents fight to the death on live TV, had been facing a 15 certificate.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) said seven seconds of cuts included the digital removal of "blood splashes".

The movie is based on the first of a trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins.

The big screen adaptation stars Jennifer Lawrence, an Oscar nominee last year for Winter's Bone, in the lead role.

The cast also includes Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland.

The BBFC said the film's UK distributor Lions Gate UK "chose to make cuts in order to achieve a 12A classification".

"A number of cuts were made in one scene to reduce an emphasis on blood and injury," the BBFC report said.

"These cuts, which were implemented by digitally removing sight of blood splashes and sight of blood on wounds and weapons, were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy.

"An uncut 15 classification was available. These cuts were made in addition to reductions already made following an earlier 'advice' viewing of an incomplete version."

In the US, The Hunger Games was rated PG-13 for "intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens".

With a target demographic similar to the Twilight and Harry Potter movie franchises, a 15 rating in the UK would have dented the film's potential box office takings.

The Hunger Games is widely tipped to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year so far.

Some industry watchers predict it could take $100m (£64m) in its opening weekend in the US.

It has already attracted crowds in Los Angeles - where hundreds of fans camped out overnight in front of the Nokia Theatre to secure tickets to the premiere on Monday night.

'Joan of Arc'

British film The Woman in Black, starring Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, was also trimmed in order to gain a 12A certificate earlier this year.

In addition to six seconds of visual cuts, some shots were also darkened while others had sound levels reduced.

The Hammer film has gone on to become the most successful British horror since records began.

In The Hunger Games, Lawrence stars as teenage heroine Katniss Everdeen, a miner's daughter and skilled huntress, who enters a televised battle to the death to save her younger sister.

She has described the character as "a futuristic Joan of Arc".

The film, directed by Gary Ross, opens in the UK on 23 March.


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