If a film carries a restricted classification, this will usually mean it is restricted to persons over a specified age. Allowing under-age people into a restricted film (for example, if they have an adult ticket but are not of the required age) is an offence under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. It is important that all staff are aware of the classifications on the films currently screening, and know to ask customers to prove their age for restricted films. It is advisable for staff to ask for proof-of-age identification both at the point of sale of tickets as well as at the door of the particular cinema where the restricted film is showing.
Remember, no one under the age specified in the classification can go to a restricted film. This includes children accompanied by parents or guardians, babies, and staff who are underage. The exception to this is when the film has an RP classification.
Under section 37 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994, cinemas are required to display the ratings and classifications of all films and any descriptive notes that accompany them. These must be displayed in a conspicuous position in the lobby of the premises or (where applicable) outside the entrance to the theatre in which the film is screening. These classifications must be on display at all times while the premises are open to the public. This display must be no less than 28cm by 36 cm and must be easily readable at a reasonable distance from the board.
In addition to displaying the classifications for each film, under section 42 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994 cinemas must also display material which explains the classification symbols. This information must include the current rating and classification symbols and an explanation of their meaning. This signage must be no less than 40cm by 28cm and be printed in letters and figures that are easily readable at a reasonable distance from the notice. Like the classifications for the films currently screening, the information about what the classifications mean must be displayed in the lobby of the premises or outside the entrance to the theatre where the film is screening, and must be displayed at all times while the premises are open to the public. The Office has posters with this information available free of charge. If you would like a poster for your cinema please contact the Information Unit.
There are some important points to be aware of when selecting trailers to screen before films. All trailers are given their own ratings or classifications. Most trailers are given an unrestricted rating, meaning they can legally be shown with any film.
However, not all trailers are suitable to be screened with all films. Cinemas have agreed with New Zealand censorship agencies and film distributers to take the following into account when deciding on which trailers to play before a film:
While there is no legal obligation to do so, cinemas have been advised to follow specific guidelines issued by the Labelling Body and the Motion Picture Distributor's Association of New Zealand. For more information on the guidelines contact the Labelling Body.
Some trailers receive restricted classifications. These can only be screened with films that carry the same restriction or one that is higher.
Projectionists should ensure that trailers and films are matched appropriately. For more information on trailers, contact the Information Unit.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification has posters, brochures and information sheets available which outline the classification symbols and meanings. These are available from the downloads page of our website. If you would like a supply of these for your store, please contact the Information Unit 0508 CENSOR (0508 236767).
You can also search our online database (found on the homepage of our website, www.censorship.govt.nz) for information on publications which have been restricted or classified as objectionable (banned).
The Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs enforces the classifications on publications. If you would like more information on this aspect of the censorship process, you can contact the Censorship Compliance Unit on freephone 0800 257 887 or visit their website at www.censorship.dia.govt.nz. If you would like more information regarding the classification of publications, contact the Information Unit.