Simultaneous screening for cut and uncut versions of a film

Simultaneous screening for cut and uncut versions of a film

SINGAPORE - From today, film buffs need no longer be frustrated by distributors cutting a film with mature content so that it can reach the widest possible audience.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) is introducing a Simultaneous Rating System for films, which means that viewers no longer have to endure a frustrating wait as multiple versions of a film can be screened concurrently.

When Lee Ang's sexy spy thriller Lust, Caution was first released in October 2007, audiences were presented with a shortened NC16 version. It took another month before the uncut R21 version was shown in cinemas.

Back then, under the Sequential Dual Rating System, film distributors could show differently rated versions of a film, but they could screen a second version of the film under a new rating only at least a week after the film's first run had ended.

Moviegoers and industry players alike welcome the change to a simultaneous rating system.

Ms Sharon Teo, 37, who works in a bank, called it a "wonderful idea" and added: "Why should one hold back one version?"

A spokesman for distributor and exhibitor Golden Village noted that previously, with a delay in the release of a second version, "the want-to-watch factor is diminished". She added: "With a simultaneous rating system, you can maximise your marketing efforts for the film in the initial period of its release."

As for reducing the possibility of audiences being confused, Ms Dorothy Ding, acquisition and distribution manager for Cathay, said that one way would be to separate different versions by physical location.

MDA said in a statement that the simultaneous rating change was made in response to industry feedback. It is one of two initiatives for the film and video sectors "to help businesses lower their operating costs and shorten their time-to-market".

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