Distributor Lionsgate UK decided to cut seven seconds from the film and digitally remove blood splashes from one scene in order to secure a 12A rating for its British release.
“The distributor said, ‘We want a 12. We will cut the film ourselves to get a 12 to meet the BBFC’s guidelines’.
“That’s what they chose to do and that’s what they did. We did not insist on any of these cuts; it was purely a choice by the distributor.”
He continued: “The Hunger Games came to us some time ago and the distributor Lionsgate told us they wanted a 12A classification.
“When we saw the film we told them that although much of the film was appropriate according to the BBFC’s guidelines there were certain sequences which went beyond what’s acceptable at 12A – beyond what the public told us is acceptable at 12A.
“Therefore the film was heading towards 15. We did suggest some changes that they might like to consider if they wanted to achieve the 12A.”
“It’s not a theme that is completely unknown to 12-year-olds and above,” he explained. “It’s essentially gladiatorial combat, although involving children, but the concept of gladiatorial contests is well known.
“It’s based on a well-known novel that has been widely read by 11-14-year-olds. It’s not dissimilar to Lord of The Flies, which is a book that I studied at school when I was 11.
“In a sense Lord of the Flies is even bleaker than The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games children are forced against their will to take part in this competition. In Lord of The Flies certain children revert to their natural state.”
The BBFC recently worked closely with the distributors of The Woman in Black to reduce the film’s “intensity” in order to secure a 12A rating.