Too Heavy a Cross to Bear?


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has cited censorship costs for its decision to pull a Blu-ray release of a Sam Peckinpah classic.

One of the controversial director’s best films, Cross of Iron, was to have gone on sale this month as part of a Classics Remastered range that includes The Dambusters and Far From the Madding Crowd.

Forty years ago the World War I drama was released here theatrically with an R18 certificate but has just been reissued on Blu-ray in Australia with the equivalent of an R16 certificate.

Australian titles that are rated M or below automatically bypass the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC).

But restricted titles require a classification fee — which SPHE says nixed the viability of releasing a budget niche title like Cross of Iron.

However, it’s not clear how much that fee would have been, with one industry source arguing:

If it had already been rated as an R18, all we would be paying for is a cross-rate fee against the other platform i.e. DVD or theatrical classification – assuming there was no new content that needed to be viewed. That would be like $27

But, yes, the full charge for sending something to the OFLC is $1124 per disc for [Australian] MA15 titles and above in Australia – if it has never been classified before in any format in NZ

SPHE’s response to this was this statement: “It costs more than $27 to reclassify and the numbers from the retailers didn’t match up to the cost of reclassification.”

Here’s what the OFLC said:

There are a few scenarios for what could happen with this film and different fees may apply in each case (relevant factors include the nature of the additional material on the Blu-ray). If it is necessary to submit the film to our office (the Classification Office) then the fee could be anywhere from $281.10 to $1124.40 (depending on whether fee waivers were requested and granted). However, the film could also be rated by the Film and Video Labelling Body (FVLB), in which case the fee would be significantly lower.

Whatever the true cost, at least SPHE has redressed the ridiculous classification of The Graduate, the 1967 crowdpleaser that was rated R18 until this month’s 50th anniversary release on Blu-ray ($20).

And even better news is it’s the same version as the much pricier, Region A-locked Criterion Collection release in the US, complete with a 2K transfer from a 4K restoration and these fantastic extras:

Also worth trumpeting is a number of Father’s Day-timed back catalogue box-set bargains, including many titles belatedly new to Blu-ray such as Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery and the original Dirty Harry in a Dirty Harry Collection.

Also new are complete collections of Police Academy, The Matrix and Vacation as well as Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, M Night Shyamalan, Harry Potter, Iron Man, Captain America and Pirates of the Caribbean box sets.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply