Kids in Italy banned from Disney film
An judge in Rome on Monday temporarily banned children younger than 14 from seeing the bloody epic movie "Apocalypto," according to the consumer group that requested the ban.
The ban is in effect until Jan. 17, after which a panel of judges is expected to make a final ruling.
The decision came as Italy''s culture minister met with other officials to discuss possible changes in the way movies are rated following an uproar over a decision to allow children to watch Gibson''s latest movie, which is filled with violent and gory scenes.
Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said last week that Italy needed to review its rating system, claiming the rules are 45 years old and "no longer suited to current times."
Movie ratings by review boards made up of parents, industry officials, a psychologist and a lawyer can be appealed only by production companies and cannot be overturned by ministry officials.
"Apocalypto" — produced, directed and co-written by Mel Gibson for The Walt Disney Co. — takes place during the decline of the native Maya culture of Mexico and Central America, depicting gruesome slayings and human sacrifices.
The film was released in Italy on Friday and was the weekend''s second most popular movie, after opening in the United States last month with an "R" rating, which allows those younger than 18 to view it only if accompanied by an adult. It debuted in the U.S. as the No. 1 weekend movie, and earned a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign-language film.
Italy''s rating board decided Dec. 19 to allow people of any age to see it.
But cinemas in Rome put up notices advising those under 14 not to watch the film after Rutelli urged them last week to discourage unaccompanied minors from going to see it.
Most European countries that have rated the movie set minimum age limits for viewers.
Disney shares rose 34 cents to $34.53 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.