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It's no secret people love to complain. But it takes a special kind of ire to take action and contact The Powers That Be to register an official complaint. So color me surprised that Jennifer Lawrence's Red Sparrow and the Peter Rabbit movie received the most complaints in 2018 -- at least, the most complaints to the British Board of Film Classification.
The BBFC released its list, with Red Sparrow receiving 64 complaints, followed by Peter Rabbit with 50. The complaints were for very different concerns, but I can't help but picture people writing Strongly Worded Letters or perhaps calling an official with a list of grievances.
Red Sparrow got complaints because it was given a "15 classification," which could be considered a U.K. equivalent of PG-13. Viewers felt the movie should've earned an 18 certificate -- basically an R rating -- due to "elements of violence and sexual violence in the film," per Digital Spy.
Apparently the British Board of Film Classification defended the decision by saying the "correct changes" to Red Sparrow scenes were made in post-production to allow a 15 certificate. The BBFC added that, "given the lack of aggravating factors such as strong nudity and eroticisation in these scenes," the 15 rating was allowed.
I do understand some complaints about the Red Sparrow rating in the U.K., considering it got a hard R in the U.S. Still, the Red Sparrow team should just be happy that anyone saw the movie at all, even if they complained about it afterward. The movie only made $46.8 million at the domestic box office, and $104.6 million worldwide. Maybe the wider rating helped it get more international viewers?
The Peter Rabbit complaints you probably heard something about last year. As you might've guessed, the complaints were tied to the food allergy scene. Rabbits throw blackberries at Mr. McGregor, knowing he's allergic. There were complaints by groups like Kids With Food Allergies, and Sony Pictures issued an apology. In addition to allergy-related complaints, some viewers found the behavior to encourage bullying.
The BBFC defended the Peter Rabbit scene, saying it doesn't feature bullying but was instead part of "an ongoing battle between the rabbits and the owner of a vegetable garden."
The BBFC also noted that it didn't receive any complaints about the film right after it was released, saying issues only started coming in "in response to press coverage that started in the U.S." So they're blaming us.
Peter Rabbit found itself involved in a different mini controversy when a theater accidentally played a trailer for a horror movie before a screening. There were complaints about that too.
Considering all the ire against award winners Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody, I half expected to see them on the most complained about list for 2018. Or even maybe Avengers: Infinity War for killing off major characters. You know someone must've written a Strongly Worded Letter about that. But maybe those complaints were mostly Stateside.
I'm curious what movies from 2019 will send people complaining to the BBFC -- or the MPAA or FCC in the U.S. Check out the list of what's coming to screens in 2019 and place your bets.
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