Children under 15 accompanied by their parents will be able to watch the new Batman movie in Belfast after the City Council overturned the age rating assigned to the film.
This means Belfast will be the only place in the UK where the film, starring Robert Pattinson, will have a 15A rating.
The Batman was originally given a rating of 15 by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
Michael McAdam, managing director of the Movie House channel in Northern Ireland, originally made the request after saying cinema staff had suffered abuse from parents in recent years because young teenagers weren’t not allowed to watch movies with a rating of 15.
He said a new 15A classification would allow parents to make the decision and accompany their children to the cinema.
A proposal he presented to the council’s licensing committee was narrowly rejected last month, but on Tuesday evening the full council accepted a proposal from Sinn Fein councilor Arder Carson that the film should have a 15A rating.
My batphone hasn’t stopped ringing for the past two weeks.
Mr Carson told the meeting: ‘My batphone has been ringing for the past two weeks with people asking me what is going on in the sweet name of Gotham City on this licensing committee.
“We all know the crux of the problem. There was a request from the Moviehouse.
“The claimant’s request is that the council agree to impose a 15A rating which would allow young people under the age of 15 to view the film provided they are accompanied by an adult.
“We have the power to do it. It’s up to us to do it if the will is there.
“Given what is happening in the world and the last two years of lockdown and restrictions, this seems like a small potato to us, but it is a big deal for hundreds, if not thousands of young people.
“I think we have to trust our parents.”
Mr. Carson moved that the board accept a certification of 15A, which was accepted without a vote.
Mr McAdam said: “I am delighted that Belfast City Council has taken the decision to award a 15A certificate for The Batman film.
“A 15A certificate gives parents the ultimate decision over what their children watch and means parents can come to the cinema with their children to watch together as a family in Belfast.
“Belfast is the only part of the UK where parents can take their children under 15 to see this film.
“We believe a 15A certificate should become the norm, similar to how the BBFC adopted a 12A a few years ago.”