The age rating of new horror M3GAN has divided movie fans.
Following its release on Friday (6 January), the film has become a box-office hit, making more than double its $12m (£9.8m) budget in just three days.
It’s also being noted that M3GAN, about a killer robot that looks like a female dolll, is being viewed by a much younger crowd than would usually see a horror film.
This is due to the fact that, following the release of the trailer in 2021, it became an instant favourite of users on social media app TikTok.
Scenes from the film, including one that shows M3GAN dancing her way up a corridor, have been widely shared by TikTok subscribers.
It’s now been revealed that the film, which is PG-13 in the US , was originally designed to be more graphic, but had some gory content erased in an attempt to lure in a younger audience – a tactic that has paid off.
Speaking about this in an interview was screenwriter Akela Cooper, who told LA Times: “No shade to Universal, love them... I understand that once the trailer went viral, teenagers got involved and you want them to be able to see it.
“There should be an unrated version at some point. I heard it is on the books. But yes, it was way gorier. Her body count in the script was higher than in the movie.”
This decision has divided fans, with some complaining that they were denied what they claim would have been a better cinemagoing experience.
The film, though, has received widespread acclaim, and others have argued that it’s important for younger crowds to be able to experience a horror film in the cinema.
On Twitter, @itisaacjoel concluded: “Cheap jump scares and cutting away from the deaths aren’t helping the PG-13 rating.”
Meanwhile, @NTK_Aphrodite warned die-hard horror fans: “It won’t satisfy you in a horror aspect due to it being PG13 but it was entertaining!”
One such fan, @rosalyncini, said that “finding out M3GAN is rated PG-13 and not R ruined my day”.
Summing up the debate was @thehellisbucky, who wrote: “The only valid criticism is that this could have been rated r and had more blood but I get why they didn’t, because there were like… at least six kids under the age of 10 in my theatre tonight.”
A veiwer of the film, who was younger than 10, reviewed the film for @2KidReviews1, writing: “#M3GAN, with its PG-13 rating, is going to become a cult classic for people my age as it finally allows us to see an in-theatre horror movie. Brings a whole new generation into the genre!”
It’s because of this that @davidcontrarian commented: ‘I'm glad they edited it down to PG-13 because this movie is appealing to a lot of kids who wouldn't be allowed to see it if it was R rated.”
Find more responses to the age rating below.
In the UK, the BBFC rated the film 15 due to “strong threat, violence and bloody images”.
Find The Independent’s review of M3GAN here.