I forgive readers for not reading completely through my post on international box office. It was a very long post, and at least one commenter decided that its information was boring. But if you did make it to the bottom, you may have seen a story that I thought to be slightly interesting, if not significant: Consumer groups in Italy were protesting the all-ages rating stamped to Apocalypto.

It didn't seem too important because consumer complaints are made all the time. But now it is more significant because the consumer groups have won, at least temporarily. An Italian court has overruled the Italian censors by placing an age restriction on the film. At least until a hearing commences on January 17, children under the age of 14 will not be allowed to see the film. According to the country's censors, the violence in the movie is historical, artistic and "a way of life" and therefore not inappropriate, but the one consumer group that brought the case to court thought differently (our own James thinks the violence is "clammy and silly stuff -- boring and blood-soaked and incredibly obvious"). Here in the States the rating was R, and similarly restrictive ratings were placed on the film in other markets. After this ruling, only Russia still lacks an age limit for admission.

This case will likely have influence on Italy's ratings in general as the country's Culture Minister, Francesco Rutelli, is discussing current standards with the censorship review board. If the ratings end up more strict, it will be bad for people against censorship, obviously, but it will also be bad for consumer groups -- how else will they attract attention?

Fortunately for Disney, the court's decision was not announced before the film hit theatres. It opened over the weekend to second place in Italy, taking in over $3 million. It would be interesting to know how many tickets were sold to minors, but unfortunately we may never know. And we may never know if the violence truly had an averse effect on the youths.