12.28.2011 10:40 AM

This child has just watched anal rape, torture, animal mutilation and graphic sex

This is a photo I snapped last night with my phone. It is a picture of a child being carried out of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by what is presumably his father. He wasn’t the only child at the Cineplex movie theatre, last night. There were others.

When I saw them, I went out to get the manager, and said that young children had been brought in to see an 18+ film. She initially refused to do anything. When I told her I was a writer and planned to document her response, she went in and talked to one group, who eventually left with a girl of about 11 or 12. The other group, with the boy above, was allowed to stay.

As far as I know, Onex owns Cineplex. I would like to let Gerry Schwartz know about what happened last night (I’d tell his deputy, too, but Nigel Wright is now Chief of Staff to the family-values Prime Minister of Canada). Reviews have universally made mention of how truly graphic and violent this film is.

So why does Cineplex, and some “parents,” think it is acceptable for a child to see such things?

It’s a cliche to observe that the world is a sick place. But it’s true, sometimes, just the same.

50 Comments

  1. Monica says:

    What on earth would possess any parent to take a child to see this movie? There really are idiots out there, aren’t there.

    • Murdoch says:

      I was at a Cineplex Theatre yesterday at about 3:30pm. The place was packed and most of the age appropriate moives for children were sold out. The kids were angry and the parents who were in line, were looking for any movie that had seating. It was pathetic, consequently lots of kids attended several restricted programs, including a child with special needs who was looking for his parents during Sherlock Holmes.

      Not to trivialize a very serious issue, but it didn’t help when they found out that Cineplex no longer does free popcorn refills.

  2. cnkgrl says:

    Disgusting. Good on you Warren. Hated the book and didn’t bother to read the rest of the trilogy.
    Hoping the movie was better.

  3. Jamie Gilcig says:

    So was the movie any good? Happy 2012 to you Warren!

  4. Gerard says:

    I do not believe that our Prime Minister would take his children to this film or condone such actions. However, poor judgement was shown:
    1) By parents who would take a minor child to such a film.
    2) By Cineplex for not insisting that minor children not see such a film at their theatre.
    3) By Onex and Mr. Wright for not severing their ties when he accepted the post in the PMO and not seeing that the actions of Onex companies could have ramifications for the PM’s reputation.
    4) By the PM for not insisting upon a complete break in the relationship between Mr. Wright and Onex.

  5. Pauline says:

    Have not seen the Hollywood release, but watched the Swedish trilogy and they were graphic enough. What is wrong with these parents??? It`s obviously not a Disney flic…

  6. Awful parents! Couldn’t they have waited for the DVD to come out to show their children?

  7. Allisntwell says:

    LLPL

  8. Marc says:

    @Pauline – if you think Disney films are good for kids then you are just missing the subtleties of them. Those are more insidious than blatant, graphic images sometimes.

    Isn’t there a legal requirement for the theatre to prevent minors from seeing these movies despite the wishes of the (bad) parent? I work in a Library and we’re required (by law, I believe) to try to limit access to DVDs based on the rating of the DVD.

  9. frazworth says:

    I do not believe our Prime Minister would be there either – I believe our Prime Minister would photoshop him and his children being at said movie. But all irrelevant comments aside, this is a huge misstep in parenting. I mean, David Fincher had Trent Reznor et al to do the soundtrack on this. If it isn’t Randy Newman in the credits, you probably shouldn’t take your kid to it. Nonsense.

  10. Ed says:

    Saw it a couple of nights ago. This movie is NO place for a kid. Unbelievable that staff would allow this. This movie is so graphic and realistic in its depictions that it takes a strong stomach from an adult to watch.

  11. SandraTheLoonieLefty says:

    That is truly bad parenting. What would possess parents to take their children to these kinds of movies!!

  12. TS says:

    Everyone take a deep breath and chill….This is not the end of the world

    Cineplex does not decide what movie parent can take their child into. Thats the job of the ontario film review board.

  13. aboucher says:

    Holy crap; you would think the mere thought of having to answer your kid’s questions after this movie would be enough to motivate one to choose something more family appropriate… AWWWWKWARD!

  14. John Peck says:

    I was surprised years ago when our North Toronto elementary school showed Austin Powers The spy who shagged me at a student/parent fun night.

    Companies rarely take it on themselves to regulate their customers’ behavior. Look at the number of dogs you see in malls and food stores these days.

    But I think you’re going over the top by calling out Gerry on this.

  15. ASME says:

    Why in the world would governments do anything about this kind of failure to follow the rules regarding adult movies where children are being taken by their parents? Doesn’t everything revolve around jobs? Just think if all societies ills were gone. There wouldn’t be jobs for: the police, lawyers, Judges, social workers, jailers and on down the line.

  16. Holly Page says:

    I wouldnt bank on Harper to do anything but I would send a copy of this blog to the companies who buy advertising that was shown before the film. A hit to the pocketbook has a bigger effect on Cineplex and I would include the free refills request to. 🙂

  17. sj says:

    I remember being disturbed when a 6 year old showed up at my door as the Heath Ledger version of the Joker one Halloween. My son was 8 at the time and he was one of the few kids in his class who had not seen the movie. Last year, when we found the DVD in a bargain bin and starting watching at home, he actually said he couldn’t believe little kids had seen it.

    I will admit that I took him (at 12) to see the lastest Planet of the Apes movie, but about half an hour in I took him out because of the violence to animals. Regret taking him in the first place, but think he also learned a lesson about leaving if a movie is making you feel uncomfortable.

    It is a hard call for parents sometimes. But the Dragon Tatoo one seems to be an easy one.

  18. AMS says:

    Sounds a little like watching the news…

  19. Pat Marshall says:

    Mr. Kinsella my name is Pat Marshall and I’m VP Communications for Cineplex Entertainment. I read your blog comments and was just as disappointed as you were to see that parents brought their children into see a movie that is rated in Ontario as 18A as classified by the Ontario Film Classification Board. This means chIldren must be accompanied by an adult to gain admittance to the auditorium. When our staff see children accompanied by adults going to these movies, they approach the parent to advise them of the 18A rating and try to discourage them from seeing the movie. However too often the parent berates our employees and tells them to mind their own business and reminds them they are responsible for raising their child(ren) and not the theatre. This is both difficult and disheartening to our staff. We believe in the film classification system and do our out most to support the board including providing complementary advertising space to them and supporting their student filmmaking program. I hope this provides some helpful background for you and others. Additionally regarding our ownership structure, Onex sold their remaining shares in our company in 2007. I would be pleased to discuss this further with you in the new year if you so desire. In the interim all the best for 2012.

    • Ed says:

      I’ve got to say, I am surprised and impressed with Mr. Marshall for coming on the board and saying something. It looks like the judgment call lies more with the parents and the rating board than with Cineplex. If it’s 18A as Mr. Marshall says, and that means that a parent, after a warning discouraging them from bringing in their child, still bring their child into this movie, the theatre doesn’t have much recourse to stop them. I still think this is ridiculous for the child to be brought in to this movie as it is incredibly graphic in ways only appropriate for a mature adult audience.

      One quick question though: Can Cineplex apply standards beyond the Ontario Film Classification Board? Can it say “this movie is rated 18A, but our corporate conscience leads us to make the decision to not allow any minors to see this movie in our theatres”? It might lead to uncomfortable discussions with film studios & distributors on moral policing, but I think they would face little blowback (and probably be praised) by the general public in a case such as this.

      • Reality Bites says:

        I think that would be truly and astonishingly reprehensible.

        “This movie shows two men kissing. Even though it’s rated PG, we think this is immoral and no one under 18 should be allowed to see it. And those over 18 will be warned they’re going to burn in hell.”

        It’s not appropriate for a company to put itself in the place of parents and government. Or indeed, film critics.

    • I would like to thank Pat Marshall for commenting.

    • Jan says:

      According to Wiki Onex owned 43 Cineplex’s as of July of this year. Is it wrong?

  20. Jon Adams says:

    Not to disturb the process too much, but when I was at my local Cineplex two weeks ago, Onex’s name was still prominently displayed in the advertising before the main feature. I don’t remember exactly the wording but it was along the lines of “CINEPLEX: an Onex company.”

  21. dave says:

    At our multi plex, pretty well all the employees are young teenagers. Can be kind of tough for a young teenager to police adults, especially young adults who are bringing their kids in to see the movie. Even as Pat Marshall says above, the teen employees, getting teen wages, thinking they are there mostly to sell popcorn, direct patrons to the right screen room, and clean up, have to take a deep breath to approach adults in their 20’s and 30’s taking their wee ones in to a movie and remind those parents of the rating onthe movie. Parents who already migh feel antsy about taking their kids in to such a movie would be quickly into defence mode when a 13 year old reminds them of their responsibility to their kids.

  22. harry says:

    mind your own business you know it all prick

  23. harry says:

    What’s the difference see it in a theatre or be taught the same thing in school under the liberal sex-ed cirriculam?

    • TheSilentObserver says:

      Woah, woah, let’s take it easy there slugger. You can buy all the tin foil, buck shot, and camo you want at Canadian Tire in the morning. Just clutch the rosary extra hard and hope the rapture waits another year

      • harry says:

        What on earth our you talking about. That old liberal bigotry of labelling anyone with a different opion died in the last election. Try a new one becuse that label is old and tired like the Liberal party.

        • TheSilentObserver says:

          I’m not a liberal, nice try though. Your sanctimonious fear of sex ed died a generation or two ago, time to say hello to the 21st Century

  24. My story is not about a theatre but a campus bar where a vigilant waitress asked me for ID. I don’t know if I looked under 19 (Drinking age 19+ in Ontario). I was 36 at the time. One of my student-friends was also carded. She was 45. My friend did ask if there were seniors’ discounts on drinks for anyone 45 and older.

  25. Warren:
    I congratulate you on speaking out! To Mr. Pat Marshall: where is policy enforcement if the ticket sellers cannot stop someone from buying a ticket for a child to an 18+ movie? Warren, I believe if the dorks refuse to comply with the rating system the theater staff should remind them they can call the police and Child Services!
    To the parents who took their child to the movie….watch out, children imitate what they see…if you child has nightmares or starts acting out do not say we did not warn you.

    Congratulations on pointing this out Warren, keep up the good work

    • Justin says:

      You must not have read Mr. Marshall’s comments very closely. The movie was rated 18A which means that children are allowed to go if they are accompanied by an adult. So while it was horrible, horrible parenting, Cineplex did nothing wrong by allowing the children to stay. They were complying with the rating system.

  26. SUZANNE says:

    I’m heartened by this blog post. I suspect that these people bring in their children because they don’t want to hire a babysitter.

  27. t.paul says:

    correct me if I am wrong, but movie classification and enforcement is a provincial jurisdiction.
    You would get a ally in Rev Charles McVetey on this issue.

  28. Riley Robertson says:

    The next time a disciple of Ayn Rand argues that taxes should be cut so the market can decide what to deliver to the public, rather than Government, remind them that every tax dollar cut out of education, health and infrastructure budgets is freed up to produce and consume crap like The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo (and JLo movies, and Nickleback and Drake tatoos, etc., etc…) A lot of people can’t be trusted with their own money and Onex can’t be trusted with our minds.

  29. Joe says:

    Bah. Much ado about nothing, much?

    Looks like the kid you snapped with your cellcam was asleep. Odds are the kid was asleep through the movie too.

  30. Sean says:

    I’m a huge fan of the series… couldn’t put them down. While unnecessarily violent, IMHO they are first rate suspense thrillers. Haven’t seen the film. However, I can’t imagine ever watching that stuff during the holidays, especially with little kids! Halloween maybe. If unnecessary violence and suspense is what your after at Christmas time, I would much rather recommend the Juniors….

  31. TheSilentObserver says:

    I wanted to see this one quite a bit, but to reiterate just about everything else said here, the kids can wait a couple of years.

  32. Phillipe says:

    I dunno, 2 out of 4 from the Ontario Elementary School sex ed curriculum….

    • Torgo says:

      Going by this and some other comments that have been posted, it’s not surprising that conservatives are unable to tell the difference between consensual sex between two adults (gay male sex) and violent anal rape.

      Rape does not equal sex, it is violence, and it is not what is being taught to children in sex ed. You are not only factually wrong, you’re disgusting.

  33. Not defending Cineplex here, but the average age of staff at the movies is about sixteen and on the rare occasions when I actually go to a movie (because most of what is made these days is pure crap) the staff at the theater look like they’d rather be some place else. The movies are just a mill for generating revenue – get as many people in the place as you can, fill them up on overpriced popcorn and pop and stuff them in there along with everyone else. Parents should be more responsible than to take young children to an adult film, but when the theater is run by people who are still in high school and who could give a flying fart about whether a movie is age appropriate, why should we be shocked that this happened at all?

  34. dave says:

    Mid 1940’s, or so, somebody large took me, at about 4/5 years old, to see Disney’s PINOCCHIO. I think I liked it, but I understand that I was really upset when the whale swallowed Pinocchio. You just never know.

  35. John says:

    Things sure have changed over the years. I remember being denied entry to Monty Python’s The Life of Brian when I was about 16 or 17… and I was with my adult cousin at the time.

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