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Barbie: Is the movie really kids' stuff? Looking at the movie's age rating

What is Barbie's movie age rating in the UK and US?

Barbie
Image credit: Warner Bros Studios

The prime demographic for Barbie dolls are girls aged between 3 and 12 years old, according to market research across the years. Can the same be said for Barbie, Greta Gerwig’s upcoming movie based on the iconic Mattel toy line? It depends where you live in the world.

What rating is the Barbie movie in the US?

As revealed a month before the movie’s release, Barbie is rated PG-13 in the United States, with the reason for the rating being “suggestive references and brief language.” (Anyone who’s seen the movie’s trailer where Ken argues with Ken about who’s going to beach who off can at least understand that the movie might make a suggestive reference or two.)

Officially, according to the MPAA guidelines, a movie rated PG-13 means that parents are “strongly cautioned” about the feature in question, specifically that “some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.” That doesn’t mean that kids younger than 13 can’t see the movie, officially — simply that the MPAA is concerned that, if they did, they might be exposed to inappropriate content as a result.

What rating is the Barbie movie in the UK?

In the UK, kids apparently grow up a little faster — but just a little. In the United Kingdom, Barbie has received a 12A rating, with the movie dinged for “moderate innuendo, brief sexual harassment, [and] implied strong language.” (There’s that beach off again.)

The British Board of Film Classification, which is responsible for movie ratings un the UK, defines the 12A rating as “contain[ing] material that is not generally suitable for children under 12. No one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult.” The official definition adds, “Adults planning to take a child under 12 to view a 12A film should consider whether the film is suitable for that child.”

In both countries, then, the Barbie movie is almost outside of the core audience for the Barbie dolls — well, unless there’s a particularly lax parent willing to take them to the theater, and potentially expose them to new ideas as a result.

Barbie opens in theaters July 21. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets.


Maybe it’s the unexpected political controversy provoked by Barbie that’s making movie censors nervous about the film.

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Graeme McMillan

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Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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