Secretary of Internal Affairs Anne Herman said: “The cinema may now legally resume screening Rocketman with the silver lining perhaps being a boost in sales for the cinema.
But it’s too late for Empire Cinema: it pulled the Elton John movie last week after being told it wasn’t complying with censorship rules. It has now run out of time to screen the movie – unless management can negotiate a special screening to meet popular demand.
Chief censor Dennis Tangirere has granted Rocketman approval for public exhibition. His rating warns of one homosexual sex scene and other minor sex acts, scenes of drugs and alcohol use, and foul language throughout the movie. “One scene that may offend some viewers is the sex scene between the same sexes,” he said.
But the censor also acknowledged the film’s merits: “The movie itself was interesting and educational in some parts. A struggle in life of who he really is and who he wants to be.”
Empire manager Pa Napa had been waiting in hope that the ban would be lifted. But he’d had no contact from Internal Affairs by his scheduling cut-off yesterday morning, so at 11am he was forced to schedule other movies instead.
Napa believed young people woouldn’t have much interest in Rocketman. “It’ll be those in the 40s and over age group who grew up listening to Elton John’s music.”
Tangirere had described the movie as being “condemned”, not banned – that is, barred from public exhibition at the cinema and being hired out by DVD stores.
On Facebook, Herman wrote that Rocketman was never banned. She said Tangirere had suffered “unwarranted and unnecessary public bullying” for just doing his job, and accused Cook Islands News of “tarnishing” the country’s reputation for reporting the censorship.
She added: “The fight for the preservation of human rights is indeed a worthy one, but we do need to ensure we are fully informed by reliable sources so as to avoid misguided attacks against the innocent, thus further violating the very rights we endeavour to preserve.”