Billie Eilish’s U.K. fans have been left disappointed after her concert film “Billie Eilish: Live at the O2” was handed a 15 age rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) when it was initially thought the film would be rated 12A.
According to the BBFC, the stringent rating means those younger than 15 will not be allowed entry to see the film even if they are accompanied by an adult. “No one younger than 15 may see a 15 film in a cinema,” the BBFC’s website states. “No one younger than 15 may rent or buy a 15 rated video work.”
By contrast, a 12A rating allows those younger than 12 to see the film if they are accompanied by an adult.
“Billie Eilish: Live at the O2,” which is being distributed by Trafalgar Releasing, was expected to be awarded a 12A rating, as it has in neighbouring Ireland. Instead, the BBFC assigned it a 15 last week, citing strong language and adult themes.
“There is strong language (‘motherf**ker‘, ‘f**k’), accompanied by other milder terms (‘whore’, ‘bitch’, ‘shit’, ‘asshole’, ‘hell’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Christ’, ‘God’ and ‘damn’),” the org explained. “There are verbal references to pornography, as well as undetailed references to abuse, suicide and mental health in song lyrics.”
Some fans have now expressed their frustration on social media after being left with tickets they now cannot use for the event cinema presentation, which is set to take place on Jan. 27.
“@bbfc are a fucking joke,” one tweeted. “My kids are gutted that they can’t watch the @billieeilish live at the o2 because of the 15 rating. We’ve had it booked weeks and they WERE AT THE FUCKING GIG[.]”
Another posted: “so you’re telling me that i have to cancel seeing billie in the cinema all because i’m not 15 and i would have to have id on me… i was literally there at the exact same concert[.] i hate cineworld [.]”
Alerted to the confusion, the BBFC issued a statement saying the film has always been rated 15. “We have become aware of some ticket holder issues for the upcoming cinema release, ‘Billie Eilish: Live At The O2,’” the org wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
“To clarify, the film was never officially classified 12A. The official age rating (15) was published on our website/app on 12 Jan. Official BBFC ratings are never changed or updated after release. Any advertising of an age rating for ‘Billie Eilish: Live At The O2’ prior to 12 Jan was unofficial and not provided by us. We encourage any ticket holders with concerns to contact their ticket provider directly.”
“Billie Eilish: Live at the O2,” which is directed by Sam Wrench, was filmed during the London leg of Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” world tour. It has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Film.
Eilish’s 2021 documentary, “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry,” was also handed a 15 rating by the BBFC. It received an R rating in the U.S.
Variety has reached out to Eilish and Trafalgar Releasing for comment.