Spain gives 'Saw VI' an X rating

Relegates the horror pic to limited circuit of porno theaters

MADRID -- Citing extreme violence, the Spanish Culture Ministry's Film Institute gave "Saw VI" an X rating this week, relegating it to the limited circuit of theaters dedicated to pornographic films.

Buenavista had scheduled a wide release with 300 copies, a large number for the Spanish territory. An X rating prevents a big release since such films cannot be screened in commercial theaters and are limited to the eight theaters in Spain that feature X-rated films, which have been -- until now -- pornography.

The rating surprised Buenavista, which had expected a "not under 18" like the previous installments of the franchise. This is the first time the Spanish ratings commission has awarded an X because of violence.

Buenavista has appealed the decision, but a speedy resolution -- by the planned release date on Friday -- is unlikely.

Film Institute director Ignasi Guardans could have overruled the X rating, but chose not to.

"I have followed, as usual, the proposal of the Cinematographic Film Ratings Commission," Guardans told The Hollywood Reporter. "I could have acted differently, but I haven't found any reason to do so. Indeed, the money invested cannot be the reason to decide the rating of a film."

A Buenavista spokesperson said Thursday the company was waiting until Friday comment in the hope that they would be able to proceed with the distribution of the film.

Guardans will also oversee the appeal.

"Without new elements for consideration it is not probable that a different evaluation will be made," Guardans explained.

The "Saw" franchise has been very successful in Spain, which has its own thriving horror film sector. "Saw IV" and "Saw V" each earned over €4 million ($6 million) at the boxoffice, while "Saw 3" in 2006 took in some €5.3 million.