THE soundtrack of the new Da Vinci Code film has had to be toned down to allow children to watch the Hollywood blockbuster, it was reported last night.
Film censors said the musical score was too "tense" for young children and "bone-crunching" sound effects accentuated the onscreen violence to an unacceptable level.
The British Board of Film Classification went ahead and awarded the film - which contains a series of bloody murders and scenes of a monk flagellating himself -a 12A-certificate only after the producers made significant changes to the audio content.
A 15 certificate would have a serious impact on the film's box-office takings.
It is understood the board viewed two different rough cuts of the film at the beginning of last month.
David Cooke, the BBFC's director, saw a version that contained very little of the soundtrack and is believed not to have raised any concerns. But two of the board's examiners viewed a version that contained the full soundtrack the following week.
"It was when the movie was viewed again with the soundtrack that the problems emerged," a studio source said. "Everyone was full of praise for the score but the BBFC felt that the way it was being used to build up tension was simply too much for very young children.
"The BBFC also thought that the film had a very high 'crunch factor'. You didn't just see the fight scenes, you heard the bones break."
The film's score is by Hans Zimmer, the 49-year-old German composer who produced the soundtracks for Gladiator and Batman Begins.
A BBFC spokesman said: "We advised Sony that the film would receive a 15 certificate unless changes were made. A good score is obviously there to build up tension. But in this case we felt it was making things too tense for a young audience."