French culture minister Catherine Tasca has agreed to reinstate the 18 certificate in France following the censorship row that broke out when controversial title Baise-moi (Fuck Me) was given an X rating when already on release.

As a result, exhibitors which were refusing the pull the film from their theatres in protest, have agreed not to screen it until it is awarded the new certificate.

Eight cinemas in Paris, including the MK2 circuit and French arthouse exhibitor Films Sans Frontieres' venues, refused to withdraw Baise-moi after French court, Conseil d'Etat, cancelled its exhibition permit.

"I have noted Catherine Tasca's decision and I'm happy with her will to re-establish the 18 rating at the shortest notice," said Philippe Godeau of Pan Europeenne which produced and is distributing the film. "We have to wait for the decree to be passed to apply for a new exhibition permit."

MK2 - which was also threatened with a suit by right-wing association Promouvoir, which filed the original complaint - pulled the film, directed by Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, today (July 6) and Film Sans Frontieres is likely to follow suit on July 11.

The Conseil d'Etat's decision sparked an outcry among French film industry organisations, including film-makers' association SRF, which described it as "a breach to freedom of expression".

Several French film-makers, led by Romance director Catherine Breillat, signed a petition and staged a protest yesterday evening (July 5) in Paris, in front of one of MK2's left bank venues, the MK2 Odeon.

In the meantime, Baise-moi has racked up over 26,000 admissions in France in one week. Its screen average is strong considering that it screened on 80 prints for only three days, and on only 8 for the remaining four days.

StudioCanal's classic division Wild Bunch, which backed the title and is handling foreign sales duties, has sold Baise-moi in most territories except the US, the UK and Germany.