Sony Pictures apologised on Monday for a scene in its "Peter Rabbit" children's film after an online outcry from sufferers of food allergies.

13 Feb 2018 - 10:13 AM  UPDATED 13 Feb 2018 - 10:13 AM

The scene in question portrays rabbit arch enemy Mr McGregor, who is allergic to blackberries, being pelted with the berries by a gang of bunnies. He ultimately has an allergic reaction that requires the use of an epipen. 

The animated movie, based on the beloved animal characters created by British author Beatrix Potter, began its worldwide roll out last week.

Groups representing allergy sufferers say the scene made light of a serious and dangerous health problem. The criticism prompted calls on social media to boycott the film, under the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

"Food allergies are a serious issue," Sony Pictures and the "Peter Rabbit" filmmakers said in a statement.

"Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit's archnemesis, Mr McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish slapstick way. We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologise."

The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, last week sent a letter to Sony and the filmmakers raising concerns about the scene.

In a related Facebook post, the group said "making light of this condition hurts our members because it encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously, and this cavalier attitude may make them act in ways that could put an allergic person in danger."  

"Peter Rabbit," starring voice actors James Corden and Domhnall Gleeson, took $25 million USD at the North American box office on its opening weekend. It opens in Australia 22 March 2018. 

You might also like:
'Black Panther' cast, Oscar nominees share the influential black films that inspired them
In honour of Black History month in the USA, Variety asked actors, directors and composers of Hollywood what seminal black films inspired them as artists.
SBS On Demand: French Connections movie collection
Can't wait until the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival? Curate your own festival at home with these must-see French movies streaming at SBS On Demand.
SBS On Demand: Tainted Love collection
Not feeling Valentine's Day? We've got you, with a collection of great movies that celebrate singlehood.
TV Movie Guide Highlights: 12 - 18 February
When it comes to movies, there's something for everybody on SBS, SBS VICELAND, NITV and SBS On Demand. Find out what's screening where and when.