We always knew that Shrek was one disagreeable cuss – but disagreeable enough to warrant the same PG-13 rating as Van Helsing and Hellboy?

According to the official press notes from DreamWorks Pictures, “Shrek 2,” which opens Wednesday, is rated PG-13 for crude humor (flatulence jokes) and at least one drug joke (during a shakedown in a “Cops” spoof, catnip falls from a feline felon).

But “that’s strictly a typo,” a DreamWorks spokesman said Tuesday in San Francisco. “It should be rated PG.”

From the looks of it, the typo wasn’t corrected in time for a number of newspapers and Web sites in New York, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Nebraska that have listed “Shrek 2” as PG-13 – or essentially off-limits to its preteen target audience.

“Wow, that’s amazing – for this mistake to go out so wide,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, a box-office tracking service. “Parents use the ratings system to determine what to take their kids to, and this mistake could factor in with parents who have kids who are preteens. A PG-13 movie can be very intense in terms of violence and sexual content.”

Ultimately, however, Dergarabedian doesn’t think the snafu will hurt “Shrek 2’s” opening weekend take, which , if anything like that of the 2001 original, could be well over $40 million. “Parents and kids love the first film,” he said. “They see it as an instant classic.”

Fumi Kitahara of DreamWorks Animation in Los Angeles confirmed Tuesday that the PG-13 rating was a “misprint” but could not say whether an original cut of the film received a harsher rating from the MPAA. “I’m not 100 percent sure,” she said.

(c) 2004, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

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AP-NY-05-18-04 1601EDT

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