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Topic: Movie Ratings: Was PG-13 a bad idea? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 1:28pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Movie ratings have been around for a long time. Well since 1968 anyway. The 1984 addition of PG-13 seemed like a good step between PG and R. Fast forward to 2016 and it seems that everything that is not an animated movie is PG-13. Amping what used to be PG moves up to PG-13 and toning down rated R movies to PG-13. It seems we have lost quite a bit of diversity in the kind of movies being made. 

PG, much like the comics code, forced nuance and subtlety into a picture. 

Or, like the comics code should MPAA be disbanded. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 1:42pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I think ratings can be somewhat arbitrary, and singling out PG-13 as a
problem would be incorrect.

Some pre-PG-13 movies that were rated PG:

AIRPLANE!
GHOSTBUSTERS
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM
JAWS
GREASE
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 2:08pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

AIRPLANE! was PG?  Are you sure?

Edited by Joe Hollon on 30 December 2016 at 2:08pm
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 2:10pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

After a quick google...wow you're right!  I would've guessed a no-brainer R rating....language, nudity and even overt drug use.  
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 2:11pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Good time to recommend THIS FILM HAS NOT YET BEEN RATED for those who haven't seen it. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 2:17pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I think the problem you've identified, Joe, is somewhat real. The cause is not necessarily the ratings though. Studios have become less inclined to take a chance -- mainly, I think because I think they've got better at working out what will make money, which is unfortunate.

In William Golding's book Adventures in the Screentrade he famously wrote that in Hollywood nobody knows anything. Back then it was true -- the appetites of the audience seemed to be more capricious back then, to the extent that there was no chance of playing it safe. Casting a big star or making a sequel was no guaranteed of a big hit.

When there's no such thing as a surefire hit, then you are forced to take a chance, throw a load of different stuff at the wall and see what hits.

Hollywood still has no idea when it comes to original material -- but they do seem to have perfected the art of squeezing large amounts of dough out of established product. The dreaded 'franchise'.

The homogenisation of films into one target segment (that segment being EVERYBODY we can) is more about trying to maximise the dollar return than about the different ratings available, I think.




Edited by Peter Martin on 30 December 2016 at 2:18pm
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 2:24pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

you forgot  GREMLINS, and that is sorta my point. 

There were exceptions the exceptions not the rule. 

I do think that R has been hurt far worse as a commercially viable rating. For example when remaking so many classic R rated sci-fi movies the invariably push them down to PG-13 to make more money. 

The R-rating seems to be 99 % raunchy comedies and and war movies. Perhaps it is telling of movies in general that AIRPLANE! is able to do so much with PG rating and  Everyone else has to do R.

Or I could just be old and cranky.
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Thom Price
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 2:33pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

For all the complaints about what Hollywood does or doesn't do, aren't the studios just responding to what audience indicate they want by ticket sales?

Disney made $7 billion this year, almost entirely on the strength of franchises, sequels and other familiarities (most of which were PG-13).  If audiences were responding as well to R-rated dramas or G-rated, non-animated family films, then you can be sure there would be a glut of them.



Edited by Thom Price on 30 December 2016 at 2:39pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 2:37pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Back when the comic book controversy over ratings was taking place, opponents pointed out that publishers would inevitably insist upon the books skewing towards whichever rating wound up selling the best. You wouldn't get Ronin as Frank Miller wanted it; you'd get a PG-13 version which DC thought would sell better. A de facto commercial censorship would be in place.

"If PG-13 sells best, why isn't everything we're doing PG-13?"

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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 3:49pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Back when the comic book controversy over ratings was taking place, opponents pointed out that publishers would inevitably insist upon the books skewing towards whichever rating wound up selling the best. You wouldn't get Ronin as Frank Miller wanted it; you'd get a PG-13 version which DC thought would sell better. A de facto commercial censorship would be in place.

I don't remember a "controversy." I remember a few prima donnas who wanted to do anything they wished with established characters they didn't own. To borrow your example, it wasn't about a creator being free to do whatever he wanted with his own character(s), it was about DC being skittish about what some wanted to do with Superman or Batman.

And it wasn't "censorship." Only a government can censor. This was about editorial policy. And the whole thing blew over in no time, DC folding before those prima donnas.

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Joe Boster
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 4:22pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Thom Price:G-rated, non-animated family films.
+++++
You can't even find G-rated animated films. Even Pixar has upped their game to PG.  I suppose that this all says more about us as a society than anything else. 


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James Woodcock
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I think we forget what was allowed in the '70's and '80's. Logan's Run was an A (our equivalent of a PG before we introduced it) as were the films mentioned above.

Many of these would be a 15 now. My only real beef with the 12A certificate (which I guess is your PG-13) is that they are allowed one use of the F word in the film. This rules out most of those films for my son. I mean really, does TRANSFORMERS and X-MEN need to have the F word in them?

I applaud Marvel for not using it in their films
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John Popa
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 5:19pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

My guess is the same G-rated movies of days gone by would be PG if released today, especially as it relates to things like Disney's animated features, which, we all know, are fairly intense. 

Edited by John Popa on 30 December 2016 at 5:19pm
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paul naring
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 8:07am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Art comes round in circles, rules are made to be broken. When there is too much freedom censorship takes place. When that stifles creativity its removed and eventually its brought back.

Me personally, I saw creativity thrive when there was restriction. Less becomes more, the mind has to work to fill in the blanks. Blood splashing all over my screen isn't always entertaining or scary, a scream in a dark alley can be. This can mean more people are able to access it without age restriction and reach a wider audience. 


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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 8:37am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

 I mean really, does TRANSFORMERS and X-MEN need to have the F word in them?

I applaud Marvel for not using it in their films

********

However the very first word of dialog in the second AVENGERS movie was "sh*t".  Made me so depressed and honestly angry. 
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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 09 January 2017 at 8:54am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

It's because of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and Gremlins that we have a PG-13 rating.  I was working at a movie theater during that time and I remember the number of complaints parents had over Gremlins.  They apparently thought it was going to be a cute family film....
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 09 January 2017 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Joe, I agree re AGE OF ULTRON.
Kevin - in the UK, TEMPLE OF DOOM was edited and GREMLINS was a 15 so we didn't face the problems until later.

It was BATMAN that created the 12 and SPIDER-MAN that made it a 12A. Parents were taking their kids and just plain lying about their birth dates. It was so obvious that the councils caved and said they could take the kids and then the BBFC caved and made it a 12A.

And then the rules for the word came in and we get to where we are.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 January 2017 at 12:25pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I remember the number of complaints parents had over Gremlins.
They apparently thought it was going to be a cute family film....

-----

GREMLINS was marketed as a cute family film. I saw it because my 3-
year old sister won a store promotion for "Draw What You Think Gizmo
Looks Like" (prior to the release of the movie when you only had hints
of Gizmo's appearance). After we saw the movie, we had all the Gizmo
merchandise: plushes, figures, backpacks, lunch boxes. Everything
was Gizmo, Gizmo, Gizmo, playing down the fact that GREMLINS is a
monster movie.
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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 09 January 2017 at 4:41pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

And it wasn't "censorship." Only a government can censor. This was about editorial policy. And the whole thing blew over in no time, DC folding before those prima donnas.

_________________________


Fast forward to the present day, now Marvel has taken a cue from DC and are letting creators do whatever the hell they want with their characters (with the only restriction being that they must resemble their movie/TV versions).

I remember and long for the days when most Marvel comics were suitable for and aimed at all ages, with the only exceptions being stand alone stories published in their magazine line,Epic Comics mini series,or in the Marvel Graphic Novel line.

As for Hollywood, I can't understand why more studios don't try to make more live action action/adventure,sci-fi,fantasy,superhero,and horror movies after the huge box office success of the first 5 Star Wars movies (which were all rated PG). Hell, why aren't the newer Star Wars movies aiming for a PG rating (or being given a PG rating)? Are filmmakers and studios afraid that teen and adult moviegoers won't pay to see a live action PG rated genre film because they think the movie would be viewed as a silly kids movie?
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 January 2017 at 4:54pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Are filmmakers and studios afraid that teen and adult moviegoers won't
pay to see a live action PG rated genre film because they think the
movie would be viewed as a silly kids movie?

----

Yes.

PG-13 is considered the "sweet spot" when it comes to appealing to
multiple demos.
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