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Why don't we see more R-rated movies nowadays? (1 Viewer)

John Kilduff

Screenwriter
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Every time a new movie comes out, it seems like it's rated PG-13. How come it seems like few people are making R-rated movies anymore?

Movies of the late 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s had acres of tits and ass, supertankers of blood and enough curse words to make a longshoreman blush.

I know there are movies out there today that are R-rated, but they seem less advertised and harder to find.

What's up?

Sincerely,

John Kilduff...

Turn and face the strange.
 

Jason Hughes

Supporting Actor
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Oct 17, 1998
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Jason Hughes
Adding on to the last post a bit, it's because idiot politicians who know what is best for you have been threatening legislation against networks and/or studios who show previews on TV for R rated movies at times THEY deem inappropriate (obviously they don't believe in the first amendment).

Therefore Hollywood has been making a lot more PG-13 movies than in the past (since the beloved politicians have not whined about PG-13 previews being shown at any hour of the day. Yet.) Obviously, with more advertising more people are likely to see a movie (in theory anyway) Kind of sad.

Also adding to the situation is rising budgets ranging from overkill on special effects to Jim Carrey getting $20,000,000 for the Cable Guy, etc, so Box Office numbers are more important than ever
 

Don Solosan

Supporting Actor
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There were more adults going to theaters in the 60s and 70s. Now they're staying at home in front of the TV and it's mostly younger people going out, so the studios are targeting them (adults get the unrated, director's cut on DVD). It's not a recent change though. I believe the demographics started shifting in the 80s and now it has reached its full bloom.

Everything has been sanitized; less blood, less violence, less cussing. If 70s violence was bad, what do you say about the stuff we have now? Now people are shot, stabbed, whatever, you don't feel it at all. On the Kill Bill DVD (there's an R-rated movie for you!), Tarentino quotes Brian dePalma about how if you do violence well in movies, if you make it real and make people feel the impact of it, then the MPAA punishes you, the audience hates you. You can't win.

American audiences seem to be into the kind of violence that is painless, and has no consequences. Five minutes later you get up and you don't even have to change your shirt because there's no blood. That's healthy?
 

ChristopherDAC

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Despite the aging population, people who have something to sell are targeting kids primarily, possibly because parents who both work feel ashamed enough at neglecting their kids that they buy them anything [and thereby have to work two jobs, but that's another rant].
During the '80s the filmmakers saw the R-rating admissions policy as a wonderful marketing ploy. They made all kinds of films to appeal to a youth audience, 10-13 year olds particularly, and then included enough sex, violence, booze or whatever to get them rated R. Marketing them to the kids, who then pestered their parents to take them to the movies, they sold 2 or 3 tickets where a G or PG flick would only sell one. I know, this is the reason why I saw Batman Returns in the theatre. I'll never forgive my sister for that. :)
There came to be a lot of flack, however, about kids attending R films unaccompanied, and so theatres tightened up their admissions policies beyond the requirement [like Orthodox Jewish dietary laws, or the alcohol policy at Chili's]. The result? Attendance dropoff at R shows: neither kids nor parents went in anything like the former numbers. The solution? More PG shows, to draw in the kids even without the parents.
Ideal? perhaps not. But it's hardly a giant plot against free speech. That's going on elsewhere. :D
 

Kevin M

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.....yet R rated films such as The Matrix Trilogy, The Passion etc. make millions....however if you look at the numbers, R rated films do not make as much money in comparison so the studios will go where the best profit is available...a PG-13 rated Alien/Predator movie? Ugg.

Here's Box Office Mojo's run down of top R Rated grosses: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime...lltimempaa.htm

However if you look at the total all time grosses you see that very few are R Rated:http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/domestic.htm


They go where the money is and "Kids" have the money so............
 

Jack Briggs

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Sociopolitical pressure.

Hollywood acknowledges this. And its most coveted market is the one that actually goes out on weekends: teenagers. Because of that and due to broad cultural shifts, Hollywood is churning out PG-13 films.

Long gone are the days when a major studio would release a Panic in Needle Park or Dog Day Afternoon.
 

Ernest Rister

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If you will notice, the number of R-rated movies has dropped percipitously since the Colombine massacre and the resulting Clinton-mandated FTC investigation of the entertainment industry. The results of the FTC investigation included threats by Democrat Joe Liberman and Republican John McCain to "do something about" how Hollywood markets "violence to young people". The heads of the major studios were hauled up in front of Congress as if they were the heads of tobacco companies, and each were asked if they intentionally marketed "violence" to children.

The result of such tactics was a pledge from the studios that own networks to not advertise R-rated films on public airwaves during hours when children might be watching. This is simple economics - if you limit the advertising, you impact the sales. Why make a movie with a rating that limits how you can sell it? Hence, in 2000, PG-13 became the preferred rating, and R-rated films started to become increasingly hard to make.

This is how censorship works in America. There is no government body that approves or disapproves content. They simply make threats to control how that content is sold, and by doing so, they force the studios to "police" themselves. The studios and distributors and large video chains bend to the economic threats and become de facto agents of the government, controlling content and expression, without a single law being passed, without a single vote being cast by any elected representative.

Neat trick, eh? All in the name of "protecting your children".
 

Ernest Rister

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Or investigate how ineffective school counselors are in identifying troubled students...or solving their problems...No, the answer lies in how Hollywood advertises The Matrix!
 

Glenn Overholt

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Ernest, I do believe what you said, except for the 'no government bodies' part. Aren't, correct that, wasn't Clinton a government body? And the FTC still is.

What a bunch of wimps!

Glenn
 

Ernest Rister

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"Ernest, I do believe what you said, except for the 'no government bodies' part. Aren't, correct that, wasn't Clinton a government body? And the FTC still is."

No law was passed, no government agency is responsible for rating films, no elected representative had to cast a single vote. Clinton ordered the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the entertainment industry to find out if Hollywood was "marketing violence to children". The result was a finding that yes, Hollywood pitched their wares to the teen market, and movie theaters did not check ids at theaters, and there were no age restrictions on video games, etc etc etc. Liberman and McCain held hearings on the matter, Disney-owned ABC was the first to pledge that they would not advertise entertainment properties that contained adult violence during the hours when children could be expected to view (i.e., the first hour of prime time programming, also known as the "family hour"), and all of the suits were asked if they knowingly marketed violence to children.

The hearings were a warning. Backed by the FTC investigation, the government had the clout to threaten laws regulating how entertainment properties were advertised and sold. The intent was to put the fear of Uncle Sam into the entertainment industry, and they acquiesced to the threat. That's why the R rating dropped like a stone -- why make a movie you can't advertise or market? That's why most movies are PG-13 these days...although as time has gone on, and the hysteria over school shootings has abated somewhat, we've just recently seen a sort of slow "comeback" of the R rated film.

There were 107 films that were rated PG-13 in 1999.

In 2002, there were 163 films rated PG-13, and only 43 R-rated films were released on 1,000 or more screens, down 30% from 1999.
 

Chris Lockwood

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> They made all kinds of films to appeal to a youth audience, 10-13 year olds particularly, and then included enough sex, violence, booze or whatever to get them rated R. Marketing them to the kids, who then pestered their parents to take them to the movies, they sold 2 or 3 tickets where a G or PG flick would only sell one. I know, this is the reason why I saw Batman Returns in the theatre.

OK, but that wasn't rated R.

Kids don't need parents to get them into R movies in the multiplex world.
 

John Kilduff

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What an odd feeling to know that one of your favorite directors is partially to blame for the rating situation today.

Sincerely,

John Kilduff...

You can't win them all.
 

Sean.S

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Feb 20, 2004
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Personally, I am glad that there are less R-rated movies. I have yet to find an R-rated movie that I truly enjoyed and many of my favorite films are G (Toy Story 2, Emperor's New Groove, Pokemon 4Ever, etc.) and PG (Sky Captain, Shrek 2, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.). The R rating promotes realism and stifles imagination. The G rating forces creativity to blossom without gory violence, mindless obscenties or sexual content.

However, while I feel that is good that R-rated films are dropping off...the PG-13 rating is becoming way too allowing. Just a few years ago, many PG-13 films would have been rated R, I'm fairly certain.
 

Jason Seaver

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The "R" or "PG-13" ratings themselves are barely worth talking about; if you're over 17, it's just a meaningless graphic in the corner of the poster; the only concern is that somewhere, inside the studio, someone may have made a decision to trim something in order to make a film more commercially viable. Which is a bad thing, but not so bad as, say, revising a script to make a character meant to be abrasive inoffensive or miscasting someone entirely based upon their previous films' grosses.

Talking about ratings is just euphamisms. Say it straight out: "I want more nakedness and/or graphic violence and/or use of the word 'fuck' in my movies". Or less. A movie having an R or PG-13 rating is not in and of itself a good or bad thing; it's just an indicator (and very often an imperfect one) of the content of the movie.

The silliest example I can remember was when I was working the box office at Showcase Cinemas North in Worcester, and a couple opted not to see Mission: Impossible because it wasn't rated R. That movie had problems, but being rated PG-13 wasn't one of them; it was that movie's natural state.
 

Ernest Rister

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"The R rating promotes realism and stifles imagination."

21 out of the last 35 Best Picture Winners were rated R...a 3/5 ratio.

Midnight Cowboy: R
Patton: R
The French Connection: R
The Godfather: R
The Sting: PG
The Godfather Part II: R
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: R
Rocky: PG
Annie Hall: PG
The Deer Hunter: R
Kramer vs. Kramer: PG
Ordinary People: R
Chariots of Fire: PG
Gandhi: PG
Terms of Endearment: R
Amadeus: R
Out of Africa: PG
Platoon: R
The Last Emperor: R
Rain Man: R
Driving Miss Daisy: PG
Dances With Wolves: PG-13
Silence of the Lambs: R
Unforgiven: R
Schindler's List: R
Forrest Gump: PG-13
Braveheart: R
The English Patient: R
Titanic: PG-13
Shakespeare in Love: R
American Beauty: R
Gladiator: R
A Beautiful Mind: PG-13
Chicago: PG-13
Return of the King: PG-13
 

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