Thursday, January 13, 2011
The Truth About Ratings
Sounds good. Right? But there is something missing from this brochure. That would be the truth. I don’t want to sound cynical but somehow I’m not sure the rating board is your friend. Yes, they have made some improvement in the past few years because of criticism that has been directed toward how films are rated. But the reality is film ratings are nothing more than a marketing tool used by the film industry, especially by the major studios. They get the rating they want.
One of the primary audiences for theatrical distribution is teens and young adults. They buy most of the movie tickets. Manipulating the rating system serves the studios’ best interest in maximizing profits that can be generated from this audience. Re-editing films is primarily directed toward teenagers for home viewing.
The rating system is a mystery. No one can adequately explain what the criteria is for a PG, PG-13 or R rated film. The criteria is a moving target. A film is submitted to a ratings board. The process is subjective, and each board has different members. It is possible that a film can receive a PG-13 rating from one board and be resubmitted and receive an R rating from a different board. There is no clear, defined line. Movies are rated on sensuality, nudity, language, rape, drug and alcohol usage, smoking, violence, gruesome images, disturbing images, dramatic content, war violence, sexuality, suggestive language, etc. The rating system is unreliable. It can serve only as a tool but cannot be counted upon for accuracy