Motion picture group expands movie ratings
LAS VEGAS — The Motion Picture Association of America announced changes Tuesday to its movie rating system, saying it wants to better inform parents about violence in films.
The new system, rolled out as the “Check the Box” campaign, will include prominent and detailed descriptions explaining why a movie received its rating. Films that might previously have been stamped PG-13 with a throw-away sentence beneath the rating will now feature extensive descriptions in large font next to the ratings code.
One example read, “An intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, brief strong violence.”
The changes announced by MPAA CEO Christopher Dodd in Las Vegas on Tuesday come in the aftermath of explosions at the Boston Marathon and recent shooting rampages, though the former U.S. senator did not address such examples directly.
The White House has called on the movie industry help parents monitor violence in media since the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., the state Dodd represented for 30 years as a Democrat until 2011. And in a sweeping proposal this year, President Barack Obama asked specifically for a stricter rating system.
Dodd announced the industry's plan at the annual movie-theater convention CinemaCon and spoke generally about the need to help parents “so they can make the best choices about what movies are right for their children to watch.”
The MPAA began issuing ratings descriptions for every film rated PG or higher in 1990.
Some observers had hoped Dodd might use his keynote address to signal to the industry that the MPAA would begin assigning R ratings to all hyper-violent movies, potentially limiting their audience and quashing their box office appeal.
Conservative groups have for years accused the MPAA of “ratings creep,” a ratcheting down of ratings in the interest of profits, so that material once considered a PG-13 now gets a PG and what once was an R is now a PG-13.
“I am not moved,” said Tim Winter, the president of nonpartisan Parents Television Council “I think this is a distinction without a difference. A cynical view of the announcement today is, How can the MPAA protect themselves and continue a toxic level of violence, especially in PG-13 movies, while providing themselves cover from all the scrutiny?”
Gun control advocacy groups greeted the announcement with a shrug.
The MPAA will bolster the campaign with a public service announcement and posters that will appear in theaters across the country.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Roundup: PUC schedules hearings for FirstEnergy rate increase; New-home sales almost flat in September; more
- Linebacker Harrison coming along slowly since return to Steelers
- High school roundup: Mars upsets No. 4 Hampton in GAC
- Central Valley gains measure of revenge on No. 1 West Allegheny
- Fire at Flight 93 National Memorial hints at struggle to safeguard historic artifacts
- Running back depth, defense carries Thomas Jefferson past West Mifflin
- Late TD lifts Penn Hills past Woodland Hills
- Corbett, Wolf resort to sticks, stones to attract attention
- No. 4 Highlands wraps up perfect regular season
- Pens look to buck shots, goals trend
- Faulty air bags in 30M vehicles