Cineview: The PG-13 Movie Craze

A Brief History Of MPAA Ratings

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In an age where a new big name movie is released, it is strange that almost none of them are rated R. A deeper look shows an interesting trend; the majority of wide release films in any given year are rated PG-13, even if it would have benefited from the lack of restrictions. This has not always been the case, however. According to The Wrap, “The PG-13 count peaked with 232 movies in 2005, a year that yielded films like ‘Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,’ ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ the first Harry Potter film to receive a PG-13 rating.

The 80’s and 90’s saw an influx of PG movies, most of which would be judged more strictly had they been released in 2019. One notable example is Thirteen Candles.

Despite mature themes and characters, it received a PG rating. This is partially explained by the PG-13 rating not existing yet, but even so, it would likely be rated R today.

The PG-13 rating was intended to serve as a middle ground between the child friendly nature of PG and the edgier R rated content. In theory, it would have the same movies as the old PG rating had. Due to MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) restrictions becoming harsher, this was far from the case.

 

According to the MPAA: “There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context…”

The average moviegoer is a teenager under the age of 17. This makes PG-13 a more desirable rating from a financial standpoint, in theory. In order to accommodate the rules, filmmakers force their films down to a lower rating, which often leads to a poorly made product.

This is unfortunate, considering the market for R rated films is becoming bigger. Examples include Logan (grossed 619 million dollars), Deadpool (783.1 million dollars), and Deadpool 2 (742.7 million dollars).  Hopefully, filmmakers will see the value of allowing their films the maturity they need and ditch the outdated trend of forcing their movies to be less than what they are meant to be.