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Why do movies ever "aim for an R-rating?"

 
 
mrcolj
 
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 12:38 pm
If all the research that's ever been done says that the average PG-13 makes like twice as much as the average R; the average PG makes a lot more than the average PG-13; and the average G makes like three times more than the average PG; Why do they ever "aim for an R-rating?"

This came to my attention when I saw Joel Silver on the television freaking out about how mad he was that the Matrix was rated R, because it meant he would lose $50M or the like.

Anyone have a straight answer for this?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,441 • Replies: 17
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 12:43 pm
The lower you go the fewer movies they seem to produce. I think the averages might be skewed by that.

For e.g. the G rated movies might be making more money because studios release few of them and when they do they put a lot into it (e.g. Disney's animations).

For a known brand like the Matrix maybe PG-13 would have been best but maybe for less known titles an R rating helps.

Just my two cents and much assumption and speculation.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 12:44 pm
mrcolj- From where are you getting your statistics?

I found this:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6378/pols306.html

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/domestic/alltimempaa.htm
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mrcolj
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 12:58 pm
I dunno, I'll try to look them up. I've just always heard those stats. The Joel Silver comment was straight off the news, and I've heard those quotes many times from many filmmakers. Anyway, I'll try to find some stats before I hit submit.

Here's a good one: http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/mitchel_matovich.htm

The list of the top grossing movies of all time you sent me was R-only... The real list, according to the imdb, is http://www.imdb.com/Charts/usatopmovies It shows there that of the top 20 grossing movies of all time, not one was R-rated. And yet the majority of movies made are R-rated. If we are to see the movie industry and mindlessly corporate, how does this reconcile?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 01:04 pm
From the listing of the gross $$ made on movies it does appear that PG and PG-13 movies fare better overall. (Check out this listing: http://www.the-movie-times.com/thrsdir/alltime.mv?adjusted+ByDG )

But I don't know that many filmmakers "shoot" for an "R" rating. The entire rating system is entirley arbitrary.

The Matrix Reloaded was rated "R" as was Blazing Saddles yet both had less bloodshed than Jaws or Armageddon which both got PG-13 ratings. *shrugs*

I can only assume Matrix Reloaded got stuck with the R rating because of the one sex scene even though no "privates" were shown.
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mrcolj
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 01:08 pm
Actually in that same interview with Joel Silver, he said basically, "We tried to make the first Matrix PG-13, but then it got an R-rating; so now that we established our market we had to make the second one R. The stuff that makes it R doesn't fit in at all, and really hurts the movie, but the studio made us make it R."
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Wildflower63
 
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Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 02:01 am
Interesting info on the rating system. I was informed of just the opposite. I heard, somewhere along the line, that scenes are added to make an R rating because adults feel that PG movies are questionable for adult preference. I believed the R was like a forbidden fruit which attracted an audience that PG does not. I stand corrected!!
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 02:38 am
Boobs man, we want to see boobs!
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Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 03:17 am
Although I'm not certain, I'm sure that many PG movies in Oz would be R rated in the US. We're a LOT less hung up about the sight of the human body.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 04:58 am
Quote:
Boobs man, we want to see boobs!


Bill- You can't speak for all of us. Who gives a darn about boobs???? :wink: Laughing
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flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 08:03 am
Statistics of this sort have little meaning except for a very narrow time range. To be meaningful, if they cover an extended period, they must be adjusted for ticket price inflation (unless listed by # of tickets sold) and even total population increases.
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mrcolj
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 09:50 am
The time factor would show that PGs make less, since any monopolies then would be more than overshadowed by the drastic increases in prices and attendance now; not to mention DVD sales, that probably factors in already. We're not talking per capita preference, we're talking raw gross. And raw gross shows that PGs make a heck of a lot more than Rs.

On the note of whether R rated movies here are PG in other parts of the world, I still reflect constantly on the comments of one roommate from college, who was a filmmaker from Austria. I asked him if, since he wanted to make PG movies, whether he felt it would put him out of touch with society (like most of hollywood) to see every R movie that came out, or at least screw up his head by seeing a sex scene or two a day for his whole life. He said, "You don't understand. There is nothing even on the internet in America, that would be considered inappropriate in Austria. What we call Porn doesn't exist in America, not even in the hardest circles..."
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Wildflower63
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 05:03 pm
If you are including video sales, lots of us buy Disney for our kids, who are happy watching the same movie over and over and over. Adults aren't too thrilled with this concept. We only buy something we find outstanding. Maybe this could account for the difference in sales?

lol @ Bill! Just a typical guy!
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mrcolj
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 05:18 pm
I'm sure there are a lot of reasons why rating is inversely related to profit. My initial question was just, if this is so, why are most movies R? And why do they always say on the news "they did this to earn the coveted R rating?"

If you ask me, I'd give the psychoanalytical answer of, "It has nothing to do with profit. Movie companies are in it for political influence only." I personally remember Ted Turner saying, "I divorced my wife because she became a Christian. Jane [Fonda] and I have spent our lives and all our resources [presumably including all his TV networks] fighting Christianity and all religion." The movie studios either say they're in it for the money, or in it to promote artistic fredom. The second would make sense if we hadn't seen how those people act... Wink
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 06:07 pm
Shooting for an R rating generally means the producers of the film are trying to avoid getting an N17. Initially, Gibson was afraid he would get an N17 for "Passion of Christ" and the movie has been subsequently edited according to viewings by focus groups, not to mention given subtiles which he had not wanted and would have made the film less accessible to the majority of movie goers.

The movie moguls of theThirties and Forties would allocate a small amount of studio money to make serious films realizing they might not do good box office while there was an even more stringent rating system. Independent studios have taken over this cause with only a small number of studio produced films are reaching an aesthetic level the more stringent critics will laud and still will pull in enough box office to be called successful. Occassionally, a film like "The Crying Game" which started out in the art film houses and ended up being a surprise hit, making it to the neighborhood cineplexes, but were R rated (actually it would have likely been rated NC 17 if that had been in existance). Kubrick had the explicit scenes of "Eyes Wide Shut" digitally altered to satisfy getting and R rating in the U.S.

Of course, studios make films to get a rating where the majority of the young male viewers will be able to get in for a Saturday matinee. That's their main audience for the most part which accounts for all the male oriented action flicks (the teeny boopers dragging their girlfriends to, maybe five or six movies to one chick flick the girlfriend will insist on seeing).

The adults don't always go to see a film just because it's R rated, it's just that those films are nearly always the more serious efforts of trying to tell a story and revealing something about the human condition. This years "Mystic River" is doing poor box office as it's a downer movie. "The Lord of the Rings" manages to cover a lot of bases and gets the young crowd looking for entertainment and the older crowd looking for more serious storytelling. That's why in it's three parts, it's the top box office even over "Titanic."
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 06:09 pm
BTW, before NC 17, they were tring to avoid an X rating!
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 09:11 pm
mrcolj wrote:
I'm sure there are a lot of reasons why rating is inversely related to profit. My initial question was just, if this is so, why are most movies R? And why do they always say on the news "they did this to earn the coveted R rating?"


In addition to LightWizard's comments - A PG rating is "safe" film. It may push technological bounds (i.e. animation and such) but the films that generally push the other artistic bounds have the "R" (or NC17) ratings.

A large part of what seems to drive people in the movie business is "going where no man has gone before" so to speak. They like to push the envelope.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2004 10:28 pm
There are always some adventuresome and inventive autuers and they don't really care if their films get rated R or do fantastic box office. They manage to find the financing so someone appreciates their efforts. Kubrick tried to make "Eyes Wide Shut" more marketable by hiring on Cruise and Kidman. They did respectably good jobs but there's an oily slickness to the film that I haven't been able to penetrate after seeing it several times. It would have done better box office if he had left it alone and accepted an NC 17.
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