“Violence sells. We recognize that, and the movie industry realizes it.”
Michael Cieply reported in a recent New York Times article that the level of gun violence is now greater in PG-13 movies than R films, at least at the most popular end of the spectrum for both ratings. This information comes from a study scheduled for the December edition of Pediatrics magazine.
One of the study’s authors, Daniel Romer, states the he believes movie studios are “taking films that have a lot of violence and putting them into the PG-13 category. Violence sells. We recognize that, and the movie industry realizes it.”
That overall violence in American films has doubled since 1950 comes as no surprise to anyone who has sat through 90 minutes in a cineplex, nor is the long-standing debate over the ratings board’s strong prohibition on sex but apparent lack of concern regarding violence. Ciely states:
In announcing the study, its authors called for changes to the ratings system, which, according to some of its critics, is tougher on sex than on violence. “We treat sex as R,” Mr. Romer said in the announcement. “We should treat extreme gun violence as R.”
The author also notes that “a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America, which oversees the domestic film ratings system in partnership with theater owners, declined to discuss the study.”