Theater Mogul Demands Fewer ‘R’ Films,
Wired Magazine – 4/16/13by Graeme McMillan
“Make more family-friendly films and fewer R-rated titles,” National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) CEO John Fithian told his audience at during a presentation at CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO and the U.S. movie industry, this morning. Not because of morality concerns, mind you — but because they simply make more money. His other pragmatic recommendations included broadening the target audiences of films, and releasing strong films in all the months of the year. Along with the MPAA, he also announced a new initiative to display more detailed information about the content of films along with their ratings. What could have caused this outbreak of common sense?
Fithian told the assembled audience of movie professionals that despite three times as many R-rated movies as PG releases in 2012, the PG releases collectively made almost as much money than their more mature brethren and suggested that “PG-13 represents the sweet spot” in terms of movie profitability. “Americans have stated their choice,” he said.
If Fithian has his way, the future of movies will not only be more family-friendly, but also include more films that target moviegoing demographics besides white men. In particular, he said, there needs to be more movies appealing to women and minorities, pointing to the fact that Latinos have the highest movie attendance per capita in the United States.
Fithian also believes that there’s too much focus on releasing high-profile films during the summer and holiday seasons. particular parts of the year when it comes to high profile releases. He pointed to the success of both The Hunger Games, which was released in March, and Argo, which came out October, to prove his point that “any month can produce a $100 million movie… In most if not all of [the examples of major movies released outside of summer or holiday seasons], distribution in off months produced higher returns.”
He also joined Chris Dodd, current chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, to launch a new campaign that includes more information about films in MPAA ratings boxes to allow parents to make more informed decisions about the movies their kids want to see. Called “Check the Box,” the campaign comes with a PSA prompting concerned parents to look closely at the newly-revised rating block on movie posters — similar to the ratings boxes for video games — for a rundown as to what exactly earned each movie the rating it was given.
“Throughout its existence, the goal of the Rating System has never changed: to inform parents and allow them to make their own decisions, considering their children’s sensibilities and unique sensitivities,” Dodd said during the unveiling of the new campaign. “The Check the Box campaign we are announcing today focuses on these descriptors, giving parents the information they need to navigate the Rating System and movies coming to their theaters.”
“These changes make the ratings and advertising process more transparent and user-friendly for parents, and we are happy to support that endeavor,” Fithian added. The Check The Box campaign launches today, and will be rolled out in theaters over the coming weeks.
Read the original publication here.