AMC Defies MPAA Bullies: Will Show Unrated Documentary To Kids With Permission Slips

from the they-only-have-as-much-power-as-we-give-them dept

There's been a bit of a kerfuffle in Hollywood lately surrounding the documentary Bully, which has drawn attention to the ridiculousness of the MPAA's movie ratings system—and may even indicate the first real erosion of the organization's power in that area. The documentary—which has been well-received as an accurate depiction of real problems, and a potentially important film for parents, teachers and kids to see—was rated R by the MPAA for harsh language, which would stop kids under 17 from seeing it in theatres alone. This sparked a massive push-back from the studio and the anti-bullying activist community, but the MPAA refused to budge, so the studio announced that it would release the film as unrated by the MPAA (though they do include the much more reasonable "Pause 13+" rating it received from Common Sense Media, a non-profit children's advocacy group).

This can confuse people, because it's a common assumption that movie ratings are required by the government. In fact, the MPAA's rating system is unregulated and entirely voluntary, and was created as a way to avoid government intervention. The rating from CSM carries no more or less legal weight than an MPAA rating—but participation by studios, cinemas and retailers in the MPAA system has been so widespread for so long that their ratings are the de facto standard, and essentially mandatory. Any film can be released without a rating, but traditionally that has been commercial suicide, since theatres would treat it as NC17, a rating under which success is nearly impossible since most theatres won't show such films at all. But that's where things with Bully get interesting: AMC has announced that its theatres will show the movie and make it easy for kids to see it. In a unique move, they are providing a parental permission slip on their website for kids to print, get signed, and bring to the theatre:

“AMC will be presenting Bully…as not rated,” said the theater-chain in a statement. “Guests younger than 17 can see the film if they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian, or if they present a signed parental permission slip.”

That permission slip will be available on Wednesday at this link on AMC’s website. ... (A rep for the company declined to comment on the Parent’s Television Council’s statement that screening Bully at AMC’s theaters “threatens to derail the entire ratings system.”)

That last bit is interesting, because it shows that the Parents Television Council (notorious moralist meddlers in the free speech rights of others) knows exactly what's happening. The power of the MPAA and groups like PTC relies entirely on momentum and force of habit. Nobody is beholden to them, but for a long time it seemed like everyone forgot that. That let the MPAA warp the rating system and use it for their own purposes such as playing politics, screwing over indie filmmakers, and even punishing a documentary that criticized the rating system itself. But now people are remembering that they don't have to play by the MPAA's self-serving rules. In their statement, PTC neatly predicts the future, though they rail against it:

"This move, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system," said PTC head Tim Winter in a statement."If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like Bully, nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material."

As with most of the disruption happening in the entertainment industry, this has a lot to do with the internet. In the past, if everyone played by the rules, there was basically no such thing as "unmet demand" for a film with a bad rating. Once the MPAA handed down its death sentence, nobody would touch the project, and it would receive no promotion or screen time, so nobody outside film circles even knew about it. Now lots of people are plugged into the festival circuit and the inside world of film, so a movie like Bully can generate plenty of buzz before it even hits Hollywood. The demand for the film was there, the studios were able to gamble on that demand, and AMC could see the advantage in breaking the rules to meet it. If the film is a success (which seems likely) it will deal a powerful and much-needed blow to the MPAA's ratings regime.



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    TriZz (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    I'm not much of a movie guy...

    I don't really go to the movies much anymore, but I'm thinking a trip to an AMC theater to see "Bully" is something that I can get behind. I will patronize good decisions.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

      Re: I'm not much of a movie guy...

      I think I'll see this one just to send a message.

       

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      TheLoot (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

      Re: I'm not much of a movie guy...

      A movie not supported by the MPAA? Yeah, might be worth my money, though my interest in the topic is minimal.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

      Re: I'm not much of a movie guy...

      Too bad this (unrated) movie is playing in a whole TWO theaters according to AMC's website. I read some places will play it with the R rated version, like Regal, no date specified though. At the moment no showtimes for Denver tomorrow or next Friday. Apparently its a secret when us yokels who live in the sticks will get to support it.

       

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    Mike C. (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    So, if I'm reading this right...

    The way I see it, the PTC wants to play the part of a "bully" and force a distribution company to do what the PTC wants with a movie about bullying rather than leave them alone or play nice. Got it.

    The other thing I love about this is the Twitter backlash against the MPAA w/ respect to Hunger Games at the same time. The most common tweet is essentially "so teenagers can kill each other and get PG-13, but a frank discussion of bullying is rated R". Sort of helps show what the MPAA and PTC are all about, huh?

     

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    Don, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    Famous Players and all

    Why can't Famous Players, Cineplex and AMC and what ever other movie houses that exist get together and rate the movies as a consortium. They have enough clout to ruin the MPAA and any MPAA supporting Holywood studio.

     

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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    I've been using the Common Sense ratings, as well as ratings from Kids-N-Mind for years to decide what movies my kids could see. There is a lot of stuff rated R by MPAA that I felt was perfectly fine for a 14/15 year old, so I used the private ratings as a double check on my memories of the movies before the kids rented them.

     

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      Machin Shin (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

      Re:

      The MPAA ratings have been a joke for a long time. They change from time to time so what is R today is not necessarily R tomorrow.

      I have a VHS of a western rated R that does not show any blood or anything. Today that would probably only get a PG.

      On the other hand I have the Smokey and the bandit movies. The first one is rated G and is full of profanity. The later ones go to PG and have nudity as well as the profanity.

       

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      Yoshord, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 4:38pm

      Re:

      I still have a hard time believing that The King's Speech was rated R.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Ratings were a bad idea from the start

    And they still are a bad idea. If anything films need to come with a voluntary disclaimer like "This film contains the following..." [Insert list of potentially offensive stuff] Followed by "Viewer discretion is advised." and that's it. No categorical labels.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

      Re: Ratings were a bad idea from the start

      Will never happen. As a culture, we're OBSESSED with a final score or rating to EVERYTHING.

      I mean look at the video game ratings. The real bit that matters is the list of all the reasons something gets a rating (cartoon violence, drug use, swearing, nudity, sexual content, etc.), but what's in the biggest font? "Rated T for Teen." It's just how we roll.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

        Re: Re: Ratings were a bad idea from the start

        The problem is who gets to decide what is appropriate for "Teens" or "Young Children" and what isn't. And if the current ratings system were required by law it would be a violation of the first amendment. And if there are any laws that require theaters to restrict access based on a this system then they are unconstitutional on their face as well. Listing content that some people may find offensive and some people may not objectively is the only acceptable solution. It is also why the part of the FCC that determines what is "decent" enough to show on public TV and hear on public radio needs to be removed as well.

         

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

    Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

    Common Sense Media rocks.

    They tell me what I need to know as a parent and let me decide if it's appropriate. They're not on some power trip like the sucky MPAA and even worse Parents Television Council, who need to stop trying to tell people what they can and cannot see.

    The MPAA ratings tell me nothing I need to know about a movie. It's about as nuanced as thumbs up/thumbs down.

    Thank god Netflix incorporates Common Sense Media on their website.

     

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      weneedhelp (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

      Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

      "They tell me what I need to know as a parent and let me decide if it's appropriate."

      See the issue I have with this is, everyone's interpretation of "whats right" to let my youngster see is different. Every child is different. Maybe as a slight guide, but in the end I still want to see it for myself to determine whats best for MY child.

      Common Sense Media - They set a rating of 16 plus for 21Jump st. But you dont think at 15 or 14 they have discussed/heard/seen worse? I know at that age many many many moons ago, I did. But it is their view that you should be no younger than 16. You may have a 14 year old with the maturity of an 18-20 year old, or of a 12 year old. I shouldn't let some governing body decide whats best. I should decide.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

        Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

        Screw the categorical labels. List the ingredients on the package.

        And while I'm on this topic because this is where this crap comes from SCREW YOU right wing 'Moral Majority' (yes you PTC) that pushes for laws on this sort of crap because you can't get it through in your damn heads that we have a Constitutionally mandated separation between church and state FOR A DAMN REASON! You DON'T get to impose your morals on ANYONE. You DON'T get to tell me how to raise my child, what is or is not appropriate for them to see and at what age it is appropriate for them to see it. I raise my children NOT YOU! Now GET OFF MY LAWN!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

          PTC is right wing... MPAA (who actually control the ratings system) falls firmly the other way and both want to stop you from speaking or parenting..

          so take the politics out of it, and we find 2 groups that just want power for the sake of power and money..

          I am just tired of everything having to be political in nature (right-wing/left-wing - Fuck your wing) and call things what they are... PTC/MPAA people that want you to sit down, shut up, and do what your told..

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

            Left-wing media == myth'

            It may have been true at one point. And I wouldn't say that that the content CREATORS are right wing. But the media conglomerates... DEFINITELY RIGHT WING. They are all about resisting progress to maintain their power and control structure by protecting the status quo to increase their personal wealth regardless of who it impacts negatively. These are DECIDEDLY RIGHT WING goals. Make no mistake. They are RIGHT WING and don't be fooled by anyone who tells you otherwise.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

            I didn't say Republican/Democrat. There is a difference. The term left-wing refers to those who are more liberal and push for change. Right-wing refers to conservatives that want things to stay the same. MPAA is definitely not left-wing.

             

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              ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 4:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

              I didn't say Republican/Democrat. There is a difference. The term left-wing refers to those who are more liberal and push for change. Right-wing refers to conservatives that want things to stay the same. MPAA is definitely not left-wing.

              PTC had Senator Lieberman on it. PMRC had Tipper Gore running it. These organizations have been run by folks on both sides of the fence. The truth is everyone on either side wants control of you, regardless to what side you are on, so calling it left-wing/right-wing is dumb. As a Libertarian, I'd kinda like both sides to get out of my way and stop trying to tell me what I can and can't do.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 5:03am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

                For your comment about wanting control over others, I would say the it is true of both Democrats and Republicans as groups, however the terms right wing and left wing do not refer to the things. Although generally Democrats generally tend to be more left-wing and Republicans tend to be more right-wing, equating each group as left-wing or right-wing is a common mistake. Many people misunderstand what these terms mean and use them incorrectly. They are used to describe diametrically opposed ideologies that cannot removed from the argument. They really have little to do with party affiliations.

                 

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                Niall (profile), Mar 29th, 2012 @ 6:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

                Lieberman is one of the most conservative 'liberals' I've seen in US politics. No idea about Tipper, but one person won't change an organisation much if it has tons ofpeople in the other direction.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 6:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

                  This may be news to some but the right-wing doesn't really care about religious-based issues directly even though they argue from that perspective feverishly. They only care about it those things because it is the source of their power. It is how they can distract a large section of middle America from focusing on their real agenda and trick them into supporting their true power and control agenda by appealing to people's religious convictions. They claim the "moral high ground" because it sells not because the believe in it. This is why it's so easy to show the hypocrisy of their position. Their true agenda is anything but moral.

                   

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

             

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            Michael (profile), Mar 29th, 2012 @ 4:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

            Yeah, MPAA is so left wing that they discriminate against GLBT and femenist indie films. See "This Film Is Not Yet Rated".

             

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        jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 9:00am

        Re: Re: Isn't the MPAA dead yet?

        Yes, they give age recommendations which are arbitrary, but they also spell out explicitly what's in the film (including product placements) and note the positive and negative aspects of the film. It's not about restrictions or censorship or setting age limits.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    For God's sake man, leave the MPAA alone for a single day. Is that possible or do you plan to continue to use your blog as a vehicle for attacking the MPAA, the RIAA, lawyers, anyone seeking to protect theft of their intellectual property, and the government? I was originally drawn to this web site through "My Yahoo" because I thought it was TECHNOLOGY related. Obviously names can be misleading. You should call this site the "ANTI-IP SOAPBOX".

    This is really an NON ISSUE because kids aren't interested in seeing this movie. My daughter would be bored to tears! We go to the movies to be entertained.

     

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      Dementia (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      You do realize no one is requiring you to visit the site and read the articles here, right?

       

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      I hear you on that one. I'm interested in geotechnical engineering, especially soil mechanics. When's the last time Mike Masnick discussed the problems of erosion or compaction? Never. Man this site is a joke. Change your domain to mikessatanicpirateworshipforgreatjustice.com.

      techDIRT? I don't think so bub. Who are you kidding?

      Also, I agree with you about movies. They should never be used for learning. I tried doing a course on udacity.com. B-O-R-I-N-G! Not a single good joke, character development took way too long, and there was no suspense whatsoever. Stupid voice over kept telling me what was coming up next.

       

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      anyone seeking to protect theft of their intellectual property,

      Well, at least you are beginning to acknowledge that not everybody is against copyright infringement. Plenty of artists encourage it. However, even in that regard calling it theft is still wrong. Well, and you are also wrong that Mike attacks those people. He usually supports them because the artists who support such things are seen as the good guys in society. Much unlike the MPAA and their ilk.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      So of course your daughter is never harassed, threatened, scared, picked on, or socially excluded by others.

      Why would she need to go to movies? She already has the perfect life.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      > We go to the movies to be entertained.

      Sometimes documentaries can be very entertaining. Especially if they hilariously point out the failures of those who only want to harm everyone else as long as it feed their own greed. That's why the movie version of TechDirt would be quite entertaining.



      > I was originally drawn to this web site
      > [...] because I thought it was TECHNOLOGY related.

      Um, hello? Welcome to the 21st century. TechDirt is all about how them darn intartubes are disrupting entitled business everywhere.

      Shame on the common people thinking they can get together and use them intartubes to share information useful to them but harmful to the entrenched players. Real estate and car dealers hate it. Movie ratings boards hate it. Content gatekeepers hate it. Monopolies hate it. Dictators hate it. Censors hate it. Ticket scalpers hate it. Crooked politicians hate it, but I'm being redundant.

      But who loves it? The people. The consumers. Artists who want to make good art, and hope they also make money. Creators who want to get their work out there -- not hold it back with "release windows". Anyone who wants to share the most obscure stuff of their life on YouTube like their opinions about how to knit sweaters.

      On that last point, I refer to any small group that is not geographically concentrated but shares an obscure interest. You think the biggest weapons count -- just ask the Minbari who won.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Thats the thing, this article and countless others have NOTHING to do with technology. They are just anti establishment propaganda. TechDirt honestly is a HORRIBLE name for this site. It really HAS become a soapbox. Now I just come on here to correct the misinformation and out right lies that are spewed as if they are the gospel truth.

        Mike and his primary disciples, Leigh and Glyn aren't writing about technology, they are writing to further their cause. There is a lot of interesting Technology news out there that doesn't involve intellectual property rights. You wont see any of that here. This site is dedicated to the pursuit of diminished rights for content owners.

         

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          ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thats the thing, this article and countless others have NOTHING to do with technology. They are just anti establishment propaganda. TechDirt honestly is a HORRIBLE name for this site. It really HAS become a soapbox. Now I just come on here to correct the misinformation and out right lies that are spewed as if they are the gospel truth.

          Uhmm...been here since 2003 myself, and Techdirt always has been about talking about Technology, including discussions (or in your parlance, soapbox) about technology that interfaces with MPAA/RIAA (or, as you state, anti-establishment propaganda.) A couple examples:

          From 2005: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20051214/0125257.shtml
          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20050419/0 020230.shtml
          From 2006: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060620/1133222.shtml
          Or how about, from 2003: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20030826/1949253.shtml

          If you really don't like the message that is being offered here, take Mike up on his offer and buy him out for the next year. A bunch of us would hate you for a little while -- but we'd get over it eventually.

           

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 6:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So your trying to play evangelical shill with a daughter.
          All of this misinformation.
          Please show the class where the misinformation is.
          Back your statements with fact, words spoken by Dodd and Sherman are not facts.

          Please explain what Mike's true cause is. Support your statement with facts.

          "Intellectual Property is our greatest asset" these words were spoken by the President of the United States. Much of the laws being proposed and pushed forward show a one sided view of IP and IP rights. They are expanding what the benefactors of Government granted monopolies can do at the expense of the civil liberties of the people.

          You were doing so very well with your concern troll, up until the last line.
          "This site is dedicated to the pursuit of diminished rights for content owners."
          A majority of the articles are making people aware of the "new" rights that are being claimed by the content owners while telling baldfaced lies to support the expansion.
          With everyone so focused on IP rights and laws currently, you seem to feel that this blog is an anomaly rather than a reflection of what is actually happening in the world.

          Your a shill, your paid to spread disinformation and to try to discredit actual facts. When you fail to do so you then move onto personal attacks and paint the people paying your employer for your shilling as "victims". While corporations are people now, you will find no real sympathy for an industry that has declared war on consumers and focuses on chasing imaginary things while pissing off the last few customers they managed to keep.

          If you wanted us to believe you were here to fix the problem you'd have registered a name, rather than hide as an AC making wild claims with no backing. Anyone can make any number of email addresses to register with so they don't have to out themselves to evil Mike, so there goes your next "concern" to spout off about.

          Run along now... the adults are talking.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 7:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'd only add that "intellectual property" is not a right but rather a social contract. Retroactive extensions are robbing the public of the benefits of that contract. Life of the author should have been the absolute limit of extensions to copyright. It is unconstitutional to extend copyright past the death of an author since paying the author's descendents is no true incentive for that author to continue creating new works. Furthermore, copyright is intended constitutionally for the creator. Were it a right, as is so often claimed, then it is non-transferable and thus unconstitutional for an author to transfer ownership. I can not sell my right to bear arms to someone in China, or even I can not sell my right to bear arms to a citizen who has lost theres. Selling the "right", if you wish to claim it a right, to a government secured monopoly is no different.

             

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          Michael (profile), Mar 29th, 2012 @ 4:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Content creators are more important than content owners.

          Your desperation is palpable. It is delicious.

           

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      weneedhelp (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      "My daughter would be bored to tears!"

      We wouldn't want to make her cry now would we? Just keep giving her what she wants to keep her happy. I am sure she will grow up to be a responsible descent human being.

       

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      Gracey (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      If this were MY blog:

      [For God's sake man, leave the MPAA alone for a single day. Is that possible]

      NO

      [or do you plan to continue to use your blog as a vehicle for attacking the MPAA, the RIAA, lawyers,]

      YES

      ...until they all fall down.


      Or at least until there are some realistic IP regulations, not what there is now.

       

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      I was originally drawn to this web site through "My Yahoo"...

      I hear that. But these days the only way I can access it is thru My Facebook.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

      Re:

      I understand what you mean but you do realize that the biggest threat to all the technology that we all enjoy and love is IP abuse right?

       

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      DC, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:30pm

      Re:

      Just to pile on, you realize the OP has nothing to do with IP, or infringement of IP, right?

      If kids are not interested in seeing the movie, why place such stringent restrictions on it?

      Why should we leave institutions alone who spend billions of dollars trying to restrict our rights?

      Why should we leave lawyers and our government alone when they assault us daily.

      You go to movies? what century do you live in?

      Oh, and infringement is not theft ... asshole.

      Of course, there are at least three kinds of IP, all with very different issues.

      Further more, those of us interested in these various issues will not leave the **AAs alone for a single day, because they are vultures stealing from our culture ... every single day.

      And last .. you found this blog via MyYahoo? Seriously? Why on earth would you admit that in an attempt to create credibility?

       

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      Tim K (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

      Re:

      For God's sake man, leave the MPAA alone for a single day.

      It's not like they are making stuff up in order to keep talking about the *AAs. Perhaps they would leave them alone for a day if the *AAs would stop doing stupid fucking things every day...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 9:35am

      Re:

      I was originally drawn to this web site through "My Yahoo" because I thought it was TECHNOLOGY related. Obviously names can be misleading.
      Which begs the question: "Why are you still here spilling pointless bile and vitriol over everything?". I don't think there'd be too many tears if you pottered off to somewhere else more "to your technical requirements".

       

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    Dementia (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    Now if we can just deal a significant blow to the rest of the MPAA....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    is there any other 'rules' made up by the MPAA or similar that people/companies are expected to play by, simply because the MPAA say so?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

      Re:

      Expected by who? The MPAA? They have LOTS of rules that they expect the people/companies to play by because they say so. THAT is part of the problem.

       

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      That One Guy (profile), Mar 29th, 2012 @ 12:31am

      Re:

      A few, I'll go over probably the biggest as it relates to 'rules that they expect others to follow'.

      Rule 1: Everyone works for the MPAA/RIAA.

      Now this may seem to be a tad extreme, but it's really the only way you can explain how the RIAA/MPAA reacts when companies refuse to do what they tell them to do.

      If they consider them separate companies/individuals, complaining when they refuse to go out of their way to please them makes no sense. If on the other hand they consider them to be employees, then it makes perfect sense; an employee who doesn't do what they are told is a lousy employee, and they'd have reason to be upset.

      I had a few more, but I realized they were more worldviews than rules, and hence not appropriate in this entry .

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Anyone remember the PMRC?

    Yeah. Screw them too.

     

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    Cosmicrat, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Its long past time the MPAA was kicked off their high horse re ratings. They are such a detriment to creativity and commerce on so many levels.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Any comic book fan should know about the Comics Code Authority, which was, like the MPAA ratings, a self-regulating body that carried no legal weight, but was still followed by every major comics publisher in order to shake the "moral decay" label. In the 70s, the HHS worked with Marvel to run a Spider-Man story that dealt with the issue of drug abuse. Although it showed narcotics and drug abuse in an extremely negative light, it was still rejected by the CCA, simply because it dared to mention drugs at all. Stan Lee made the decision to run the comic anyway and that decision, along with the rise of comic book specialty stores in the 80s, pretty much torpedoed the Code entirely.

    Now we have a movie that deals with a real-world problem in a negative light, yet has been rejected by the MPAA's rating system. Will the decision to show the movie anyway cause as much of an upheavel as Stan Lee's decision did? Time will tell.

     

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      Liz (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 10:11pm

      Re:

      I actually searched the page for Spider-Man to see if anyone else remembered. Though the CCA was put in place due to senatorial hearings on the corruptive influence on comic books towards kids. The same arguments we'd hear later on for video games and the resulting creation of the ESRB.

      The decision by Stan Lee and Marvel Comics opened the flood gates to comic book publication and distribution for more mature materials to reach a wider (older) audience. I wonder if this decision would do the same for other productions that wish to reach a wider (younger) audience in the same way.

       

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Essentially...no different than an MPAA R rating

    An R rating allows 17 and under to enter when accompanied with an adult. When I was in high school, as an "honor student" I got to go to see Schindler's List (rated R)in the theater with a signed permission slip. Granted the permission slip was provided by the school in that case and this one provided by the theater. Also, it is in the theater's interest to allow as many as possible to see movies in their theater. The form looks like there is absolutely no verification process (easily forged). Would they accept homemade permission slips for any R rated movie? Just more reinforcement that the rating system is a joke.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 3:07pm

      Re: Essentially...no different than an MPAA R rating

      Are there any laws that require the theatres to restrict access based on the ratings or is that part voluntary on the part of the theatres too?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re: Essentially...no different than an MPAA R rating

        Not in the US.

         

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        btr1701 (profile), Mar 29th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

        Re: Re: Essentially...no different than an MPAA R rating

        > Are there any laws that require the theatres
        > to restrict access based on the ratings

        Any such law in the US would be a violation of the 1st Amendment. So, no there aren't.

         

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    Marius, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 4:22pm

    Everybody should see....

    ... the documentary "This film is not yet rated" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493459/) where a director hires detectives to find out who is actually reviewing the movies and how the decisions are made.

    They found out for example that for each review there's a priest who technically is not supposed to vote or express his opinion yet he did.

    Also, just like the guys behind Southpark found out, it's close to impossible to find out why the movie reviewed got a certain rating, unless your movie is under a big studio's "umbrella", in which case you get a detailed list of what to change or edit to get certain ratings.

     

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      Jesse Townley (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 7:35pm

      Re: Everybody should see....

      I loved that movie (& I think it's referred to in the blog post above).

      Well, "loved" as in got really pissed off. Then "loved" as in "I'm over 21 so I can watch whatever I want, even more so because I can order films from around the planet!"

      Still, it shows the MPAA ratings system to be as broken and messed up as we all thought it is, and is a shining example of how NOT to run a ratings system.

      We in the music industry faced that in the 80s w/ the PMRC. My employer, Jello Biafra, was knee-deep in the fight against them, along with Dee Snider & Frank Zappa. We fought and won the "Frankenchrist" trial in 1986-87.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 4:52pm

    Ugh! Seriously I can't understand why people keep paying any attention to the PTC. All they do is whine and complain all under the pretext of restoring "responsible and family-friendly television". They are the reason television has been so dumbed down, because in their eyes... everything is offensive.

    They want to go back to that "Golden Age" of television... you know... the times when there was prejudice, racism and bigotry on television, and women were subservient and cartoon characters smoked and endorsed cigarettes!!

     

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    Ryan Diederich, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 4:57pm

    Yeah keep it up

    Keep bashing Mike for his (very successful) blog.

    If you are so frustrated by his success, why don't you start your own blog, to further your ideas? Get some followers.

    All I know, is that content creators no longer need gatekeepers like the RIAA and MPAA. The digital age solved that problem, we are just waiting for them to die.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 7:30pm

    Bully gets R rating in Australia

    It just got an "R" rating in Australia which means it cannot be shown to school children under the Age of 18 even with parental permission,s ems like a LOT of child psychologists are more than peeved at the R rating that the government has given it. [http://video.au.msn.com/watch/video/bully-film-gets-r-rating/xlbi8u4?cpkey=6c35e6af-b41e-4806-895f- 5a67c18b1468||||]

    Looking at the movie I would recommend ANY child above 12 to see it and while unlawful fro Cinema's and/or schools to show it it's not unlawful for parents to actually show their kids it at home for example. Seems like a great movie to instantly release onto DVD world wide at same time as cinema release

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 7:37pm

      Re: Bully gets R rating in Australia

      oops, disregard that, seems our Ratings Board (govt body) still haven't rated it, and are more looking at the Canadian rating of PG than the weirdness that is the US MPAA ratings.

       

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 8:12pm

    Bully gets PG rating in British Columbia

    The PG rating works differently here than it apparently does in the "voluntary" MPAA system in the United States. The film classification board gave it that rating with the advisory "coarse language; theme of bullying". Anyone can see go to a theatre to see the movie, though, as there's no age restriction. Only a Restricted classification comes with that. That and I can't remember the last time the film classification board asked a movie maker to cut "offensive" content from a movie. It stopped playing censor here about 40 years ago.

    As for the PTC, they just strike me as a collection of busy bodies who live back in the days when climax meant a steam train rushing wildly into a tunnel. For the life of me I can't see why they have any influence at all.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 8:19pm

    "If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like Bully, nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material."

    And heaven forbid we actually require parents to be parents and look for information on that there interwebs things and make an informed decision, instead of abdicating the job of raising their children to some outside groups who use secret mystical methods to decide what deserves what rating.
    Because isn't it a parents job to know how mature their 13 yr old actually is instead of assuming some secret group who uses fluctuating standards knows whats best for 13 yr olds to see?
    Because any parent who expects a business to take more steps than they are willing to do to "protect" their special snowflake needs to have the kids removed for their own safety.

    Wow parents and the MPAA are kinda the same. They expect everyone else to bear the burden to protect their baby. They want to be able to sue to make others be responsible for things that are not their responsibility in the first place.

     

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    TDR, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Just something for you folks trying to group people together in whatever fashion and classify them all that way:

    Generalizations are always wrong. Always. Because reality is never so clean and neat and because there are always many exceptions to the supposed "rule" being discussed. So don't make generalizations. At all.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      Although I agree with you to a certain extent in principle. If you were referring to my comments regarding the terms right wing and left wing, that is why I clarified by distinguishing the difference between these terms and party affiliation. These terms are merely used to identify these opposing ideologies that exist within the political system. You can choose to not use the terms, but that doesn't mean they do not exist. If they didn't exist, we wouldn't have anything to talk about as the entire crux of the issues discussed here center around this dynamic.

       

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    Lloyd Kaufman @lloydkaufman, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    MPAA

    It would be great if the MPAA went away.They are owned and operated by the Media Cartel.Their unfair rating system is responsible for the demise of many independent movie studios.I have been making movies for 40 years for Troma Entertainment.The MPAA,in my opinion, has an obscene double standard.The big media conglomerates get away with much more than the independents.Troma Entertainment's Trey Parker's "Cannibal the Musical,"which has no nudity and only a bit of Monty Python goofy violence was disemboweled by the MPAA in order to receive an R-rating!.A few years later Trey told me that MPAA was extremely "cooperative" re SOUTH PARK's movie due to the Megaly Powerful Paramount being the distributor.In the U.S.,The MPAA made us cut more than 20mins from the original "Toxic Avenger" in order to get an R-rating;in Canada we were required to cut only about 45 seconds.In France we only had to cut 30 secs and it was rated for 13years old!!

     

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