Study on PG-13 and R-rated movies questions MPAA rating system, says number of scenes with violence, sex indistinguishable

By Daniel S Levine,

Another study of Hollywood blockbusters is questioning the effectiveness of the Motion Picture Association of America’s rating system. The latest study, performed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center and University of Pennsylvania, shows that the number of violent acts and scenes with alcohol and sex is virtually the same in PG-13 and R-rated movies.

The study was published Monday and shows that Hollywood is still obsessed with violence and sex, just like it was in 1985 and that the industry has only succeeded in lowering depictions of tobacco use, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

Researchers looked at 390 hit films from 1985 to 2010 and found that 89.7 percent of these had violence and 81.5 percent had sex scenes. Although these numbers stayed nearly the same throughout the decades, tobacco use dropped from 68 percent to 21.4 percent.

The study paid particular attention to see when sex, violence, tobacco use and alcohol are mixed in these blockbusters. That happened 77.4 percent of the time. It also found that there was practically no statistical difference between PG-13 and R-rated movies.

“Our findings raise serious concerns about the effectiveness of the MPAA rating system for allowing potentially harmful co-occurring content in youth-accessible films,” the study noted.

The study comes just a few weeks after researchers supported by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found thatPG-13 movies today are more violent than R-rated films.

Meanwhile, Deadline reports that the Parents Television Council has a new study that found there is little to no difference between the number of violent acts in network TV shows and cable shows.

Network shows are “consistently underrated graphically-violent content as appropriate for 14-year-old children, even though similar content on the cable networks was rated for mature audiences only,” PTC said.

image: Paramount


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