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TOPIC: Rated R

Rated R 24 Sep 2007 19:26 #16322

So this weekend i got a complaint from a woman who brought her kid to see Good Luck Chuck. It wasnt that she was upset about her kid being there (she was but only cause the movie sucked) but she was upset about other kids being there without their parents.

So whilst I am probably setting myself up for something - does the Parent have to accompany the minor INTO THE THEATER and watch the movie with them or do they just have to buy their tickets for them (which is our current way of doing things). And yes - we do know they are the parents (we are a small town)
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Re: Rated R 24 Sep 2007 19:51 #16323

  • puzzlegut
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Neither. Movie ratings are not laws, they are merely guidelines to help parents decide what they want/don't want their kids to see. At our single screen, we figure if kids are coming to the show, the parents should know what they are watching. If parents bring young kids, we try to make sure they know the film is rated R and why. Most don't seem to care anymore though. When we have people ask us about this, we tell them they can look up information on the ratings at the MPAA website.
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Re: Rated R 24 Sep 2007 20:52 #16324

  • trackfood
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Just as stated above, they are GUIDELINES. Do whatever YOU want to do, but be CONSISTENT. You can't be changing it all the time. Set your own policy and stick to it.
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Re: Rated R 24 Sep 2007 21:14 #16325

  • slapintheface
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MPAA are only guidlines but there are towns and citys that do no allow anyone under the age of 16 into a theater after 6 pm ..(regalrdless of the ratings)Places on Long Island have this law.........
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Re: Rated R 25 Sep 2007 03:37 #16326

  • revrobor
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They are correct in stating they are guidelines only. But those guidelines state "No one under 17 admitted unless ACCOMPANIED by a parent or gardian". Whether I was managing for someone else or running my own place I never allowed anyone under 17 in unless their PARTENT or GUARDIAN (not a brother or sister)went with them into the auditorium and watched the film.

Bob Allen
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Re: Rated R 25 Sep 2007 09:30 #16327

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The problem (as I see it) is that some movies serve the younger generation well, aka "3:10 to Yuma", teaching some good lessons, etc. Others, like "Halloween", are absolutely devoid of anything worthwhile, and perhaps damaging to a young mind. So, how, as a theatre owner, can you be consistant with your policy, when MPAA rates these movies equally? I kept anyone under 13 out of "Halloween", and it caused some problems with parents who feel confident in their rights to take their children into any movie they choose. I've gotten tired of the fight, and instead decided to hand out flyers whenever anyone wants to take a preteen into these hard R movies, stating why we are requesting they DON'T take them in, and giving them a free pass if they choose to trade in their tickets for another movie (for future use). At least there is no more arguing with the customer, and it's only costing me a free pass. We'll see how this works for the next few hard R's. So much for consistancy!
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Re: Rated R 25 Sep 2007 09:47 #16328

  • slapintheface
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The problem with the theater picking and choosing whats a good R and whats a bad R is we are now at the mercy of theater owners standards....Not sure I like that....
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Re: Rated R 25 Sep 2007 09:49 #16329

  • slapintheface
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The only time we are strict with mpaa is with nc17 ..Then everyone is checked at the box and at the auditorium door..
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Re: Rated R 25 Sep 2007 10:06 #16330

  • Cinemateer
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by slapintheface:
The problem with the theater picking and choosing whats a good R and whats a bad R is we are now at the mercy of theater owners standards....Not sure I like that....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Exactly. What Newbie is essentially trying to do is bypass the MPAA rating by imposing their own morals or views on a film. What is considered "damaging to a young mind" means something different to everyone. You can't say one R-rated film is worse than another because that is only your opinion. There was no way I was going to take my 9-yr old son to see "Transformers" after screening it myself no matter how much he begged, yet the auditorium was filled with very young children. It's all a matter of opinion, rating aside.

There are many PG films that have "good lessons" too, but even one or two "bad" parts make it a no-no for many parents. Besides, "good lessons" is even debatable depending on each family's values and beliefs. Some PG movies don't have any swearing, nudity, drugs, smoking, etc., so most would consider it a "good" movie, yet it may have some issues like teen pregnancy or religion that would be objectionable by some.

I wouldn't pass out flyers or give refunds or anything. Just pick a policy based on the MPAA rating system and stick with it and you can't get yourself into trouble.

If you feel that strongly about how "bad" a film is to kids, don't book it.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Rated R 26 Sep 2007 06:21 #16331

  • rodeojack
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While I generally agree with what Cinemateer says, he also makes a point that touches on Slap's objection about exhibitor censorship.

In a sense, we all exert a certain amount of our value system into our bookings... that is, unless we subscribe to an agency and keep out of it. Even then, someone is making decisions about the films we play, even if only for economic reasons.

The issue of an owner injecting his moral positions into what he books may irritate some, but they are a right of ownership.

After reading about incidences of theatre damage and crowd control problems in places that booked the "Jackass" pictures, I passed on both of them. At the time, I felt we had worked too hard on this place to have an audience trash the theatre like it was a right of passage.

When the "Star Wars" pictures were being re-released, I think we passed on a couple, because of the prices and the "single-feature only" edict. In both cases, there was plenty of other material to play.

On the other hand, I held off on "Superbad", because I had a bad feeling about that one. In the end, economics won. We ran out of decent film before we ran out of season. Ironically, I had little trouble with the patrons, even if it wasn't my kind of movie.

Even without injecting ourselves into the equation, most of us don't have enough screens to play everything that's out there anyway, so whether it's for reasons of morality, economics or available screens, most of us DO have a personal bearing on what we exhibit in our communities. On top of that, deciding who and under what conditions we let people into our businesses is, in most places, a right of the proprietor, so there's another kettle of fish for you!

I'd venture to say that it's getting to be a rare location where you can't manage to see a film you want to watch, even if the closest theatre to you doesn't have it for one reason or another.
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Re: Rated R 26 Sep 2007 06:59 #16332

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Wow, lots of interesting points, some I agree with, and some I could argue against. Anyway, I'm glad there is this forum to give some insight on so many issues I face as a theatre owner. Three years later, and I'm still Newbie!
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Re: Rated R 26 Sep 2007 11:50 #16333

  • Orpheum
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I am of the opinion that it is good business in the long run to abide by the MPAA rating code.
First, if we allow underage persons in unaccompanied we are opening up the possibility of someone getting in whose parents object. This happens because our rules become flexible, especially when tempted by the dollars they represent. It is not fun talking to the parent of a kid who saw an R-rated movie without permission and frankly this is terrible public relations...That parent will talk to others and maybe even write a letter to the editor. First and foremost parents must trust the theatre operator to ensure their childs safety and they must know that we truly have the kids best interest at heart, even when some parents apparently don't.
The second, and in my opinion the most important, reason for not allowing unaccompanied kids into the R-Rated movie is to preserve and protect the theatrical environment for the adults who actually attend the theatre to see the movie and not socialize with friends. The short term gain of kid dollars is not worth the long term loss of dollars from the adults who refuse to come back to the theatre because it is overrun by teenagers.
I saw a story a couple weeks ago about a theatre somewhere who allowed large numbers or young teens to see Halloween and a fight started in the theatre over a cell phone and spilled out into the lobby and then to the parking lot. I bet that theatre manager wished he had followed the rating code because now the parents of the decent kids will not allow them back to that theatre for any movie.
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Re: Rated R 26 Sep 2007 12:36 #16334

  • Mike
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/us/26rating.html and on airplanes they show R rated films to everyone regardless of who is in the seats. Weird huh?

Michael Hurley
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Re: Rated R 26 Sep 2007 12:38 #16335

  • rodeojack
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Good observations, Orpheum, yet there are plenty of angles to approach this from.

As has been observed here, the MPAA ratings are "guidelines"; opinions of others that you, or your community may or may not agree with. It's easy to pass the buck to them and use their ratings to keep the kids out of R-rated pictures... and I don't necessarily disagree with you on that point. On the other hand, I'd take the other side of the argument that we need to be the community's babysitter. That parents were so unaware of where their juvenile children were that the kids could find their way to an R-rated picture, get caught by the parent and the theatre owner gets a face full of righteous indignance is just too convenient. I know this is political, but I take the side of parental responsibility. I kept track of my girls, sometimes to their consternation. I also felt responsible if I learned that something was going on that I didn't know about, which was thankfully not too often... they've been great kids.

On the other hand, I do agree with the notion that adults shouldn't have to endure juvenile antics at an R picture. In our case, we enforced the ratings more for that reason. R-rated pictures required an attending adult. For other films, we didn't let kids under 12 in without an attending adult. We required the adults to accompany the kids... no going off to watch one show while Johnny and Susie are in another. We got some resistance to that, but we also had very little trouble in the auditoriums. People who tended to drop off their kids learned very quickly that we didn't go there, and they found somewhere else to try it.

The money side? Sure, we lost the income from that part of the community. On the other hand, we were frequently complimented for having the place under control.

I agree... forums like this are great places to compare notes, even if you don't agree with everything you see!
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Re: Rated R 26 Sep 2007 14:33 #16336

  • Orpheum
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Rodeo, I'm pretty sure that we agree on everything stated. I too think parents should have a good idea of what their kids are doing. From that end, I leave the kids little opportunity to deceive me by simply not allowing them access to my r-rated movies without their parent with them. It is easy to patrol my theatre when someone sneaks in....They are the small heads ducking in the front rows. Seriously though, I would like to see more theatres take an aggressive approach to this industrywide because the next step to take place if the self-imposed guidelines fail to work is to have state and federal laws replace them. That would be bad for us.
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