News & Comment » Comment

Rating Game

Why is Hollywood marketing to people not old enough to see its movies?

by

comment
art14995.jpg

Hollywood knows how to market a movie. Take Iron Man 2. Grown-up kids who love comic books (guilty) are sucked in by Iron Man ads tied in with Audi and Burger King; actual kids are bewitched, too, by Iron Man toys. (There’s an Iron Man version of the classic game Operation and a cool Rocket Boost action figure, for ages 3 and up.) Add in those AC/DC-infused TV ads, and who can resist Iron Man 2?

Small problem: The film is not for ages 3 and up. It’s rated PG-13.

Now that I have kids under the age of 13, this makes me crazy. Transformers — a movie based on a toy, for crying out loud — is rated PG-13. Even Star Wars: Episode III, preceded by five installments all rated PG, came in at PG-13.

I get the arguments about how comics are dark and real — making them too kid-friendly takes off the edge. But I’m also trying to introduce my kids to grown-up culture on my timetable, not Hollywood’s. So it would be nice if they’d stop promoting PG-13 movies during SpongeBob.

I am not naive — I know that studio honchos have a pretty good idea of how many kids under 13 see the PG-13 films they make. It’s all in a spreadsheet somewhere. Hey, they’d argue, if parents are making the choice to take their little ones along to a PG-13 movie, what’s the harm? It’s all kind of a wink-wink deal — every parent for him or herself.

Here’s where I could launch into a whole diatribe about how we shouldn’t rush our kids out of childhood before they’re ready — and whether that’s precisely why so many “adults” are reliving those missing years via things like, say, movies based on comic books. But that would be lame. I just want to see Iron Man 2.

So to all you Hollywood movie producers reading, here’s a win-win: Release two versions of Iron Man 2. They do those director’s cuts for DVDs, so it shouldn’t be too hard to release two takes — the regular-strength, dark vision of reality, complete with vicious villains; and, in the theater next door, a lighter PG version, with bloodless fights and a less freaky Mickey Rourke (if they can even do that).

Hollywood makes more money, and my kids can finally see one of the movies all their toys are based on.

Add a comment