Naked bodies and exploding cars clutter most current movies, but a new report says it is the family films that generate higher profits.
Between 1988 and 1997, Hollywood produced 17 times more R-rated films than G-rated films, but G-rated films generated eight times more gross earnings and produced a 78 percent greater rate of return on investment, according to research commissioned by the Dove Foundation, a family entertainment advocacy nonprofit.
The report studied 2,380 films rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and released on 800 or more screens during the 10-year period. An average G-rated film earned $94 million gross revenues from cinemas, videos, and television during the period, compared to $24 million for a PG-rated movie and $11 million for an R-rated film.
But film critic Michael Medved says studios want respect, not money. "Hollywood is not based on pure greed," he says. "They care more about Oscar gold than the Fort Knox variety." He points to current Academy Award contenders for Best Picture—four of the five are rated R. Of all films nominated for Best Picture in the past decade, only two—Babe and Beauty and the Beast—had G ratings.
Ted Baehr, founder of the Christian Film and Television Commission, dismisses the report as "unreliable," saying movies should be judged by their redemptive value, not their MPAA rating.Demographics are the cause: Baehr says the 77 million babies born between 1979 and 1989 boosted earnings for movies such as The Lion King. Now "baby kaboom" children are becoming teenagers, and studios are serving up Scream and There's Something About Mary.
But Dove Foundation CEO Dick Rolfe insists the pendulum is swinging back to movies for broader audiences. ...1
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