The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon

Family Films are Killing R-rated Movies

September 14, 2009

The summer blockbusters are over and the box office results are in — family friendly films are killing R-rated movies in the pocketbook.   Only one Rated-R film, The Hangover, made the top 10 box office list.  The next highest grossing Rated-R film, The Watchmen, came in at a distant #18 on the list.  The money gap comes at a time when Hollywood is undergoing historic changes which may alter the movies we see in the future.   The top 10 movie profits of 2009 so far;

1.) Transformers 2 ($399 Million)
2.) Harry Potter 6 ($294 M)
3.) Up ($289 M)
4.) The Hangover ($270 M)
5.) Star Trek ($256 M)
6.) Monsters vs. Aliens ($198 M)
7.) Ice Age 3 ($193 M)
8.) X-Men Origins ($179 M)
9.) Night at the Museum 2 ($176 M)
10) The Proposal ($160 M)

Studio executives have three reasons to fear right now; the recession, long-term decline in attendance and a string of big star films consistently under-performing at the box office. 
At the same time, DVD sales are down 9% giving producers double trouble on both ends.  As a result, studios are scaling back new movies. It is estimated that we will see a 40% drop in new films this fall.  Warner Brothers closed two art-house labels this year and is scaling back their own new releases by nearly 20%.  Celebrities like Denzel Washington, Jim Carrey, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke are seeing their salaries slashed.  Scarlett Johansen made headlines when she was only given $250,000 to star in the much anticipated Iron Man 2.  These headlines are making celebrities nervous for their future.

Jeannine St. John Taylor, author of Culture Proof Kids, is urging the public to take advantage of the opportunity.  “As Hollywood changes we must change.  We need to support quality family films even more by hosting movies parties, buying more DVDs and spreading good movie recommendations on your Facebook and Twitter pages.  Since everyone already chats about their personal hygiene on Facebook, why not do routine movie alerts to your friends and family?“ said Jeannie St. John Taylor.

Family films have a long history of making money.  A Dove Foundation study showed that over 15-years Hollywood has issued 12 times more R-rated films than G-rated ones while the average G-rated film produced 11 times the revenue.  Profits still must compete with perception and a long standing industry mentality that value selling extremities as the preferred method of sales.   The other hurdle to cross is the much criticized “production quality” factor of many family films when compared to rated-R films that the public considers more  disciplined and artistically accomplished.

Industry experts and culture commentators will be watching closely to where current entertainment trends go.

— Article by Oregon Faith Report.  Use with credit and link.

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Discuss this article

Trevor September 14, 2009

This is good news. What I hate though is that knowing that pg-13 is a better sell than Rated-R, many writers try to get away with as much R-like material in the PG-13 as they can. It is like they are R-lite.

noname September 14, 2009

Well, do not watch R-lite films then.

David September 14, 2009

I’ve heard the saying, “Hit ’em in the pocketbook;” I love it when the “pocketbook” comes down on the side of the “good guys.”

Ally September 14, 2009

My problem is that I have a problem with some of the so-called family films. A couple of the ones listed in the top ten, above, I would not want my famly to see.

Josh September 14, 2009

It’s okay, Watchmen was a much better movie than any of these except for Up.

Harv September 15, 2009

I have not seen any of these movies. I would like to see most of them but, being laid off for most of this year, movies are a luxury I cannot afford. I am not too concerned right now about the slashed salaries of movie stars.

Suz September 15, 2009

If the celebrities are in a recession, there is no hope for humanity. Buy, buy, buy! Save a rock star today!

Bill September 17, 2009

R-rated movies have had the weakest economics for decades and it has hardly mattered–except that over the past 5-10 years we’ve seen a slight shift from R to PG-13 (yes, R-Lite, as one commentator noted).

My personal strategy for all movies, particularly PG-13 and R, is to wait for the DVD and use ClearPlay, so I can control the content and eliminate the stuff that offends me. Of course, in some cases the entire concept is offensive–kind of like most of TV!

Family-friendly films top 2009 box office; R-rated movies in decline; top ten list of 2009 movies « From the Desk of Kathryn Darden September 17, 2009

[…] of what the recent MTV Video Music Awards were trying to sell, according to the OregonFaithReport, family friendly films are doing much better than R-rated movies in box office earnings. The summer […]

Fred July 8, 2011

I have been buying movies for years now. I try to avoid any movies that have cussing. But I have found that most family movie reviews don’t mention cussing even though they’re listed as family-friendly. I have come to depend on Dove Foundation as a guide to buying movies. It has worked. I have a substantial library of movies without swearing, thanks to Dove.

Eric David Lowery February 3, 2012


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