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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

More Marketing of PG-13 Movies to Little Kids

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Liz Perle has a wonderful piece at Common Sense Media about the latest efforts to market PG-13 movies to young children.

The first Transformers movie, which was rated PG-13 but lent its brand to Happy Meal toys aimed at kids 4-9. Too bad the adult meal didn’t come with a person to explain why the movie was a non-starter for kids that age.

Age-inappropriate targeting — arguably begun in 1992 when McDonald’s got scolded for pushing toys to kids for “Batman Returns” (rated PG-13 for violence) — has become a time-honored practice. This summer, the new PG-13 “Terminator Salvation” (whose predecessors were all rated R) ties in with Pizza Hut. Subway is shilling “Land of the Lost,” and Burger King backs “Star Trek,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” and “G.I. Joe.”

Children understandably expect that if there is a toy or game associated with a film, it is suitable for them to see. Parents need to be very clear that just because a movie is marketed to them is no reason to expect that they will be seeing it.

  • Pat Dillon

    I totally agree with all these comments, but I think part of the problem is the MPAA rating system. I’m 15 years old and I was shocked when I found out Zack and Miri Make a Porno had to fight for an R due to sex, but The Dark Knight had no fights for a PG-13. Personally, I think that violence should be the part of a rating that should be seen harder. Personally I would have rated Dark Knight R with no questions. Heath Ledger’s Joker was brilliant but very scary. After seeing Zack and Miri Make a Porno, I thought, yes it is an R, but should have had no questions.

  • Vince Lugo

    You include Star Trek in the list like it’s a bad thing. Personally, I’d love to get my niece hooked on Star Trek (and she’s already seen Disney’s pirate movies with her mom, so what’s the harm?). I do agree, however, that marketing Terminator to that age group is pushing it, to say the least.

  • Steve Bodiford

    Dear Nell,
    Thank you for the article. I’m actually promoting your site on my Facebook page, in the note section, as I have many friends who are parents and love taking their children to the movies.
    The above comment by Mr. Lugo somewhat surmises the idea behind the article. He feels Star Trek should not be on the list, etc;. While I know all parents have their individual taste…and I grew up on Shatner and Nimoy in the 60’s…The current Trek movie is not something I want to get my daughter hooked on because the Writer and Director can’t stay away from the brief periods of sexuality offered in the movie.
    It’s pervasive of Hollywood to always stick an enticing carrot in their movie moments that have no business or reason to be in the periphery of the young person. I am reminded of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. When the other schools arrived we witness Ron observing the girls as they walk in. Makes sense…typical boy…however,…camera pans to the derriere’s as they walk by, showing the swish and sway…in other words…the intent of Ron’s gaze.
    This article bears out and confirms both our distrust and mandates our vigilance towards any movie marketed for our children.
    Thank you for all you do to be helpful to that end.
    Sincerely,
    Steve Bodiford

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you so much, Mr. Bodiford. I will be posting a new comment on a related issue this week and I hope you will take a look at it and comment on it.

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