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.