April 20, 2014

Tag Archives: Motion Picture Association of America film rating system

“Spring Breakers” Amuses – Weekend Box Office

No matter what you think of the film, the $30.5 million debut of Olympus Has Fallen this weekend is very good news for those who want their action films to be R-rated.
With Arnold, Sly, and Jason all flaming out and only the terrible A Good Day To Die Hard opening well, we needed an original R-rated action film to reestablish their viability. I may be forgetting something, but this this is among the top R-rated action openings for a non-sequel since the $50 million debut of Wanted back in June 2008 (possible exceptions: Inglorious Basterds which opened with $37 million in August 2009 and the sci-fi drama The Book of Eli which debuted with $32 million in early 2010).
The film is easily Film District’s biggest debut ever, with a solid A- from Cinemascore and a strong 3.0x weekend multiplier. The concept is a pretty obvious winner, so obvious that I’m amazed it hasn’t been done before (yet it’s only the first of two, with White House Down opening this summer). The obvious appeal of the narrative plus a game cast of recognizable players (Gerald Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, etc.).
It’ll take a hit next weekend from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but it should recover due to the fact that it’s one of the most insanely violent R-rated action films this side of Starship Troopers and thus will provide the kind of carnage that a PG-13 G.I. Joe movie cannot. Hopefully this finally gets the undervalued Antoine Fuqua onto the various ‘hot lists’ next time a studio goes hunting for a tent pole director.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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“Ted” and “Magic Mike” big box office opening

HollywoodNews.com: This weekend represented a shining example of the two best trends in mainstream moviegoing this year. As I wrote (here and here), we’ve seen a real upswing in both mid-to-low-budget mainstream fare that aren’t especially ‘tentpole-ish’ as well as a huge upswing in the number of R-rated films being released by the major studios.
As such, two of the four wide releases this weekend were both R-rated and all four were relatively small-scale and in 2D. That they mostly debuted to blockbuster numbers is an encouraging sign that not every movie need be a $150 million fantasy genre franchise entry. The top film of the weekend is also the best mainstream picture of the summer, as Seth MacFarlane’s Ted (review) debuted to a massive $54 million.
That’s the third-best debut for an R-rated comedy behind the $57 million opening of Sex and the City and the $87 million Fri-Sun debut of The Hangover part II. Among non-sequel/spin-off R-rated comedies, it topped the $44 million record debut of The Hangover and is the is among the top-ten best R-rated debuts of all-time. This is a massive win for all involved, bringing Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane serious film-making clout, further confirming that Mark Wahlberg is an actual ‘put butts in the seats’ movie star and giving Universal something to laugh about.
Speaking of Wahlberg, this is his second biggest opening behind the $68 million debut of Planet of the Apes back in 2001, and it needs only cross $133 million to supplant The Departed as his third-highest grossing film (Planet of the Apes and The Perfect Storm earned $180 million and $182 million respectively)
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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Prometheus is a mid-level version of what it is

HollywoodNews.com: Come what may, Prometheus is a mid-level version of what it is. By that, I mean it is, in the end, a somewhat generic Alien/The Thing-type horror film. It is mostly science-fiction only in that it takes place in the future and involves inter-stellar travel. Its ‘big ideas’ can be summed up in two sentences, and they are not only not-revolutionary but recognizable to probably 90% of the viewing audience. It has some truly wonderful visuals and it’s arguably worth seeing once purely for some of the images it creates. But as a full-blown movie it doesn’t quite work. Like Super 8, it gets tied up with horror elements in its last half that its filmmakers don’t truly care about and feel like a commercial concession.
Like last summer’s botched 80s-Spielberg homage, Prometheus takes advantage of a genre audience so worn down by threatened reboots and remakes that it seems almost groundbreaking that this film is merely a glorified rip-off of earlier genre entries of this nature. While advertised as an original science-fiction epic with tangential ties to the existing Alien franchise, it really is a bigger budgeted and better cast variation of that specific template. Despite must-see production values and some genuinely compelling imagery, it’s somewhat closer in quality to The Thing 2011 than The Thing 1982
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memo
Photos by 20th Century Fox
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Kristen Stewart talks wanting to go topless

HollywoodNews.com: Kristen Stewart isn’t against pushing the limits which is apparently why she wanted to go topless in one of her recent movies.
Stewart recently opened up about how she wanted to go topless in her latest film, ‘On the Road,’ states People. “I love pushing. I love scaring myself. I’ve always wanted to get as close to an experience as I could,” Stewart said about playing a sexually adventurous character.
Stewart plays the role of the first wife of Jack Kerouac’s legendary friend, Neal Cassady.
Will you check out the film?
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Image by PR Photos

“The Avengers” sunk “Battleship” at the Box Office

HollywoodNews.com: Most box office write-ups written today or tomorrow will exclaim that ‘The Avengers sunk Battleship!’. The truth is that Battleship (review) sunk itself. The film was terrible, a mishmash of a thousand prior blockbuster films all meshed into a generic template that seemed like producers checking off a list of ingredients on a scientific formula.
More importantly, the marketing accurately conveyed this and audiences decided to either stay home or see something else. The assumption of global success, based on an arbitrary connection to a board game and $220 million worth of special effects surrounded by a stale concoction of used parts, was cynicism of the highest order. The fact domestic audiences soundly rejected it has to be cause for optimism. With John Carter and now Battleship (pity Taylor Kitsch, who stars in both but bears little responsibility), it appears that movie studios run the risk of indeed going broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
Photo courtesy Universal Picturs
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The Expendables 2 are back! Track ‘em, find ‘em, kill ‘em

HollywoodNews.com: They’re back! and it’s time to reload! Download the trailer for this summer’s highly anticipated sequel, THE EXPENDABLES 2, featuring more action (and explosions) than ever before! Everyone is expendable and the crew has a plan. Track ‘em, find ‘em, kill ‘em.

The Expendables are back and this time it’s personal…
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job.
The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time ? six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother.
THE EXPENDABLES 2 will be in theaters everywhere August 17th, 2012
Official Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/#!/Expendables2
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheExpendablesMovie
Official Website: http://www.theexpendables2film.com/
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Jennifer Love Hewitt talks photoshopping of her breasts

HollywoodNews.com: Jennifer Love Hewitt is definitely known by some for her breasts, but apparently Lifetime didn’t want them to be the center of attention for her new show ‘The Client List.’
On promotional ads for the show, Hewitt’s chest is clearly photoshopped to appear smaller, which has the actress confused, states UsMagazine.com. “Somebody sent me a copy of the photograph, and I was like, ‘Um, what happened?’ I’m not quite sure what’s going on, but apparently somebody wanted me to have a boob reduction,” Hewitt commented.
It is rumored that Lifetime wanted to stay fairly tame with the ads that originally showed off quite a bit of cleavage.
What do you think about the change?
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Image by PR Photos

NO MORE BULLYING: 13 million kids get bullied every year

HollywoodNews.com: Today is Twitter Tuesday! Dedicate your Tweets to Stop Bullying. NO MORE BULLYING: 13 million kids get bullied every year. It’s time to take a stand. RT to STOP Bullying. #BULLYMOVIE
“BULLY,” the highly anticipated anti-bullying documentary (in theaters March 30th), has sparked a protest and now a movement, as a number of major movie stars, theater owners, and Members of Congress have joined forces to protest the film’s R rating. In a clear triumph for the film, Gerry Lopez, CEO of AMC Theaters, one of the most prominent theater chains in the world, spoke out against the R-Rating, saying, “To ‘automatically default’ BULLY is a mistake. Automatic default to a rating, a category, a genre… doesn’t matter, is a mistake. The message, the movie and its social relevance defy that kind of formulaic, conventional thinking. AMC will show this movie, and we invite our guests to engage in the dialogue its relevant message will inevitably provoke.”
Mr. Lopez is one of almost 300,000 people to get behind a petition started by a junior in high school named Katy Butler. Ms. Butler, who has experienced severe bullying herself, started the petition on Change.org after the MPAA ruled by one vote that “Bully” should receive an R rating due to six swear words. When Mr. Lopez asked one of his sons about the film, curious as to whether the debate had reached the demographic the film is geared toward, his son had already signed onto Ms. Butler’s petition.
The support from Hollywood has been on a steady increase since Katy Butler launched her petition. On March 20, Meryl Streep and her daughter Mamie Gummer will co-host a screening of the film with and David Boies, one of the two attorneys responsible for overturning Proposition 8 in California, and his daughter, Mary Boies. The screening will be held in New York City.
Johnny Depp has also signed on to lend his support; Ellen DeGeneres has devoted time to the film on her television show; and in the sports arena, Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, has also added his voice to the movement. Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper came on board as news anchor partners, hosting a screening in New York City last week, that was presented by Bing, the search engine from Microsoft. In addition to the screening in NYC, Bing will also be supporting the [...]

Bully: Harvey Fights Back – Bully to be released unrated

HollywoodNews.com: After a recent plea to the MPAA by BULLY teen Alex Libby and The Weinstein Company (TWC) Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein failed – by one vote – to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30.
Furthering proof that the R rating for some language is inappropriate for a film that’s meant to educate and help parents, teachers, school officials and children with what’s become an epidemic in schools around the country, the fight against the rating continues on. The outpour of support by politicians, schools, parents, celebrities and activists for the film’s mission to be seen by those it was made for – children – has been overwhelming. Nearly half a million people have signed Michigan high school student and former bullying victim Katy Butler’s petition on Change.org to urge the MPAA to lower the rating.
Said BULLY Director Lee Hirsch, “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it’s up to the theaters to let them in.”
“The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what’s right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves. We’re working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country,” said TWC President of Marketing Stephen Bruno.

For parents or teachers who are looking for more information or who may have concerns about showing children a movie unrated by the MPAA, please read Common Sense Media’s rating details of the film here: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/bully.
“While it’s often heartbreaking and deals with tough issues like suicide, the movie addresses bullying in a frank and relatable way that is age appropriate for teens and relevant for middle schoolers if an adult is present to guide the discussion,” said James P. Steyer, Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media. “The MPAA’s ratings system is inadequate when it comes looking at a movie’s content through the lens of its larger thematic issues. [...]

BULLY News: Powerhouses David Boies and Ted Olson spoke out against the MPAA’s R rating of the documentary film BULLY

HollywoodNews.com: Last night at The Paley Center for Media legal powerhouses David Boies and Ted Olson spoke out against the MPAA’s R rating of the documentary film BULLY, at a special screening. In front of a high-profile audience including cohost Meryl Streep and legendary activist Billie Jean King, Boies stated, “How ridiculous and unfair and damaging it is to have a film of this power and importance that is being censored by a rating system that has got simply no rational basis. You can kill kids, you can maim them, you can torture them and still get a PG13 rating, but if they say a couple of bad words you blame them. I hope, for heaven’s sake, that they find some rational basis before we have to sue them to revise the rating system.”
Olson, who served as President George W. Bush’s Solicitor General, followed Boies in agreement and stated, “Young people can be tough on one another but young people are also extraordinarily compassionate. And when they see the damage that is done to their brothers and sisters, they will speak out. They will decide to be courageous and say, ‘Don’t do that,’ or come to the defense of someone who’s being picked on. That’s why it’s important that everyone in America see BULLY to talk about it, but in particular, the young people. So Dave was right, this is an irrational decision, and I’ve heard it defended as ‘[The MPAA] really can’t do anything about it because if we make an exception here, they’ll be all sorts of people lined up wanting to have exceptions made with respect to their movies.’ What a reason for not doing something. So they better shape up, or here we come.”
The evening included appearances by Martha Stewart, Tiki Barber, Mariel Hemingway, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, and others. Attendees came to show their support for the film, which is being distributed by The Weinstein Company, and congratulate the film’s award winning director, Lee Hirsch, and producer, Cynthia Lowen, as well as cast member Kelby Johnson and activist Katy Butler, who started the petition to change the rating on Change.org which now has almost half a million signatures: http://www.change.org/petitions/mpaa-dont-let-the-bullies-win-give-bully-a-pg-13-instead-of-an-r-rating?utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert

About “BULLY”: Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of [...]

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