Hollywood Uplink: September 2009 – Family Films are Killing R-rated Movies

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September 2009

Issue: 18:09

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Family Films are Killing R-rated Movies
Reprinted from the Oregon Faith Report

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


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