Only Babies Care To See G-Rated Movies Anymore, And Even They’re A Little Bored

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kids-movie-theaterThe G-rating is slipping into extinction, or at least it’s becoming synonymous with “baby movie,” according to this NPR article. Honestly, I don’t pay too much attention to ratings — the differences between a G and PG movie are so subtle to me that I wouldn’t be upset if G-ratings just disappeared altogether.


These days, with virtually all live-action blockbusters rated PG or PG-13, the G represents a ghetto largely made up of nature films and animation.


It’s not that a G rating gets in the way of making money. Pixar-Disney has figured out the formula. They’ve had the top-ranked G-rated film every year but one in the past decade — from Ratatouille and Wall-E to The Princess and the Frog and Tangled.


But other studios aiming at kids’ audiences have done just as well, if not better, without the G. Every one of the big animated franchises not made by Pixar-Disney is rated PG — including Despicable Me, Ice Age, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. And Pixar goes there, too — with the likes of The Incredibles, Brave and Up.


G may still mean suitable for general audiences, but parents seem to have decided it means suitable for babies. And that means even animation is trending away from the G.

The article mentions that elementary-aged kids tend to stay away from G-rated movies in favor of their “edgier” PG alternatives. I suppose it’s true that just like with reading, kids prefer entertainment that’s just a little above their own age bracket. That’s how we get grade school kids reading Twilight and The Hunger Games. They don’t want to read about kids their own age, they’re far more interested in that edgy, grown-up stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if my eighteen-month old is secretly reading 50 Shades of Grey.

I remember it being a big deal when I got to see my first PG-13 movie at home (The Fugitive, and images of that one-armed man kept me up at night) and my first R movie, Jackass, in the theater when I turned 17. Since then, I haven’t really paid much attention to movie ratings — even those that we watch at home with our daughter. Maybe this is because I’ve seen all of our movies, so I know that even if the Motion Picture Association deems, say, Role Models unsuitable for children, I know that the jokes in the film will go over her head so I don’t care if she’s in the room. However, there are other R movies I would never let her watch, especially those with excessive bloodshed or disturbing images.

Just like with books, I think parents need to exercise their own discretion regarding which movies their kids see. Rating systems are screwy because the whole country will never agree on what is and isn’t appropriate for certain ages. I bet I could find something in Ratatouille that could be interpreted as offensive, but I won’t, because that’s an awesome movie and BACK OFF my Ratatouille.

(photo: Karramba Production / Shutterstock)