The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAAP and the National Association of Theatre Owners have come out victorious in
a lawsuit that ludicrously claimed that tobacco imagery in films rated G, PG or PG-13 causes 200,000 children every year to become cigarette smokers and 64,000 people to die as a result.
Now U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed an attempt to hold major film studios and theater owners legally responsible.
The legal action by Timothy Forsyth claimed that the industry's film-ratings practices amounted to negligence, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, false advertising, unfair competition and nuisance.
In response, Hollywood argued that ratings merely reflect opinions about what's suitable for children and compelling them to give R ratings to anything found socially unacceptable could apply to films depicting activity like alcohol use, gambling,
contact sports, high-speed driving and so forth.
The judge wrote:
Forsyth insists that a rating less stringent than R is a representation that 'the film is suitable for children under seventeen unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. The ratings plainly make no such representations. Rather, the PG and PG-13 ratings
caution parents that material in such movies may be inappropriate for children. More fundamentally, the ratings reflect the consensus opinion of CARA board members. As such, neither intentional nor negligent misrepresentation claims are tenable as
The judge also noted that Forsyth also failed to prove his other claims.
Max Steel is a 2016 UK / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Stewart Hendler.
Starring Ben Winchell, Josh Brener and Maria Bello.
Max Steel is based on the popular Mattel kids action figure line of toys. While the film was developed for the family friendly PG rating release, the MPAA ended up giving the movie a more restrictive PG-13 rating for some sci-fi action violence.
This could have a financial impact for a film trying to attract audiences of younger children, so the studio appealed the rating. However the Classification and Ratings Administration have now turned down the appeal and upheld the PG-13 rating.
It's probably a bit late for remedial scissor work as the movie is scheduled to open in the US on 14th October.
Sausage Party is a 2016 USA animation comedy adventure by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon.
Starring Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd.
An animated movie about one sausage's quest to discover the truth about his existence.
The film was cut to avoid an MPAA NC-17 rating. On Howard Stern's Sirius XM show, Seth Rogen discussed what he and his colleagues had to do to avoid an MPAA NC-17 rating. Among other things:
Scale back plans to depict a pita with a hairy scrotum during the movie's spectacular eight-minute long orgy scene.
We submitted it and we first got an NC-17 rating back. Our fear was that it would create this big negotiation process where we had to butcher the whole thing...we probably added six things into the orgy that we were like, okay, these are our sacrificial
lambs, they are the chips that we're willing to lose, and we lost like, an eighth of one of them.
There is a pita bread, and you see his ball sack in the end of the orgy, and it had hair on it, and they asked that we remove the hair from the pita bread's ball sack. So we digitally shaved the pita bread's ball sack and removed the hair from it.
Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI is a 1986 US slasher by Tom McLoughlin.
With Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke and David Kagen.
Tommy goes to a graveyard to get rid of Jason's body, but he accidentally brings him back to life. Jason wants revenge! Tommy must defeat Jason once and for all!
Heavily cut for a US R rating. The same version was passed 18 and later 15 without further BBFC cuts
Director Tom McLoughlin said in an interview marking the 30th Anniversary of the films release:
I'm hoping someone will come across a film vault one day and see a reel for some movie like Flashdance, put it in, and realize it's all Jason kill footage. I found a VHS tape years later containing footage I know was cut
from the movie. The MPAA fucked my film, as they did most of the Friday movies. We sent our film back to the MPAA 9 times before they finally approved it. Paramount just wanted to get it out and said to keep trimming to avoid an X rating.
Cinema Blend interviewed Nicholas Stoller, director of the upcoming Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and observed a couple of comments about the attitude of the MPAA towards dicks in R rated movies.
Stoller shared some knowledge that he picked up during the making of his directorial debut, Forgetting Sarah Marshall:
I never had any issues with MPAA. If it's R rated [targeted], you can basically do anything. You just can't show erect penis. This is the thing with a penis (holds out hand with fingers curled, and slowly flattens his palm), it's like R, R, R, R, NC-17.
Including flopping. If you want to flop, you flop left to right, not up and down. That's an actual thing.
Stoller also observed:
The two movies I noticed that have erect penises that are R are the South Park movie and Scary Movie , but the penises are detached. You don't see them attached to a body.
The MPAA representing Hollywood's major studios along with theatre owners are contesting a lawsuit ludicrously calling
for an R rating for children's movies that depict smoking.
The MPAA notes that it doesn't want to be held hostage to any misguided morality play that seeks to force them not to have any movies with tobacco imagery rated G, PG or PG-13.
Court papers have been filed asking a judge to reject a putative class action that blames them for children becoming addicted to nicotine.
Anti-smoking campaigners have flagged such films as Dumb and Dumber To , Transformers: Age of Extinction and Iron Man 3 as among those featuring tobacco-related imagery that are being seen by young audiences.
The Hollywood defendants warned the judge that, soon, they might be forced to give R ratings to all films that depict alcohol use, gambling, contact sports, bullying, consumption of soda or fatty foods, or high-speed driving.
Yoga Hosers is a 2016 USA comedy horror fantasy by Kevin Smith.
Starring Johnny Depp, Austin Butler and Stan Lee.
Set in the Great White North of Canada, YOGA HOSERS tells the story of Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie - two teenage besties from Winnipeg who spend their lives doing Yoga with their faces in their phones, 'Liking' or 'Not Liking' the real world
around them. But when these Sophomore girls are invited to a Senior party by the school hottie, the Colleens accidentally uncover an ancient evil, long buried beneath the Manitoba earth.
The film was originally awarded an MPAA R rating for some sexual content in February 2016. Now the rating has been downgraded to PG-13.
The Director tweeted said that the MPAA had changed the rating from R to PG-13 on the eve of his scheduled appeal screening, which was subsequently cancelled.
Smith announced his intent to appeal last week and claimed the reasoning was for a cartoony drawing of testicles on a book cover. Nothing will have to be removed from the film, according to Smith. He did not quite say that no cuts had been made,
so presumably he had somehow obscured the offending book cover.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has opposed draft revenge porn legislation that is being considered in Minnesota. The MPAA
said the Minnesota draft law could restrict the publication of items of legitimate news, commentary, and historical interest .
Revenge porn refers to the sharing of intimate images after the end of a relationship, but the definition is being 'stretched' a broader sense to describe any publication of explicit images without consent, for example when private photographs of a
celebrity are leaked online.
Opponents of revenge porn legislation have argued that some of the new laws are too broad in scope, and that existing copyright, communication and harassment laws sufficiently cover the subject. 'Intent to harass'
The MPAA, which represents six major Hollywood film studios, said the Minnesota law could limit the distribution of a wide array of mainstream, constitutionally protected material . It cited images of Holocaust victims and prisoners at Abu Ghraib
as examples of images depicting nudity which are shared without the subjects' consent.
The MPAA called for the legislation to clarify that images shared without consent only broke the law if they were shared with an intent to harass . In a statement, the organisation said:
The MPAA opposes online harassment in all forms. While we agree with the aims... we are concerned that the current version of the bill is written so broadly that it could have a chilling effect on mainstream and constitutionally-protected speech.
Grimsby is a 2016 UK action comedy by Louis Leterrier.
Starring PenÚlope Cruz, Rebel Wilson and Isla Fisher.
The BBFC asked for category cuts to achieve a 15 rating. The BBFC was a little secretive and just noted that the cuts were to a couple of scenes of crude humour.
It seems that according to a video interview with Sacha Baron Cohen that the film also suffered category cuts in the US to achieve an R rating. It seems that censors from the MPAA were convinced that an 'elephant scene' fell into the category of
bestiality. (But surely bestiality would need to be cut at any level and wouldn't be suitable at NC-17 either).
Cohen says that he challenged the MPAA's definition of bestiality and also cut 6 minutes from a 9 minute scene. He suggested that the cuts were a ploy to obtain the scene he wanted and that the cut material had been added just to be offered as cuts in
It will be interesting to see if both the US and UK cuts end up being the same version.
US film censors, the Motion Picture Association of America, the major studios, and the National Association of
Theatre Owners are the targets of a proposed class action lawsuit that if accepted by judge and not barred by the First Amendment, calls for all movies to be rated at least R if they feature tobacco imagery.
The lawsuit claims that since at least 2003, Hollywood has known that tobacco imagery in films rated G, PG, and PG-13, is one of the major causes of children becoming addicted to nicotine. Disney, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and
Warner Bros. are said to have been given recommendations from health experts at leading universities throughout the country as well as the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the American Public Health Association, and yet are
allegedly continuing to stamp their seal of approval on films meant for children that feature tobacco imagery.
Among the films cited are Spectre , Dumb and Dumber To , Transformers: Age of Extinction , X-Men: Days of Future Past , The Amazing Spider Man 2 , The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug , Iron Man 3, Men in Black 3 and The Woman in Black .
The lawsuit demands a declaratory judgment that the industry's film ratings practices amount are negligent, false and misleading and a breach of fiduciary and statutory duties. The lawsuit also aims for an injunction where no films featuring tobacco
imagery can be given G, PG or PG-13 ratings.
Michael Moore's latest film, Where To Invade Next , is a documentary journey across the globe to
borrow traits from different countries for America to use.
Cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse, with cinemas in 13 states, has decided to relax its R-rating policy for the film. CEO Tim League said in a statement that the company can't believe the film was ever rated R in the first place:
For the first time ever, we are relaxing our 18-and-up age policy for one film. Why? We simply don't believe Where to Invade Next should have received an R rating from the MPAA. We don't want that rating and our own age policies to get in the way of
teens and their parents seeing this film. So, for the run of the Where to Invade Next we will allow teens age 15 and up on their own...yes, it's that important.
Tim League, who is also one of the distributors for Where To Invade Next, insisted that this decision wasn't about selling tickets. Instead, it's about making sure that young American voters get to see the film's message.
Michael Moore had previously gone above and beyond in his attempt to get Where To Invade Next's R-rating rescinded. He wanted it to receive a PG-13 so that it had a better chance to succeed at the box office. However, last year, he lost his appeal after
he refused to make any cuts to the film, which the MPAA decreed were necessary.
The MPAA decided to provide Where To Invade Next with an R-rating because of its use of language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity. But Tim League decided to elaborate on these offences, revealing that Where To Invade Next
includes some use of swear words, students enjoying free college education, children eating healthy food in school, Italians on holiday, bloody violence in American prisons, and a naked German man leaving a hot tub.
Deadpool is a 2016 Canada / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Tim Miller.
Starring Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and Ryan Reynolds.
Uncut and R rated in the US. Banned in China
Deadpool has been rated R by the US film censors at the MPAA. Now there is little hype suggesting that the once scene in the film had to be toned down to achieve that R rating.
The director Time Miller recently held a Q&A session at a Los Angeles fan event where he offered some details on some of the things they had to cut. One particular fight has an extended version with a couple more beats of violence that I liked,
but the biggest scene they had to pare down was a bar scene. he explained:
In particular, there was a bar scene that was too vulgar for even the R-rated Deadpool . That bar scene was particularly mean and offensive to a lot of people because T.J. [Miller] and Ryan [Reynolds] got together and wrote a version of the scene that we
just said, 'Oh my God, this is too far.' I mean there were so many people offended, it would have really been - we couldn't do it. It was just mean and so I said, 'No. We don't have to do that.'
The director added that fans shouldn't expect the full version of this scene to show up on the impending Blu-ray and DVD release. T.J. Miller added that they did get carried away with this offensive stretch of dialogue and said:
We did kind of go back and forth and it just got more and more hateful. Ryan's a very, very good improvisor, and he's very funny and, like, one of the sweetest guys. It was very... heavy duty. There were some riffs that I don't think - 'You look like a
trucker took a shit on your shoulders and then shaped ears onto it.' So it's like, we're missing some of those things.
Director T.J. Miller revealed that there would be a Deadpool director's cut to be released this year, which would even be more raw than what fans will see onscreen in the current US R rated/UK 15 rated theatrical version. Miller commented:
[The Director's Cut's] going to be even more raw, that's pretty heavy duty.
Deadpool director Tim Miller was on hand for Collider's IMAX preview screening of the film, and during the Q&A there was talk about deleted material and a possible director's cut. Miller's response was that of a compromise, as while there are some
deleted scenes that are coming to the DVD and Blu-ray, his final say on a director's cut went as follows:
I don't wanna be all Joss Whedon on you, but no there's not [a director's cut... There are some deleted scenes that have some extra stuff, but I'm pretty happy with this cut. I like it.
The Boy and the Beast is a 2015 Japan action animation fantasy by Mamoru Hosoda.
Starring Bryn Apprill, Kumiko As˘ and Morgan Berry.
Strong language has been cut differently for the dubbed and subtitled versions for US release.
US: The dubbed version is MPAA PG-13 rated for some violence.
US: The sub-titled version was PG-13 rated for some violence and language.
The MPAA noted:
EDITED VERSION. CONTENT IS DIFFERENT FROM PG-13 RATED DUBBED VERSION, BULLETIN NO. 2410 (2/3/16).
The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children): When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he's taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff,
rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who's been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to
throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely family will be put to ultimate test-a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage.
31 is a 2016 USA horror thriller by Rob Zombie.
Starring Malcolm McDowell, Elizabeth Daily and Meg Foster.
31 tells the story of five carnies in 1976 kidnapped on the morning of Halloween and held hostage in a remote industrial Hell. While trapped, they are forced to play a violent game called 31. The mission is to survive 12 hours against an endless gang of
Director Rob Zombie is running afoul of national ratings body, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), who, after reviewing two cuts of his latest movie 31 , refuse to give it anything lower than an NC-17 rating. Zombie commented:
Well, after two tries through the MPAA, our rating on 31 remains NC-17. Maybe three is the charm to get an R rating. Why R, you ask? Well, because your local theater will not show an NC-17. Even though you are a fucking adults... things much be censored
for your enjoyment.
The MPAA have said the current cut of 31 features sadistic graphic violence, bizarre sexuality/nudity, pervasive disturbing images and some strong language.
The film is scheduled to premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, followed by a theatrical release in February or March.