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PUBLIC FORUM FILM STUDIOS HAVE REASONS FOR MAKING R-RATED MOVIES.

The unasked and unanswered question regarding the profitability of R- rated films regards their initial production budgets and the amount spent distributing and promoting them.

The average R-rated film is usually a low (under $2 million) to very low ($200,000 or less) independent film that receives minimum theatrical release and more often than not ends up going directly to video. It is the extremely rare film like ``The Blair Witch Project'' that costs less than a million dollars to produce, promote, and distribute and in turn brings in more than $150 million dollars (making ``Blair Witch'' the single most profitable non-porn film in history, easily beating the 40-to-1 profit ratio of another R-rated film, the original ``Halloween'').

A higher percentage of G and PG films are big studio productions with large budgets, big-name casts, and major distributors. Most R films are low-budget, small studio/independent productions with no hope of a major national/international release; these films make virtually all their money through direct-to-video sales. Small wonder the ``average'' G or PG film grosses more money.

- Buzz Dixon

Chatsworth

It is a shame that so many good movies are rated R. If it were not for one scene, word or action, these otherwise good movies might escape the R rating.

Private agencies, which review movies for moral content, sadly note that they must rate certain good movies as objectionable simply because of one element. These objectionable elements often contribute little or nothing to the story.

A little consideration on the part of the movie creators to avoid the R rating can make more good movies available to all of us. (And increase profits).

- William H. Link

Northridge

R-rated movies are frequently fine for adults and young people to view ``except for just that one part.'' However, the impact of this ``one part'' was ably demonstrated by one wise father who prepared milk shakes for his family one evening, and in full view of his family dropped one house fly into the mix.

Upon their refusal to partake, the father responded that he didn't understand because the milk shakes were fine, with the exception of ``just that one part.''

My church strongly discourages those of all ages from viewing R-rated movies. In such uncivil times as these, of not just Columbines, but of commuting mothers driven by road rage to shoot and kill each other, it would behoove us all to take a moment to consider the potential impact of ingesting this attractively packaged filth, even in small doses.

Just make the decision to stop going to R-rated movies. The movie industry will get the message.

- Melissa Scribner

West Hills

Studios stick to R-rated films because that is where the money is. Sex and violence are good for business, but not accessible to the biggest movie going fans, the teen audience. Studies prove that teens see the most films. This study only proves one thing, numbers do lie.

Theaters came under fire in the last few years for selling R-rated movie tickets to teen-agers under 17. The kids were not admitted to the theaters without parents, even if the parents purchased the tickets for the R-rated feature. This is what happens outside the theater. So, of course, enterprising teens found a way around the system. Teens buy a ticket to a G, PG or PG-13 movie, then walk into the R feature they want to see at the multiplex. The employees at the multiplex do not police the interior theater doors. They know these kids are their bread and butter.

The result is that movies like ``Mission: Impossible 2'' have inflated sales figures, and R-rated films have lower (and inaccurate) sales figures. A true study for box office revenue would be a number count in the theater, not ticket sales. The rating system will make many movies into blockbusters, whether they rate it or not.

- Kathy Holley

Northridge

Since when is the creation of art about making money? When did the art form of movie-making become focused on income rather than product, as is the case in professional sports today?

Would you like to stack up your quantity of the 10 highest grossing movies of all time (which aren't even adjusted for inflation), against the quality of the 10 biggest Oscar winning movies of all time?

As I write this, the current playing movie with the highest gross, ``Scary Movie,'' is R-rated. Likewise the overall most well-made, and entertaining movie currently showing, ``Shaft.'' Perhaps you could let the executives who run the movie-making operations worry about their grosses and profits; something they are paid to do.

Also allow them their First Amendment choices as you wish to have yours.

When did it become in the public interest of the average American citizen for the media to watch out for the business profits within any industry? Perhaps you could focus on more important R's, as in Ridiculous tax rates, Rape of our women and children, Restrictions on the pursuit of happiness, Repressive right-wing 5-4 Supreme Court decisions and on, and on, and on.

Try to regain your focus, and the true original purposes of what the American ``watchdog'' media should be all about.

- James Hamilton Moore

Burbank

I am a senior at Birmingham High School and have just recently become old enough to buy a ticket to view an R-rated film.

As a young adult, I do not find the rating system valuable when selecting a movie. I am much more interested in the content of the film, rather than its meaningless rating. However, the rating system may be useful for concerned parents, who wish to be selective in the movies they allow their children to see.

I believe the movie industry will continue to make a variety of rated movies to try and attract audiences of all ages and interests. The most complex problem with the movie industry is the difficulty that the theaters have when trying to enforce who sees what movie. Once a ticket has been purchased at the front box office, one can watch any movie of their choice, R-rated or not.

- Amy Stark

Reseda

To film his great epics and romantic love stories, my late relative, Sir David Lean, did not need R ratings or to lower his standards and morals.

We need to get the businessmen out of Hollywood and bring back the true creative pros.

I'm 37 and miss the great character actors. It seems Hollywood is now living the film ``Logan's Run'' and kills off actors if they reach 30. They're just beginning to bloom at 30.

- Kim Tangye

Encino

Do ratings influence which movies we watch? Most definitely. We do not watch R-rated movies or worse. In fact, we don't even like PG-13 movies.

These types of movies - which are usually concerned with and glamorize contention, violence, pornography, drugs and declining moral standards - devastate relationships in families and the nation as a whole, degenerate values and morals, and weaken our society. Virtue is scorned or ridiculed or defined as confining and unenlightened. Sin is called misbehavior and rationalized to make it accepted and then embraced.

Our values are deteriorating before our eyes. Nobody stands for anything.

It is naive of us to think that we can continually watch blatant immorality and that it will have no effect on us. If you sat in cow manure you would eventually smell like it. Some of us would rather not partake of the rubbish.

- Allan and Karla Wutkee

Camarillo

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Photo:

Mark Hamill, left, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford starred in ``Star Wars,'' which ranks as the highest-grossing PG-rated movie at $460.9 million.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 22, 2000
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