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Porno gets rated, under 17's get Porno

KevinSmith.jpgYesterday's story that the new comedy from Kevin Smith, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, was getting an adults only NC-17 rating instead of the R that Smith was aiming for as was in his contract with the studio for making the film.

Well today we hear that the appeal to the MPAA has been successful and that the NC-17 has been lifted and an R rating granted in the U.S.

What surprises me in all this is Kevin Smith's comment about the NC-17, and it's a widely held belief within Hollywood, make an NC-17 film and it will fail.

"We didn't set out to make an NC-17 film. That's just commercial suicide…"

That's the comment he made in the Yahoo News story.

Sure that restricts anyone under seventeen from seeing it - is that really commercial suicide? The vast majority of people going to the cinema are under seventeen? Wow, that means Hollywood is missing out on an absolutely massive demographic and are failing to pull them into the cinema.

According to Smith the MPAA were pushing back on two sex scenes in particular, and in order to try and get the film through with the R rating he went through several cuts and submissions, but finally reached a stalemate with the amount of cuts he was prepared to make.

Finally he stood before them in an appeal and talked them down to the R rating. Interestingly this is the third time he's done this, the first being Clerks and the second being Jersey Girl.

"They felt it was rather sexually graphic. My point is, it was comically graphic. All the sex in the movie with the exception of one scene is very cartoonish, very campy…It wasn't designed to titillate."

Yes, but we're talking America and the MPAA, any mention of sex is enough to scare them into running down the streets screaming pillars of salt and the end of the world. Sure throw all the knives, guns and murders in a film you want, but mention or show the most natural activity in the world and you're in trouble mate.

Well the upshot is that the film has had the rating lowered and that Smith has shaved inches off Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which is actually great news for the studio too, because now they can double dip us on DVD - that means they can release the theatrical version of the film on DVD and a few months later release the Director's Cut which will include the full, uncut, NC-17 version.



As I understand it the problem isn't so much the restrictions placed by the NC-17 certification, it's the fact that many theaters won't play NC-17 movies.

And the reason the won't play them isn't because there's no audience its because of the perception of what an NC-17 movie is. The moral majority get outraged and start protesting. Its not worth the hassle for a lot of theaters.

Ah that's right Eoghann, I remember that now. Have to say that the cinemas who do that are the ones making the mistakes, and the question still remains - is there not a significant audience being missed and not catered for here? Is Hollywood (cinemas included) missing a huge revenue stream?

There probably is a substantial audience not being catered to. I mean the pay cable networks regularly carry stuff that would fall into NC-17 or above categories.

But you have to understand "middle America". There's a heavy religious element and there's a strong emphasis on appearing to do the moral thing. There's a huge disconnect between what is watched behind closed doors and what is watched in public.

I suspect that the cinemas that do show NC-17 movies are probably based on the east and west coasts.

Well there's overseas, that big expanse outside of the US. For instance there's no such self-imposed restriction in our cinemas in the UK.

Very true and generally speaking overseas is actually a bigger market these days than the US. Unfortunately movies are traditionally created with the US market in mind rather than the international one.

The States sometimes forgets it's not the only country in the world. Being a Scot living in the States is a very strange experience at times. ;)

In the past there have been "international" cuts of movies. BladeRunner is the most famous example I can think of.

Yeah for Scotland!

I sometimes think that Hollywood would do a lot better if they turned to the rest of the world as their audience. It might even promote some change in attitude of US film watching - something I mentioned to a reader when we were chatting online regarding the lack of subtitled films released in the US.


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