The MPAA ratings system has long been the #1 guide for moviegoers to determine what films are appropriate for what age groups. However, audiences still don’t seem to have a firm grasp of what all the letters and numbers actually mean. So – to clarify (once and for all – R you ready?
G is for General Audiences: anybody can go. Two kindergarteners could walk up to the ticket booth, buy a pair to “The Peanuts Movie”, and go on in. It’s rare, and a bit of a stretch, but perfectly acceptable.
PG means Parental Guidance is Suggested, not required, for children under 7.
PG-13 does NOT mean that those under 13 cannot go to these films. When I started reviewing movies (and was attending PG-13 films at 8), people questioned this and thought I shouldn’t be allowed in the theater to see these movies. PG-13 means that Parental Guidance is, once again, Suggested, but not required, for those under 13. Technically, those same kindergarteners could walk into “Batman v. Superman”. People would likely stop in their tracks and stare, but it would be perfectly legal.
R is Restricted: no one under 17 is allowed to see the movie unless an adult (21 and over) accompanies him/her into the theater. It doesn’t mean that those under 17 CAN’T see R-rated movies, they just need an adult to buy the ticket for them and enter the theater with them. Where each of them sits after that is totally up to them. I was allowed to attended R-rated movies in theaters when I was 10 – since I had an adult with me.
But now movie theater giants Regal Cinemas and AMC are overriding, and ultimately improving, the MPAA with a new policy they have quietly instituted across the country – one that many independent, family-run theaters have supported for decades. According to REGMovies.com: “Children 6 and under are not allowed to attend Rated R features.” And on AMCTheatres.com, a slightly different but still bold and welcome rule: “Children under the age of 6 are not allowed [into R-rated movies] after 6:00pm.”
The days of screaming babies and noisy toddlers (sitting next to their irresponsible parents) disrupting intense action movies and serious dramas/awards contenders ARE OVER! As someone who takes attending movies very seriously and who desires the least obtrusive/most respectful audiences possible, this is a huge win.
Bringing little pre-school Johnny to “Deadpool” because you couldn’t wait to see it and didn’t want to take the time to get a babysitter has always been a bad idea…on so many levels. Now – thankfully – it’s also against the rules.