MPAA gives two new films with smoking PG-ratings

The latest MPAA rating bulletin lists two upcoming PG-rated films with “smoking” descriptors. In effect, this tag suggests that smoking in children's movies is appropriate.  

CHURCHILL | "Rated PG for thematic elements, brief war images, historical smoking throughout, and some language."

This $10 million, bio-based, UK-made movie, distributed by indie Cohen Media,  counts down to D-Day. US release: 2 June 2017

WONDERSTRUCK | “Rated PG for thematic elements and smoking.” 

Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore star in an Amazon Studios film about two children who are mysteriously linked. Written by Brian Seltzer (Hugo) and directed by Tod Haynes (Carol). US release: Not announced.

About "smoking" descriptors | In 2015 (latest data) the MPAA tagged only 6 percent of all the top-grossing, kid-rated films with smoking. These films with “smoking” descriptors accounted for just 14 percent of tobacco incidents and 4 percent of tobacco impressions.

About smoking in biographical films | Depictions of smoking by actual people who smoked, like Churchill, would not trigger an R-rating under Smokefree Movie policy recommendations. However, most bio-based films today are packed with added smoking by fictional or composite characters and extras; this content would trigger the R-rating.

About the "new" studios | Half of all US households are now connected to "subscription video on-demand" (SVOD) services including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. iTunes is also reportedly considering a cable-cutter service.

Netflix and Amazon are investing billions to produce their own original movies and TV series. Their tobacco content practices will have a substantial effect on young people's on-screen tobacco exposure, for good or ill. (Amazon Studios produced Manchester by the Sea, a smokefree Oscar winner this year.)

Names to remember: Ted Sarandos is Netflix's Chief Content Officer. Roy Price, formerly a development exec at Disney TV animation, runs Amazon Studios.