Ad 76

The Hollywood Reporter, Variety
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How many studio execs did it take to OK smoking in a "PG" movie?
How many studio execs did it take to OK smoking in a “PG” movie? Image: Rango poster Feature animation requires hundreds of people, millions of dollars, terabytes of computer graphics. In PG-rated Rango, opening March 4, all that hard work and ingenuity is used to blow smoke in the faces of families around the world. What was Paramount thinking? The scientific evidence is undisputed: How much smoking kids see on screen, as early as grade-school, predicts if they will start smoking as teens. The exposure causes kids to smoke, says the National Cancer Institute. In 2010, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the R-rating as an effective disincentive for smoking in the films kids see most. Four years ago today, at the MPAA’s own invitation, Harvard School of Public Health recommended that the studios “eliminate” smoking from movies accessible to children and teens. So what’s the excuse this time? Does Rango show much smoking? Few PG films do. So why include it at all? It’s a bad guy who smokes? No excuse, either. The research finds that bad guys can have more influence than good guys on kids’ starting to smoke. Sure, the MPAA gave Rango a fine-print “smoking” label. But Harvard warned the MPAA such labeling was “cynical,” comparing it to tobacco industry tactics. Joe Camel meets the Marlboro Man. Rango isn’t the only movie with smoking. Twenty-one films nominated for Oscars® this Sunday happen to include smoking. More than 40 percent of them are rated PG or PG-13 (see table). The good news? Movie smoking has dropped steadily in recent years, though it’s still higher than in the late 1990s. Many in the industry are making kid-rated films smokefree. But as Rango suggests, only the R-rating can send the signal to every studio: If you’re selling to kids, don’t sell them out. Table: Oscar®-nominated films with smoking, 2010 Two-thirds of the 31 films nominated in feature-length, English-language, non-documentary Academy Award categories include smoking. The ten highest-grossing movies on this list delivered 4.7 billion tobacco impressions to audiences. PG and PG-13 films delivered 58% of that total.
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