Ad 99

The Hollywood Reporter, Variety
Date of first publication: 
In China and America, 4.1 billion more reasons to rate smoking "R."
In China and America, 4.1 billion more reasons to rate smoking “R.” Hollywood makes two-thirds of its money outside the US. So when a major studio releases a movie with smoking, it not only hurts American kids. It puts millions of children at physical risk in other countries. The latest example? Viacom’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, a Michael Bay movie based on Hasbro dolls, has sold more tickets in China than in the United States. As a result, the film’s cigar-chomping Autobot Hound, voiced by John Goodman, has delivered 1.5 billion tobacco impressions to US moviegoers—and at least 2.6 billion tobacco impressions to audiences in China. Total: 4.1 billion. ] Studies in 12 nations agree: Every time a child is exposed to on-screen smoking, it boosts that child’s risk of tobacco addiction and early death. The multinational tobacco industry has long used movies to sell smoking. Today, smoking erupts in dozens of kid-rated movies each year, including fantasy, futuristic and animated films (like Viacom’s PG-rated Rango in 2010). And cigars, which are easier to see on small, mobile screens and subject to looser marketing rules, are showing up in more PG-13 films. It’s no accident. 4 more reasons to rate smoking “R” 1 ] The R-rating will give producers a market-based incentive to reserve smoking for audiences 18 and over, just as they calibrate other film content now. 2 ] The R-rating will help studios future-proof their films for the global marketplace. The 168-nation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (Article 13) explicitly prohibits promoting tobacco across borders in entertainment media. 3 ] The R-rating will set a single standard for the US film industry, replacing patchwork tobacco depiction policies like Paramount’s. It went into effect January 1, 2013, a full eighteen months before this Transformers film was released. 4 ] The R-rating will not only save millions of kids in the United States from starting to smoke, it will help protect millions of other children and teens around the world —the largest generation in history. In other words, if you really want to save humanity from extinction, you know where to start. Transformers: Age of Extinction (PG-13): Hound, an alien robot warrior, puffs on a large cigar throughout the film. Paramount Pictures adopted a policy against smoking in its youth-rated films while Transformers was in pre-production. That policy didn’t protect kids. The R-rating will. A short history of Hound: Tobacco-free from 1984 until now... Paramount character study dated 12/19/12 shows Hound gumming an artillery shell... 2014 Hasbro toy packages for “ages 6+” feature Hound sucking on high-caliber ammo (not included)… Amazon, Target and Walmart sites show a young boy playing with Hound in vehicle form.* *Child model’s face obscured. Product placement in Transformers: Age of Extinction includes Bud Light and Goodyear. US movies have a long history of paid tobacco placement, too, both branded and unbranded. Fantasy and sci-fi movies with tobacco imagery, 2012-2014; Domestic in-theater tobacco impressions Lockout 2012 PG-13 AMC/Regal 97,000,000 Jurassic Park (3D) 2013 PG-13 Comcast 179,000,000 Oblivion 2013 PG-13 Comcast 230,000,000 Iron Man 3 2013 PG-13 Disney 2,810,000,000 The Wolverine 2013 PG-13 Fox 16,000,000 X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014 PG-13 Fox 334,000,000 The Quiet Ones 2014 PG-13 Lionsgate 151,000,000 Ghost Rider...Vengeance 2012 PG-13 Sony 33,000,000 Men in Black 3 2012 PG-13 Sony 630,000,000 The Pirates: Band of Misfits 2012 PG Sony 8,000,000 Robocop 2014 PG-13 Sony 21,000,000 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 2014 PG-13 Sony 489,000,000 Dark Shadows 2012 PG-13 Time Warner 471,000,000 The Hobbit...Journey 2012 PG-13 Time Warner 4,720,000,000 The Hobbit...Smaug 2013 PG-13 Time Warner 445,000,000 Transformers...Extinction 2014 PG-13 Viacom 1,707,000,000 Dark Skies 2013 PG-13 Weinstein 6,000,000 Escape from Planet Earth 2013 PG Weinstein 7,000,000 2012 to mid-2014, fantasy and sci-fit films delivered 40% of all youth-rated tobacco impressions to domestic audiences (US and Canada). Fact-based biographical dramas, like Lincoln, which would be exempt from the proposed R-rating for tobacco, delivered half as much exposure.
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