MPAA Study Finds Most Movies Since 1968 Were R-Rated

Over 50 years since inception of ratings system, R movies have dominated the market.

October 30, 2018 9:22 am
(20th Century Fox)
(20th Century Fox)

The multiplex isn’t as kid-friendly as you might have thought.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its film rating system by revealing the breakdown of movies released since its inception. And the results show that Hollywood seems to prefer R-rated films, with more than half of the nearly 30,000 titles studied having earned that designation. (See the full study here.)

Since 1968, that means “17,202 movies have been rated R, 5,578 rated M/GP/PG, 4,913 rated PG-13 and 1,574 rated G,” according to Variety.

Only 524 movies earned an X or NC-17 rating, largely because mainstream exhibitors tend to leave that level of adult content for the porn industry.

While the fear of government censorship sparked the original ratings system when it was announced on Nov. 1, 1968, the system has evolved into a gate-keeper of sorts that can make or break a film at the box office.

Conventional industry wisdom is that a PG-13 rating — introduced after “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was criticized as too graphic for its PG rating in 1984 — for example, is a boon for an action movie over an R because it opens up the potential audience to include younger teenagers.

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