Does the MPA Rating System Still Matter?

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Question of the Day (QOTD) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a film/TV-related question that we put to you, the reader. The comments section below is like the feedback box at work; except, in this example, we actually read what you write and care about what you have to say.

The Motion Picture Association film rating system is used to rate a motion picture’s suitability for certain audiences based on its content. G is for general audiences, PG-13 requires an adult to accompany anyone under 13 years of age. R is for adults only. However, with the rise of physical media, streaming, and digital, I began to wonder one thing: does the MPA rating system still matter?

Let’s discuss. The rating systems for movies really only apply to theatrical releases nowadays. But does anyone actually care about what rating a movie gets anymore? Sure, a PG-13 release will allow more people to see the movie than an R-rating, but if a parent wants to take his 10 year old kid to Deadpool, he’s going to take him no matter the rating. It’s up to each individual in that case, but physical and streaming is what put this question in my head.

Kids can turn on Netflix and, unless the kid’s parents actually set up a child lock, he can watch whatever R-rated show or movie he wants. No one is going to stop the kid. So is the MPA still necessary? Is it still a tool people consult when deciding if a movie will be appropriate? Or should we look at other factors (trailers, cast, director, reviews) instead? All I feel is that after a film exits a theater, the MPA rating is essentially meaningless.

So what about you, folks? Do you think movie ratings still matter in the digital age?

I’ll see you in the trenches.

Author: Marmaduke Karlston

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"