"R" ratings might help comedies: poll

Thu Aug 7, 2008 5:21am EDT
 
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Results of a recent survey by online ticketer Fandango suggest that the MPAA should get a thank-you note from filmmakers whenever it slaps a restrictive R rating on a comedy.

Conventional wisdom holds that R ratings -- which allow viewers under 17 to see films as long as they are accompanied by an adult -- hurt comedies more than other movies. But the Fandango poll results indicate that R ratings might actually help them.

August has been a regular launchpad for R-rated comedies in recent years. Sony's "Superbad" opened strongly last August with $33.1 million during its first weekend, and even five years ago "American Wedding" was able to ring up an impressive $33.4 million.

Fandango polled more than 1,000 visitors at its site about their attitudes toward restricted ratings on comedies and the oft-graphic humor contained in such films.

Among the findings:

-- Prospective patrons of the just-opened pot comedy "Pineapple Express" and the August 20 Hollywood spoof "Tropic Thunder" were asked whether they were more interested or less interested in the films because of their restricted ratings, and 75% said "more," with 84% of male respondents saying so and 65% of females.

-- About 81% of those planning to see "Tropic Thunder" said they also would attend "Pineapple Express," which bowed Wednesday with sellouts of many 12:01 a.m. showtimes.

-- About 83% of respondents said they weren't turned off by gory or graphic humor.

-- A big 94% said they weren't offended by Robert Downey Jr.'s satirical jab at Hollywood method actors by donning blackface for his "Tropic" role.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter