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In 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America instituted the modern voluntary film ratings system as we know it today. Since 1990, the ratings have broken down as such:
• G: General audiences – all ages admitted.
• PG: Parental guidance suggested – some material may not be suitable for children.
• PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned – some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
• R: Restricted – under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
• NC-17: No one 17 and under admitted.
While those 17 and under can technically buy tickets for R-rated films as long as they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian, many theater chains are restricting admittance even further.
“Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Texas-based theater chain founded in 1997 by mechanical engineer Tim League and his wife, Karrie, was a pioneer in creating the upscale moviegoing experience with in-theater dining and beer on tap,” reported Pamela McClintock of The Hollywood Reporter on March 17. “Now it's at the forefront of a trend that quietly has been adopted by a majority of theaters nationwide: barring children under age 6 from seeing R-rated films after 6 p.m. so as to provide a better experience for adults. Exhibitors say they enacted the policy based on a cascade of complaints from customers bothered by noisy and restless tots, or by the idea of seeing a kid watching violent or sexual content. In the latest twist, some circuits are enforcing the rule 24/7. That group includes Regal Entertainment, the largest U.S. chain. The two next-largest circuits, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark, are sticking to ‘No 6 After 6,’ as the rule is known, for now.”
So, we wanted to know: "Should children under 6 years old be banned from R-rated movies, even if they're accompanied by an adult? Why or why not?"
“I think they should. They are too young for what is in the movie.” — Donna Roberts
“Of course! My son [doesn’t] ever watch ANYTHING for adults! I hate that kids are even playing ‘Grand theft Auto.’” — Kisha Scott
“Yes, let them enjoy being young and innocent for as long as they can. There's enough time for the ugly stuff later.” — Terry Walter
“Of course they should be banned from such movies! As should those under 16 years old. ... If their parents are not smart enough to not expose them to such junk someone should.” — Vicci Lucas
“Yes, they should be banned by policy because a lot of parents have proven that they are complete idiots and continue to take young children to inappropriate movies.” — Curtis Dewitt Smith
“Why is this even a question? The movie is rated R for a reason.” — Brittany Cournoyer
“What parent would take a 6-year-old anyway? Shouldn't need to be banned, it should just be common sense.” — TJ Gordon
“No because I need someone my maturity level in the theatre with me.” — Thomas Wilson
“No. It prevents intelligent parents from educating their child on the actual possibilities in life. Life may be beautiful and wonderful but it's more like ‘Deadpool’ than ‘Finding Nemo.’” — Adam Crume
“The ratings are provided by prudish citizens. A non-elected body determines what you and your children are allowed to see and hear. The same thing happened for years with the [Comics Code Authority.] Since the end of the [CCA] the medium has become more creative and has pushed boundaries into subjects that had offended the prudish raters.” — Sean Webb
“No, I think as long as the child has an adult with them, I don't think they should be banned.” — Christy Shallenberger
“I say let the parents make that decision. I remember back in the ‘80s, movie theaters being full of small children on some R-rated movies.” — Jodie Featherston Moss
“You would think it shouldn't have to be a problem period to be banned.” — Mary Haymon
“I'm not sure I'd want to say yes 100 percent that they should be banned. I guess I feel the parents should be responsible enough to know not to take children under 6 to movies that are inappropriate for that age. Recently, I think it was a problem with ‘Deadpool,’ but there were multiple different warnings that it wasn't a child-friendly movie. Seems to me the R-rating should be enough warning, so I guess, no, I don't think there needs to be further action.” — Kaylee Harden
“Absolutely. But I want addendums. Can we extend this to any movie, regardless of rating? No one likes children at the movies, including the parents themselves. Let's just deposit the toddlers elsewhere. I'd also ban texting teenagers, vocal viewers, loud chewers and the extremely tall ... but one battle at a time.” — Justin Chisham
“I’m tempted to say yes, because I can’t think of an occasion where I’ve seen someone 5 years old and under at an R-rated film and felt great about it. But, then again, I could say the same for several PG-13, and even PG, movies as well. The line is fuzzy because the MPAA makes seemingly arbitrary, secretive decisions about which films get rated what, and for what reasons. (Watch the 2006 documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” for an eye-opening review of this entire process.) So, I support these theater chains’ right to place these restrictions, I just want to see reforms to the system on which they are basing these decisions.” – Rob Burgess