Pic lowers the metal volume after R ratign limits options

With a movie titled “Rock Star,” it’s not hard to figure out that Warner Bros. would want the MTV audience lining up at the box office today. Trouble is the pic’s R rating has greatly limited their access to a major musically inclined audience.

Warner Bros. can’t market the pic during programming blocks featuring more than 35% of viewership under age 17, according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s recent pledge to pols.

“That’s pushed us into using only the latest programming hours on MTV, as its audience continues to skew younger,” Warners marketing maven Brad Ball said Thursday.

Mark Wahlberg starrer opens today on 2,525 screens as the first post-summer frame’s only saturation-level release. Loosely based on the true story of a tribute-band singer tapped to replace the lead vocalist of metal band Judas Priest in 1996, “Rock Star” was originally called “Metal God.”

That was changed to the current title to “generic-ize” the pic, Ball said. Similarly, pic’s commercials and posters emphasize scenes in which Wahlberg is seen striking decidedly non-metalhead poses.

“Mark has continued to rise in his star power,” Ball said. “So, we show Mark not so much onstage but more in his quest to follow his dream.”

Wahlberg was among presenters during Thursday’s MTV Music Video Awards.

Warners used MTV’s older-skewing web sibling VH1 to run primetime spots and a promo contest for “Rock Star.”

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