When it comes to trends in the movie business, the New York Times seems to offer an intriguing contrast in analyses. Writing in Sunday’s Week in Review section, Bernard Weinraub, who apparently is writing about film again after a long absence from the beat, says studios are “slavishly” seeking PG-13 ratings for their films because the rating has fared best at the box office. Three of the four biggest summer hits are PG-13, the piece asserts.
The timing of the piece was less than auspicious. It hit the day the ultra-violent “Freddy Vs. Jason” was reporting a surprisingly strong $36.4 million opening weekend — the fifth time this summer that an R picture has held the No. 1 spot.
Then, on Page One of the same paper, a story by David D. Kirkpatrick points out that home video sales last year accounted for more than twice the box office revenues thanks to the boom in DVD, and that male-oriented action titles are consistently the strongest performers.
That “hot” list includes such R-rated films as “Rush Hour 2” and “Jackass: The Movie.” The latter grossed $64 million domestically but has taken in an additional $58 million thus far from DVD. “Some critics worry that DVD sales may in effect redouble Hollywood’s longstanding incentive to cater to the broadest and most puerile audience,” the story says.
Perhaps it was last week’s power outage. How else to explain such a disconnect?