After having spent 85 years unrated, the first Oscar best picture winner “Wings” finally underwent the fierce scrutiny of the MPAA and came away with — drumroll please — a PG-13 rating for “war violence.”
The 1927 black-and-white silent film was among the MPAA’s most recent crop of films rated last week.
But why bother rating “Wings” at all?
In a nutshell: Paramount and the nation’s third-largest theater chain Cinemark are partnering to re-release the film theatrically Wednesday and May 16 for two showtimes each day. According to Par, the MPAA requested that the studio submit “Wings” for rating as the pic predates 1968 when the ratings system was first created. The studio happily complied.
“Wings” — newly restored as part of Par’s 100th anniversary this year — will screen exclusively at locations featuring Cinemark XD Extreme Digital Cinema auditoriums. The pic will expand to 50 additional Cinemark locations two weeks later.
“Casablanca” received a PG rating when MGM re-launched the 1942 pic theatrically 50 years later.
But not all unrated classics are submitted to the MPAA for rating.
In 2010, Rialto Pictures re-released Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 “Breathless” unrated; it did the same with “Brighton Rock” and “Z” in 2009.
The reason why Rialto skipped the ratings board is a simple one: It wasn’t worth the hassle.
Eric Di Bernardo, national sales director for Rialto, said most audiences who see these pics know what they’re getting into. What’s more, Rialto isn’t a member of the MPAA, unlike Paramount.
Prior to receiving its PG-13 rating, Par released “Wings” in January in a remastered high-def version. The studio also screened it unrated at museums and non-profit institutions, including the Academy and New York’s Film Forum.