Family-friendly pics do not just appeal to moviegoers’ values. According to a report, they also boost the bottom line.
The Dove Foundation’s Film Profitability Study of 2012 examines the relationship between movies’ MPAA ratings and profits. The findings indicate that although PG-13 movies make up an increasing share of major releases, kid-friendly productions tend to generate more profit than pics with content unsuitable for children.
According to the study, G-rated films garnered an average of $108.5 million in profit per film, while PG-rated pics generated $65.5 million. Edgier content often led to lower returns: $59.7 million for PG-13 pics and a dramatically lower $12.7 million on average for R-rated films.
The 2012 findings rep the third time the org has conducted such a study. The foundation examined the 200 most widely distributed pics for each of the five years from 2005 to 2009. Focusing on more than box office receipts, the report took into account all costs and revenues within two years of each pic’s theatrical release, including marketing costs, exhibitor cuts, homevid sales, merchandise licensing and more.
Though the study suggests pics suitable for children are most profitable, they rep the smallest share of the pics studied, with 18% rated PG and only 3% rated G. PG-13 productions made up the largest share of releases with 41%, an increase from the 28% reported in 2005. At the same time, the share of R-rated pics decreased from 52% in the previous study to 38% today. (No NC-17 pics qualified.)
Based on his research, Dove co-founder and CEO Dick Rolfe suggests two possible explanations for the shift.
According to one possibility, “Hollywood wants to increase the sizes of its audience by making PG-13 movies,” he says. Alternately, “The ratings now allow things in PG-13 movies that several years ago would only have been allowed in R-rated films.”
To adjust for these perceived changes in MPAA ratings, the Dove Foundation also measures profitability using its own content approval system.
The org’s reviews evaluate films looking at six categories: sex, violence, language, nudity, drug and alcohol use and a final category for “other objectionable content.”
While Dove-approved pics took in approximately $90.8 million apiece in profit, others took in an average of $36.3 million.
Hoping the study provides an incentive for Hollywood to serve faith and family audiences, Dove wants to take the next step, offering advice to filmmakers and studios on content issues. Recently, the org worked with Fox Home Entertainment on an alternate Dove-approved version of “We Bought a Zoo” for Blu-ray and DVD.
“We stand ready to work with Hollywood in any capacity to help them improve their bottom line by reaching out to the audience we represent,” Rolfe says.
Copies of the study will be available at Variety’s Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit. Others can request a copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 a.m. Keynote: Ben Simon, director of Walmart and co-chair of ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment
10:30 a.m. Panel: State of Family- and Faith-based Entertainment
11:30 a.m. Panel: Reaching Family- and Faith-Based Audiences
12:15 p.m. Panel: The Opportunity in Faith-Friendly and Faith-Based Content
2 p.m. Keynote: Walden Media co-founder Michael Flaherty
2:30 p.m. Panel: Harnessing Digital Media for Family- and Faith-Based Entertainment
3:15 p.m. Panel: What’s Next in Family Entertainment?
4:15 p.m. Panel: Film Finance and Production for Family- and Faith-Based Entertainment
5 p.m. Panel: Creative Masters in Family- and Faith-Based Entertainment
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