October 22, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Major studios contine to release films rated for young children that include smoking

Major Hollywood studios will release at least two more PG-rated movies with smoking by the end of 2011:

1) Hugo, produced and directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Johnny Depp, will open November 23, 2011 in the United States. Set in Paris in the 1930s, the story of a boy and his father has been rated "PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking." 

Distributed by Viacom (Paramount), the live-action movie was produced by GK Films (Graham King), whose other smoking productions include Rango (PG), The Tourist (PG-13), Next (PG-13), Blood Diamond (R) and The Departed (R). Earlier this year, Rango delivered more than 800 million tobacco impressions to US theater audiences.

2) The Adventures of Tintin,based on the French graphic novels, will open December 21, 2011 in the United States. Produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, the MPAA has rated this 3-D animated film "PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking." 

The character Captain Haddock, known for his baroque cursing, smokes a pipe in the book series. Sony (Columbia) and Viacom (Nickelodeon/Paramount) are credited for the film. So far this year, The Help (Disney, PG-13), produced by DreamWorks SKG (Spielberg) has delivered more than 1.5 billion US tobacco impressions (preliminary estimate).


SOURCES: MPAA Rating Bulletin #2194 (10/19/11, available online until 10/25/11); IMDbPro.com; scenesmoking.org (Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!, a project of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails)

ABOUT RATING LABELS: The MPAA has added "smoking" descriptors to ratings of a small minority of youth-rated, top-grossing films with smoking since 2007; no film has been identified as being rated "R" for smoking. Among recent un-labeled films are: True Grit, PG-13, Viacom; The Help, PG-13, Disney; and The Tourist, PG-13, Sony). For more about ratings practices, see:

Millett C, Polansky JR, Glantz SA (2011) Government inaction on ratings and government subsidies to the US film industry help promote youth smoking. PLoS Medicine 8(8): e1001077. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001077

Polansky JR, Mitchell S, Glantz SA (2010) Film-Flam: How MPAA/NATO movie labels hide the biggest media risk to kids. UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

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