November 22, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

For US Thanksgiving, Scorsese and Viacom's PG-rated smoking film

In theaters this Wednesday, November 23, director Martin Scorsese's PG-rated Hugo, set in 1930s Paris, has earned a "smoking" descriptor from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The movie was produced by GK Films (Graham King, Santa Monica), whose other recent smoking films include The Rum Diary (R), Rango (PG) and The Tourist (PG-13).

Hugo is distributed by Viacom's Paramount, one of three major US studios lacking any published policy on screen smoking  with a corresponding poor performance on keeping smoking out of its youth-rated films.

Viacom opened 2011 with the animated, PG-rated Rango (50+ tobacco incidents).

Hugo, budgeted at $170 million, shot some exteriors in Paris but mainly filmed on UK soundstages, where government grants cover 16% of production costs. 

A 2011 report concluded that the UK government spent more than twice as much subsidizing US studio movies with smoking each year than on its anti-tobacco media campaigns.

For Viacom's 2005-2010 record as reported by the CDC click here.  (Viacom is Company "D" in the CDC table.  The others are A=Time Warner, B=Comcast (Universal), C=Disney, E=News Corporation (Fox), F=Sony, I=Independents.)

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