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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » R Rated Policy on Dateline NBC (Page 1)

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Author Topic: R Rated Policy on Dateline NBC
Charles Lubner
Film Handler

Posts: 78
From: Milwaukee, WI USA
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 08-15-2000 01:45 AM      Profile for Charles Lubner   Author's Homepage   Email Charles Lubner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From what upper management tells me, Dateline NBC is going to be doing a special report on how theatres check ID's for kids under 17 for R rated films on Tuesday night, August 15th.
We've been warned to make sure we are diligent in carding teens and not letting children under 6 into R rated films as the local media may try and "sneak" a kid in to an R rated movie for a headline story.

Just thought I'd pass the word along to any theatre managers out there!

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 08-15-2000 01:59 AM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am getting very sick and tired of the crusading media. What do they expect us to do? The other day some mother walked up to box, which I was manning at the time, and asked for 4 tickets to Scary Movie and 2 to What lies beneath. The 4 were for her children and the 2 were for her and one of here kids who apparently didn't want to see Scary Movie. I didn't ask here if they were all her kids, she would've just lied anyway. I told her that I didn't think Scary Movie was appropriate for her kids, the oldes had to be only 15 and the youngest under 10. She said, "I saw there were only a few breasts." So what should I have done? Told her she had to see it with her kids? She would've bough the Scary ticket and just gone to What Lies anyway. I could've made it a point to go into say Scary Movie and kick the kids out, or into What Lies and kick the lady out if she had bought a Scary ticket, but where would that have gotten me? Six pissed off customers who wouldn't return and 4 kids who would more than likely get into the movie eventually anyway, or see it when it came out on videa.


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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1112
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 08-15-2000 02:28 AM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our policy is "Under 17 must be accompanied by a parent." I would have not allowed the kids in there without the parent accompanying. If she merely bought the ticket, as I suspect she would, and went to see the other - I would throw all 4 of the kids out of the theater for violating the rated R policy and her for not going to the movie she bought the ticket for. All I have to do is look out the booth window when I start the movie, as I am often selling tickets and starting movies (we run a satellite box in the concession stand, so the employee can run both when I'm upstairs). I'm a real stickler on the policy, and if that pisses people off, oh well - a policy is a policy.

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John Scott
Master Film Handler

Posts: 252
From: Oakdale, MN, USA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 08-15-2000 11:01 AM      Profile for John Scott   Email John Scott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Charles!

I'm also a real stickler on our policy (no one under 6 in an R rated movie, parent and guardian must accompany kids into R rated movie if person doesn't have ID, and no ID, no admittance -- we card anyone who looks under 20-22 or so).

One thing that I have found successful is that usually you can get a good idea who might sneak into the R rated movie (both parents with little kids and the kids themselves have done this at our complex). So I use our "Flag Ticket" button (It adds an extra row of stars on the printed ticket) and as I give it to the patron I give them a warning saying that, "This ticket is only good for the movie listed on it, if you or a member of your party are found in another movie you will be asked to leave."

90% of the time, this prevents people from theatre hopping. But for the other 10% I then point out the patrons in question to my ushing staff, and they keep an eye out. If they are found in the R rated movie, they get kicked out (Since they were already given their warning at the box office).

At least for us this has worked so well that our regular customers often come out and warn us when kids get into R rated films.

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Bruce McGee
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1776
From: Asheville, NC USA... Nowhere in Particular.
Registered: Aug 1999

 - posted 08-15-2000 12:14 PM      Profile for Bruce McGee   Email Bruce McGee   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The media should go after the parents that let their kids go into an R rated movie, not the theater operators.

As a kid, I was tossed out of Midnight Cowboy in 1970 because I was 14. I had let the beard grow for over a week and thought I could pass for 16 (This was the re-release after the film won the award--with an R rating. The ticket guy sold me the ticket. I got the popcorn and coke, and headed for the ticket chopper-dude. He pushed me out of line and yelled for the manager, an ugly weasil-looking guy... Anyway, I was refunded my money and pushed out the door.

I dont envy you guys with your jobs. You have to deal with lying parents that by example are raising a bunch of lying kids that are going to pull the same crap when they grow up. Heaven Help Us All!

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 08-15-2000 12:59 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Nothing better than the parents coming with 10 kids all about age 8 to see an R rated flick. Of course when it is explained that each child must be accompanied by THEIR parent to the movie, the answer is always "yes, ALL of these kids are ours. We are the parents."

Um, yeah right. I never let them in.

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Tom Ferreira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 203
From: Conway, NH, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 08-15-2000 08:47 PM      Profile for Tom Ferreira   Email Tom Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All I can say about the Dateline NBC report is:
Come interview me, you bastards-I'll tell you about the time I wouldn't sell a ticket to a kid with no ID and he threw a Tensabarrier across my lobby.
How about the times I've been subjected to barrages of profanity for turning kids away.
Or during Road Trip when I hauled nine kids out of the auditorium who had purchased tickets to another film and threw their asses out the door.
Or two nights ago when three kids with no ID's couldn't get in to Hollow Man, so they got their school guidance councellor who was going to another film to purchase their tickets when our policy clearly states PARENTS must purchase tickets. They were booted and the guidance councellor screamed at my asst. manager. What a fine example.
For Dateline to place the blame for this on theatres, their management and NATO is unfair. Roger Ebert has been strongly vocal about a much needed reform to the ratings system for years. Perhaps once that moron Jack Valenti goes totally senile or kicks the bucket, someone with a brain will take over and revamp this useless system. Then maybe the studios will wake up and face the cold, hard truth that PG13 films make more money than R films.
I have said it before, and I'll say it again-there is NO REASON IN THE WORLD why ANY child under the age of 12 needs to see an R Rated film.
Any theatre that doesn't enforce the R rating to some degree-shame on you! It's either laziness or pure greed on your part. Quit the business, and find another job.

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1112
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 08-15-2000 09:13 PM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I didn't get to see this, as alas, I am at work. However, did it have one of those "to purchase a copy of this episode" deals at the end of it? If so, I'd be interested...

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 08-15-2000 09:52 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have mixed feelings about the whole "R-rated" movie policy thing. On one hand, I certainly agree that it's ridiculous for 12-year-olds to be seeing R-rated films (in general) and that, in most cases, even if the movie doesn't scar the child for life, the kid will probably talk during the show and do other things that annoy other customers.

On the other hand, I have a lot of "issues" with the MPAA, Jack Valenti, and the ratings sytem in general. I would consider myself to be fairly strongly anti-censorship and believe pretty strongly in the free flow of ideas and information.

Thus, I feel somewhat torn with this issue.

I guess that the only thing that I can add here is that making these calls requires a manager with good judgment. If it's an art-house picture with some nudity but nothing terribly graphic, I wouldn't have a problem letting in 16-year-olds who seemed genuinely interested in the film. On the other hand, it would be irresponsible to let 12-year-olds in to something like "Scary Movie." Fortunately, I have never been a theatre manager and haven't had to make these decisions. A blanket policy of "no one under 17 admitted with out a parent to R-rated pictures" is probably the easiest thing to enforce, but it ignores the fact that many genuinely good films with great artistic merit get the "R" rating because of a nude scene or language or a single violent scene.

The real issue here, though, is parents. Unfortunately, it seems as if it is far easier to blame theatre owners than to encourage good parenting.

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 08-15-2000 10:18 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I watched the Dateline show tonight.

It didn't make theatres look very good. We are just a bunch of greedy money hungry bastards from the looks of it.

I have posted my position on this issue in this forum before, and it hasn't changed. Certainly parents must recieve some of, if not most of the blame, but... it IS our responsibility to enforce the system. AND I DO! Anyone under 17 MUST have a photo ID card to get into an R rated film.

On the dateline show they sent in underage teenagers to several NY theatres,as well as theatres in other parts of the country, and they got in to R rated movies EVERY time. In a FEW instances they were denied tickets at the box office, but then bought tickets to non R rated movies and once inside went into the R rated film anyway...NEVER once challenged.

This is a poor statement about our industry. If we are not going to police ourselves...then we deserve to be policed by others!

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Wade Dupree
Film Handler

Posts: 6
From: Birminham, Alabama, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 08-15-2000 10:49 PM      Profile for Wade Dupree   Email Wade Dupree   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking of "honest" news reporting...How much cash did NBC have to shell out because they rigged those GM trucks to explode for a Dateline report?

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 08-15-2000 11:23 PM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Never once did they mention that the ratings system itself is VOLUNTARY.

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Russ Kress
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 202
From: Charleston, WV, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 08-15-2000 11:40 PM      Profile for Russ Kress   Author's Homepage   Email Russ Kress   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Obviously, the parents of these "sneak-ins" are God-fearing, pure, all-American parents. This would be why this show is expected to get high enough ratings to make network TV!

If they are so concerned, it amazes me that they "just don't have the time" to accompany their precious child to the boxoffice to either purchase little Johnny's ticket for the R, or even to make sure that he can't buy it.

This is typical America these days. Get someone else to take the responsibility for raising your kids because you, quite frankly, can't be bothered.

Some one should tell NBC to watch CNN every now-n-then. Children are doing far worse things than sneaking in to movies.

The cause is still the same. No one is raising them.


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Tom Ferreira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 203
From: Conway, NH, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 08-16-2000 07:22 AM      Profile for Tom Ferreira   Email Tom Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That was my point-we ARE policing ourselves. To say that all theatres in the country, be they independent or chain, twin or megaplex, enforce the R Rated policy in the same manner as a few theatres in Houston and Dallas is irresponsible reporting at it's worst. From the sounds of things on this forum, the vast majority of us enforce the R Rating to some degree.
To subject our industry to entrapment and hidden cameras is a great injustice. Was anyone at the theatre level interviewed? No, and supposedly NATO refused access to the circuits taken to task, to which I say bullshit. NATO does not own theatres-it would have been easy enough for Dateline to contact the circuits' home office directly. They just didn't try very hard. I would gladly talk to Dateline if they wanted to talk to someone in the industry-I just don't think they wanted to.

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Dave Ganoe
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Point Marion, PA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 08-16-2000 12:55 PM      Profile for Dave Ganoe   Email Dave Ganoe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Let me start by saying I am not here to argue the subject, just to merely give my views/opinion on the subject of ratings. I work at a movie theatre not a daycare center and I refuse to be every childs parent. The policy here is that if the parent or adult guardian gives permission(in person) it is not necessary for the parent or adult guardian to stay for the film. I think the rating system needs to be more specific. For the R rating it should be that a child under a certain age should NOT be admitted no matter who is with them that says its ok. It is a tough call about content. One film getting an r for language or one violent scene then you have some trash like Scary Movie. I believe the only firm solution is clearer, stricter guidlines for operators to follow. The kind of smut that is in films like Scary Movie, American Beauty in my opinion doesnt belong on the screen. Unfortunately I dont get to choose what we play. Bottom line is, responsibilty for the child belongs to the parent, not the operator, not the government, or anyone else. If the parent or guardian doent have enough common sense to know that a child watching a guy stick his thing through a hole in the bathroom stall is not a good thing then he/she needs help! ON a side note the whole NATO thing is a joke. NATO is nothing more than a play things of the lobbyist and studios. (my opionion in which I'm entitled)

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