The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been responsible for rating films released in the United States since 1968. These ratings range from G (general audience) to NC-17 (no one under 17 admitted). Recently, a new rating has been added to the system: MA (mature audience), also often referred to as R-rated.
The distinction between R and MA ratings is not always clear, as both are assigned to films that contain adult content, including violence, strong language, and mature themes like sex and drug use. However, there are some differences between the two ratings that are worth exploring.
Movies with an R rating indicate that they may contain material that is not suitable for children under 17 without parental guidance. This means that children can watch an R-rated movie if they are accompanied by an adult. On the other hand, movies with an MA rating are restricted to those 17 and older, with no exceptions for parental guidance.
The MA rating is a relatively new addition to the MPAA rating system, first introduced in 1990. Its introduction came after many parents and community leaders expressed concern about the increasingly graphic nature of violence, language, and sexual content in movies aimed at older audiences. The MA rating was created as a way to give more freedom to filmmakers who wanted to explore mature themes and content while still avoiding the more restrictive NC-17 rating.
Many filmmakers would rather receive a R rating than an MA rating because it allows for a broader audience, including older teenagers who are able to watch the movie with an adult. However, some filmmakers prefer an MA rating because it means that they can push boundaries and explore themes that might be deemed too graphic or controversial for those under 17, without risking an NC-17 rating that would limit their movie’s distribution and profitability.
It is also worth noting that many films originally rated NC-17 have been edited to an R rating for a more widespread theatrical release. For example, 1995’s “Showgirls” initially received an NC-17 rating for its graphic sexual content but was later edited and re-released with an R rating. Similarly, 2010’s “Blue Valentine” was originally going to receive an NC-17 rating for its sexual content but was edited and given an R rating instead.
One of the key differences between R and MA ratings is the intensity and frequency of mature content. An MA rating is assigned when a movie contains graphic violence, sexual content, and drug use, among other mature themes, that are not appropriate for children under 17. In contrast, an R rating may contain similar content, but it may be less intense or appear less frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions About MA Vs R Rating
Q. How is a movie given an MA rating?
A. The MPAA rates movies based on their content, and the decision to assign an MA rating is made by a panel of parents and caregivers who judge the movie’s content based on a set of guidelines. These guidelines include everything from sexual content and violence to drug use and language.
Q. Why are some movies rated R versus MA?
A. The MPAA bases its ratings on a set of criteria and judges each movie accordingly. If a movie contains content that is deemed too graphic or disturbing for under-17s, but still not extreme enough to warrant an NC-17 rating, it will likely receive an MA rating. Similarly, if the content is less disturbing, but still not suitable for under-17s, then an R rating will likely be assigned.
Q. What is the difference between an MA and NC-17 rating?
A. Both ratings are restricted to those 17 and older, but an NC-17 rating is usually associated with more extreme content, such as graphic sexual content or violence. The MA rating is meant to allow more flexibility for filmmakers, while still restricting access to those under 17.
Q. What happens if a movie receives the NC-17 rating?
A. A movie rated NC-17 is restricted to those 18 and older, with no exceptions for parental guidance. This rating can have a significant impact on the film’s distribution and profitability, as many theaters and platforms refuse to show NC-17 rated movies.
In conclusion, both the R and MA ratings are assigned to movies with mature themes and content, often including violence, language, and sexual content. The key difference between the two is the intensity and frequency of the mature content, as well as the level of restriction on those under 17. While filmmakers generally prefer an R rating because it allows for a broader audience, the MA rating can be seen as an opportunity to push boundaries and explore more mature themes. Ultimately, it is up to the filmmakers and the MPAA to decide which rating is appropriate for each movie.