MPAA Relaunches Film Ratings Website

Newly searchable database aims to enhance transparency of movie ratings process, says outgoing agency chief Dan Glickman

The Motion Picture Association of America has relaunched its film ratings website, www.filmratings.com, with enhanced features.

The official website of the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA) features an expanded printable database of films rated all the way back to 1968, when the ratings system was created. Users can search by title, year of release or rating.

Other features include detailed explanations of the process and history of the system, ratings definitions, answers to frequently asked questions and a place for parents to sign up for Red Carpet Ratings, a free weekly email service that provides ratings information on current films.

In his speech at ShoWest on Tuesday, outgoing chairman Dan Glickman said the purpose of the revamped site is to bring added transparency to the ratings process.

“The sole purpose of the ratings system is to provide parents with clear and concise information about the content of a film in order to help them determine whether a movie is suitable for their children,” Glickman said in a statement on Wednesday. “We overhauled our film ratings website so that we can continue to provide additional clarity, enhanced information and added transparency about the system to maximize our communication with parents.”

“All of our film raters share one essential attribute: parenthood! Each time we rate a movie we ask the primary question, ‘What would I want to know about this film before I decide to let my child see it?’ ” Joan Graves, chairman of CARA, said in a statement. “Our goal is to help make parents’ jobs easier, by providing clear information about films so parents can make choices for their kids according to their values, keeping in mind their children’s individual sensitivities. It’s a responsibility we take seriously, and we are excited to have a more user-friendly website to provide information to parents on the ratings process and about the ratings themselves.”

The site also features a section on the MPAA’s Advertising Administration, which ensures that movie advertising is appropriately placed before the right audience. Every film that is submitted for an MPAA rating is required to have its advertising approved by the Advertising Administration before it is displayed to the public.

The Advertising Administration reviews about 60,000 pieces of film advertising annually, including theatrical, home video and online trailers; print ads; radio and TV spots; billboards; posters; and other promotion materials.

“Our goal is to ensure that advertising for any film — no matter what its rating — is suitable for its intended audience,” said Marilyn Gordon, senior VP of the Advertising Administration and vice chairman of CARA. “We’re thrilled that parents will have an opportunity to learn more about this vital aspect of the ratings process when visiting www.filmratings.com.”