The annoying trend of studios predeterming MPAA ratings to stir hype

“An R-rated movie from the Jim Henson company!? I’m in!”

That was me a few years ago when “The Happytime Murders” was announced. I love The Muppets and all the work the Jim Henson Company has done.

This… does not look good.

There’s been a trend lately that I hope dies: Production companies determine their MPAA rating before pre-production in order to stir up hype.

However, the script and resulting film should determine its rating. Articles talk about Tarantino’s “R-rated Star Trek,” yet it hasn’t been written.

The story should dictate the MPAA rating and this trend is a blatant example of studios having too much control in the creative process.

Granted, for years films and shows have minimized their violence, sex and language to get themselves on TV or a more profitable PG-13 rating. I’m not going to get into the censorship debate at this time however.

2 years ago a little film called “Deadpool” finally released after audiences raved about some test footage. The project struggled to get off the ground because the studio had no concrete data that it would be profitable.

Given a “non-risky” small budget “Deadpool” was insanely profitable. Now we got “Deadpool 2” with a much more substantial budget. We are starting to see the superhero format edge into more risque territory with the likes of “Logan,” both franchises warranting their respective ratings.

When I heard the initial announcement of “The Happytime Murders” I was excited. I envisioned an honest detective movie with no restrictions on violence, sex or language.

Instead we get a raunchy comedy that appears to only care about one thing – shock value.

It will sell, sure, but I loathe the idea that they felt they couldn’t create an authentic detective film with muppets.

I probably sound crazy but Jim Henson’s “Dark Crystal” showed the emotional scope of the puppetry format. It’s squandered again as studios fail to figure out how to profit from the muppets.

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