Not for young audiences

What's going on in Hollywood these days?
Feb 18, 2013


It seems that filmmakers — tripping over themselves to create the next great horror flick, action adventure or adult comedy — forgot that there’s an entire demographic that’s being almost entirely ignored: kids. 

A quick Internet search revealed that presently there’s not a single new-release, G-rated movie in theaters. That’s backed up by a quick check of the movie listings at the Grand Haven 9, which currently offers four R-rated movies and three others rated PG-13.

The same holds true for the Cinema Carousel in Muskegon, which offers a much larger collection of films, nine of which are rated R. The other seven are PG-13. 

It’s been a dry run on pre-teen-appropriate viewing. “The Rise of the Guardians,” “Life of Pi” and “Wreck-It Ralph” were new in theaters back in November, and have since cycled their way out of most cinemas on their journey toward a DVD release.

The newest of the PG bunch is “Parental Guidance,” which is catered more toward adults than kids, and even that hit theaters way back on Christmas Day.

It’s not that Hollywood isn’t kicking out any new films these days. It’s just that most of them come with a "restricted" rating.

Movies such as “Identity Theft,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “A Good Day to Die Hard” and “Zero Dark Thirty” may be great options for those in high school and beyond. But what about the youngsters out there? What about the parents looking to bring their kids to the cinema on a snowy February evening to munch on some overpriced popcorn and catch a fun film?

Even a night on the couch watching the Disney Channel doesn’t promise a wholesome viewing experience. Many of the shows for “tweens” presently airing on the channel that provided us with hours of worry-free watching feature teens glamorizing various levels of disrespect toward their parents and other sources of authority.

When it comes to movies, the future isn’t bright. Just look at the names of two of the movies set to hit theaters in March: “21 & Over” and “inAPPropriate Comedy.”

“Jack the Giant Slayer” looks fun, but it is rated PG-13. “The Great and Powerful” (a new take on the "Wizard of Oz") looks promising — but this film, coming to theaters on March 8, has not yet been rated.

The lone bright spot is the premiere this weekend of “Escape from Planet Earth,” an animated adventure featuring the voices of Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Alba.

We feel the film industry is missing the mark by coming up so blatantly short on offering more family-friendly viewing. It’s not like films for kids aren’t profitable.

Look at the highest-grossing films of all-time. Among the top 25 are “Toy Story 3,” “Alice in Wonderland” (Tim Burton’s 2010 version, not the original), “The Lion King,” “Finding Nemo” and “Shrek 2.” Several other top movies are for young audiences as well, from the Harry Potter franchise to “The Avengers” and the "Star Wars" series.

There’s plenty of money to be made with kids’ movies. Unfortunately, nobody is taking advantage of that fact, leaving youngsters out in the cold when it comes to movie-going options.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



WOW! I don’t even know where to start because there are so many talking points I can address, it’s like being in my favorite G-Store with everyone gone home, left me the keys, with permission to take as many as I like for FREE!, and remember to lock-up when I leave.

Filmmakers love to make films, Directors love to make the genre of films they like, and Producers love only one thing and that’s the bottom line of how much money will their production make into the Black at the end of the day. Usually, the Producers who are the ones that bankroll a film, have the most say in what kind of film will be made to make the most money. That being said, every so often a Director or Actor who has been able to save up enough money over their career decides to bankroll their own independent film where they have Total say about what kind of film they will make, who will Act, Direct, and be the DP in their film right down to Craft Services and the type of meals that will be served. Within the last 10 years there have been more Children’s Movies made than in any other decade in the history of filmmaking.

You said, “We feel the film industry is missing the mark by coming up so blatantly short on offering more family-friendly viewing.” First of all, who do you think the “film industry” is? You say it as if it’s one big organization like a corporation with a CEO and President that decides what kind of genre of movie they’re going to make next. In reality, the “film industry” is individual people who have learned a specific skill such as, Director, Producer, 1st AD, 2nd AD, Director of Photography - DP, PA, Actors, Extras, Grip, Best Boy, Editor, Location Manager, Property Master, Screenwriter, Casting Director, and a long list of other independent individuals all self-employed/independent contractors who are all brought together to perform their duties working as one unit with one very specific goal, which is to make one very specific film.

I think the News Media is responsible for writing and broadcasting articles and stories about “Hollywood” as if it’s all one big conspiracy with far flung idea’s to cause mayhem by producing movies with hidden secrets, codes, and messages whose only intent is to destroy the Christian moral and ethical fabric of this country. The only coordinated effort going on in the film industry starts with someone with an idea, which turns into notes scribbled on pieces of paper that eventually is organized to be typed into a story. Next, someone reads this story and thinks, “Wow, this would make a great film!” and they either turn it into a film script or has someone else write it and then starts to “Pitch it” to different individuals in the film industry who have the means or knows who does to bring it to the next level, in the hands of a Director or Producer who can raise enough money to make it into a production. Once they have the money it’s just a matter of working from the center outwardly of getting the right Leading Actors and Supporting Actors all on board, and putting together a film crew to fill all of the necessary positions needed on a daily basis to shoot the film. Everyone is an individual worker and when the need for their services comes to an end, they move on to find a position on another film crew to perform their skill on. When the production phase of the film comes to a close, the Post Production phase kicks into full gear which for the most part is Editing and finalizing how the film will be distributed. In order to further sell the film it may end up in film festivals and special screenings to help its distribution chances. Finally, a year or years down the road from its humble beginnings, it hits the Movie Theaters in a Nationwide opening Friday blitz and after a few weeks or a month playing in theaters it’s made available on DVD, Cable and Pay channels for the rest of its years of life.

Personally, I don’t think “morals or family-friendly viewing” has much if anything to do with making a movie, but I do think that the creativity some person somewhere feels at sometime that inspires them to write a few idea’s and words down on a diner paper napkin has to do with the growing of a Great Movie Tree that began as a tiny thought seed, which grew into an almost unnoticeable sprout, which went unnoticed for many years and then one warm sunshine filled day people happened to walk underneath this Gigantically Huge Tree with sprawling branches that provided all who sought to be cool their very own spacious place to rest and look outwardly and watch the movie of life playing out before their very eyes.

The following website lists a historical account of children’s films:


I cannot claim to be familiar with the film industry, but I think it is unfortunate that a community of such talent and creativity is responsible for heaping so much garbage into society. One only has to glance at the television on occasion to observe that the vast majority of "entertainment" produced in Hollywood seemingly involves people getting blown away by guns and/or having sex with whatever warm body appears on screen. Movies, television shows and popular music all depict explicit violence incessantly, and women are treated as little more than convenient receptacles for our heroes. I am no prude, but I have children and other young family members growing up in this culture, and much of what comes out of Hollywood makes me retch. It is unarguable that our morals and our culture are rotting, and I lay much of the blame on those whom we idolize in Hollywood. "Morals" and being "family friendly" has everything to do with it, but those are traits that are not admired in Hollywood.


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