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 firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.