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Disney Moves Into New Ratings Territory With PG-13 ‘Pirates’

Jerry Bruckheimer, one of Hollywood’s most powerful and prolific producers, has turned a Disney theme-park ride into more than a movie. He’s turned it into a PG-13 movie—a first for the studio.

“Bruckheimer has presented Walt Disney Pictures with its first PG-13-rated movie after the studio’s decades-long run of entertainment safe for audiences of all ages,” according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” will open July 9 with stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom—and some scarier images than many are used to seeing under the Disney logo.
 
Previously, Disney has chosen to release more mature movies through its other film divisions, like Touchstone Pictures or Miramax Films. But “Pirates” is keeping the Disney label.
 
According to the Times, the movie garnered its rating from the Motion Picture Association not for “sex, drugs or profanity,” but for “action/adventure violence.” Part of the movie’s plot involves a band of pirates whose flesh melts away during moonlight hours.
 
That’s part of the edge that screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (“Shrek”) brought to Bruckheimer, producer of box-office bonanzas “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Top Gun,” “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Pearl Harbor” and others.
 
That edge, media commentators say, is needed for marketplace success and is really nothing new to today’s children.
 
“Even Disney is being forced to ratchet up its level because it knows what teens are used to in all forms of entertainment—movies, music, TV, video games, Webcasting and comic books,” psychologist Stuart Fischoff, mass media effects expert, told the Times.
 
And as Bruckheimer told the Times of Disney executives: “They see all these huge movies that are acceptable to parents that are PG-13. They’re moving with the marketplace.”
 
In the movie, Depp plays Capt. Jack Sparrow, whose ship—the Black Pearl—is stolen by his nemesis, Capt. Barbossa, played by Rush.
 
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
 
Visit the movie’s official Web site.