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MPAA expands film ratings

Dodd

– The Motion Picture Association of America announced changes Tuesday to its movie rating system, saying the group wants to better inform parents about violence in films.

The new system, called the “Check the Box” campaign, will include a more prominent and detailed description explaining why a movie received a particular rating. One example read, “An intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, brief strong violence.”

The changes announced by MPAA CEO Christopher Dodd in Las Vegas on Tuesday come in the aftermath of explosions at the Boston Marathon and recent shooting rampages, though the former U.S. senator did not address such examples directly.

The White House has called on the movie industry to help parents monitor violence in media since the elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn., the state Dodd represented for 30 years as a Democrat until 2011. And in a sweeping proposal this year, President Obama asked specifically for a stricter rating system.

Dodd announced the industry’s plan at the annual movie-theater convention, CinemaCon, and spoke generally about the need to help parents “so they can make the best choices about what movies are appropriate for their children to watch.”

“I am not moved,” said Tim Winter, the president of nonpartisan Parents Television Council. “I think this is a distinction without a difference. A cynical view of the announcement today is, ‘How can the MPAA protect themselves and continue a toxic level of violence, especially in PG-13 movies, while providing themselves cover from all the scrutiny?’ ”

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