SBC Life Articles

Disney’s R-rated Film Industry

R-rated movies accounted for nearly two-thirds of the releases by Disney-related companies in 1997, according to Austin Pryor, publisher of Sound Mind Investing newsletter.

Disney revenue from R-rated films surpassed $750 million in 1997, up nearly four times over the $199 million five years earlier, in 1993, Pryor reported in the newsletter's February edition, citing figures from the Internet Movie Database.

R-rated films accounted for 65 percent of Disney's fare in 1997, up from 40 percent in 1993, Pryor, of Louisville, Ky., reported.

"The overwhelming proportion of Disney's films are not friendly to families, kids, or our Judeo-Christian values," Pryor wrote in the newsletter, describing the R-rated films as containing "shocking degrees of violence, profanity, and sexuality."

"When we — or our teens — spend our money to watch Disney films, we are subsidizing corporate behavior that is at war with the things we cherish most," Pryor contended.

"Still worse, our kids are absorbing Disney's view of morality, ethics, and what brings satisfaction in life. It has been said that we're all in the process of becoming like what we most intently observe. A question to ponder as you consider joining the boycott is not whether we will change Disney, but rather will we let Disney change us?"

The boycott to which Pryor referred involves the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, and various other evangelical groups protesting Disney's moral decline in recent years. The boycott was initiated in 1995 by the American Family Association and joined by the Assemblies of God in 1996 and the SBC in 1997.

Listing twenty-three Disney-related movies in the nation's theaters in February and March, Pryor noted that only one, a re-release of The Little Mermaid, is G-rated.

Of the others, fifteen were R-rated, four were PG13, and three were PG.

Disney-owned companies producing the fare are Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista, Miramax, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, and Caravan Pictures.

And "there's more to come," Pryor wrote, citing an article in Gannett News Service in December.

"Teen culture could dominate films in the next few years, thanks to a growing 13-19 population that loves going to the movies — loves it more than dating, shopping, or sleeping in, according to a survey by Teen Research Unlimited which polled 2,008 teens across the USA. And, thanks to their parents' generosity (allowance is still a teen's No. 1 source of income), these kids are spending money — more than $100 billion a year — on clothes, pagers and cell phones, and movie tickets."

The Gannett article noted the opening weekend of Scream II, a Disney/Miramax film, "proved a wake-up call for anyone doubting the box-office clout of young America. The $24 million sequel to last year's sleeper slasher hit Scream (also from Disney) raked in a whopping $33 million, the best December opening weekend in history. "Two-thirds of that audience was under twenty-five."

The Gannett article added, "the teen population is accelerating at twice the rate of the rest of us. By 2010, the teen population will crest at 30.8 million, the biggest in U.S. history. By comparison, the teen population of the baby boom crested in 1976 at 29.9 million."