17 year olds and R rated movies.... isn't this a PARENTING choice??

@mommyboo (13262)
United States
February 18, 2009 11:59am CST
I recently discovered via a lovely SIGN at my local movie theater that even when someone is 17 (which is the age you can see a 'restricted' rated movie), they cannot buy multiple tickets. Furthermore, they expect a parent or guardian to not only BUY the tickets for anybody 17 or under but they also must buy themselves a ticket and go to the SAME movie? Now why is this? First of all I think this is ridiculous in the fact that it definitely is cutting revenue available PLUS I know because I have teen kids that it also ups the sneaking around part. Many many kids will sneak in rather than try to pass off being 17 or older to buy a ticket because of the stupid rule. Even at my age and having kids, I don't blame them at all. Not if they are SEVENTEEN. Secondly - the R ratings. I never had an issue with either of my teens seeing something that might be rated R, not by the time they were 16, 17. This didn't necessarily mean that my hubby and I WANTED to purchase tickets for the SAME movie and go sit in there with them - albeit in the back while the kids went and sat in the nosebleed FRONT *grumble*. If they want to watch Jason hack up Freddy while the Transporter pops in to remove one of them, fine, but we'd rather see our brand of movie and leave the kids to theirs. Can't this be a parenting decision? Granted some parents don't want their kids to see ANY movies and are grateful for any stepping in that lawmakers do to prevent kids from having a good time, but other parents get pretty irritated with things like this. I'm already gritting my teeth with the idea that when my five year old daughter is a teenager that I will have to go waste my afternoon not even WITH her but with buying tickets for her and her friend(s) or dates so they can go see a movie they want to see - and I'll have to pay the $12 (or whatever it costs by then) to get into a movie I don't even want to see!
2 people like this
8 responses
@sedel1027 (17873)
• United States
19 Feb 09
I thought you had to be 18 to get into an R rated movie? I used to get into R rated movies all the time at much younger the 17. I have a feeling they put up that sign JIC they do have to enforce the rule, but it probably isn't enforced very often.
1 person likes this
• Canada
19 Feb 09
I think most of us can agree that what your child views entertainment-wise - whether it be a movie, a television programme, or an art show - should be a parenting decision. This is why the regulations regarding under-17s viewing R rated movies provide for parents buying their tickets for them, rather than barring them outright. I'm wondering if the sign at your local movie theatre might be new due to a recent complaint or two from other parents. As stated in previous comments, this rule about R rated movies is not new; it's decades old and generally enforced. I'm also wondering if the rule about not being able to purchase multiple tickets (which I'm not sure is a regulation or not) could be due to parents purchasing tickets for their children and their child's _friends_, children who's parents might _not_ want them to see an R rated movie. It might be one of those latter parents who called the movie theatre to complain. The theatre probably wants to attempt to shield itself from further complaints, lest litigation occur. I think it is a wonderful thing you are involved in making informed decisions about your child's movie viewing! Not all children can say their parents are so involved.
@mommyboo (13262)
• United States
21 Feb 09
To be honest, there are a lot of movies I might not mind seeing. We used to go see a lot of movies as a family before the little one and then we stopped doing that because it's too loud for a baby and people frown on you bringing an infant to a movie anyway. The kids were funny, they didn't usually want to sit with us - we'd head for somewhere in the middle, far enough back that we weren't going to get nosebleeds from staring straight up at a screen 2 feet from our noses. Sometimes we'd want to see one thing, they'd want to see something else. If the times coincided decently, we'd just buy two tickets for their movie and two tickets for ours, we didn't usually have any trouble doing that as long as WE bought the tickets. The kids were 12 and 13 back then. I actually used to record some programs and scan thru them - things my son liked watching after hours on the cartoon network to make sure it wasn't the racy anime that wasn't appropriate for 12 year olds lol.
• United States
19 Feb 09
I manage a movie theater. Most big chain companies strictly enforce this rule. Your problem should be with the the MPAA not your specific theater. MPAA sends out random "spotters" to make sure their rules are being enforced properly.Failure to comply could result in fines or loss of film products. I do agree with you however about the parents being able to say what their kids can and cannot see. I do think 17 is a little old considering the way pop culture/tv/society is now, and that maybe they should consider lowering the age. Say 15? The reason why I strictly enforce is it is because of the immaturity level of 17 year old kids. I have a theater filled with adults trying to watch an adult movie, and all of a sudden i have 5 teens causing problems for any number of reasons.(not into the movie,slow movie,or just being immature) They ruin the experience for everyone else. I admit early in my management career id let some teens in, and id end up throwing them out. So I made up my mind early to save everyone the trouble and enforce the rule. Obviously not talking about your teen, just a generalization of what ive seen over the years. Most parents dont care what their kids see, they give them the 20 bux and use the theater as a babysitter for 2 hours. I can see it being a tough situation for parents and I've gotten into many arguments on this topic, but the rule is the rule. In the end my job is more important then letting teens into rated R film.
@mommyboo (13262)
• United States
21 Feb 09
You know, I CAN agree with you that sometimes the maturity level of some of the teens can interfere with the enjoyment of other movie-goers, but at the same time, parents should know their kids, right? I feel if they let the parents buy the tickets (for the kids) but don't make them buy tickets too and chaperone them, that should count. 15 sounds good, of course the theater can implement rules where they can kick people out for being loud or obnoxious and then the person just has to forfeit the ticket. I haven't been bothered by teens lately in theaters, mostly I get irritated by people who don't turn off cell phones (and they ring) or they sit there and talk LOUDLY to the person or people they are with, some blow by blow of the movie and I can't tune them out because they are too close and too loud. These are ADULTS... grrrr. I certainly don't want anybody to risk losing a job, but since I feel that it's a parental prerogative and shouldn't be an arbitrary age determined by the MPAA, I will just have to disagree with the part where they actually expect a parent to buy a ticket and go see the same movie. If I don't want to see it, what do you think I'm going to be doing? Right, itching to get out of the theater the whole time.
18 Feb 09
Sounds like the theater is protecting itself from legal reprisals, to be honest. Have you asked if you can accompany them, buy the tickets and leave them to watch? That might be a good compromise, by showing that you're fine with it but just don't want to spend the money and time to watch something you're not interested in. I'd have a word with the manager and try to arrange something, if I were you.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13262)
• United States
21 Feb 09
See, I think your view is perfectly reasonable. This is exactly what I think too. If they will not let the kids buy their tickets, I don't have an issue buying them for them, accompanying them to the gate where they take the tickets and giving my blessing. I just don't feel I should be expected to buy a ticket for MYSELF and sit through the movie too. Perhaps I have no interest in Friday the 13th, know what I mean? It doesn't mean I want to prevent my teen or his friends from seeing it lol. Also, they frown on small children going to see violent movies, and I don't need to take my 5 year old in a movie theater.
@deebomb (15348)
• United States
18 Feb 09
This rule in effect for about 40 years. It came in when they started rating the movies. I never had a problem with it since none of mu kids went to the movies very much and they weren't into the kind that were rated R. but at the same time the movies weren't the same as they are now either. What was rated R back then was pretty mild compared with what is out there today. I'm surprised that you are just learning about this.
@mommyboo (13262)
• United States
21 Feb 09
We have a newer theater where we like to go because the audio/visual quality is top notch. The other theaters in town don't have big signs proclaiming 'nobody under 17 allowed without parent' or 'you can only buy one ticket and you cannot use school ID' etc. This isn't even really an issue about my kids, my son is 17 and he hasn't had trouble getting tickets BUT a few of his friends have. It was actually his FRIEND who said he had to sneak in. I wasn't there, I heard about it the day after. I think it was Friday the 13th, and even though it's the new remake, I hardly think that's something to hide your 16 year old from. His mom knew he was going to go see it, she gave him the money for it....
@fwidman (11519)
• United States
18 Feb 09
It is a parenting choice. Whenever my daughter sees a commercial for a movie she desperately wants to watch, if I don't want her to see it I JUST SAY NO! There's no going to the theater and begging that way. If she wants to see it that badly she can wait until she is 18 and then she can pay and watch whatever she likes
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13262)
• United States
21 Feb 09
I see a lot of people saying 'this has been in effect forever blah blah blah'. I never saw signs about it or heard about it being enforced - until recently. With the economy the way it is, I don't understand it at all. Your daughter isn't 17, is she? LOL! I still see this as a blanket rule trying to 'protect people from themselves' when not every parent subscribes to that idea. It's kind of like how some malls are not allowing teens there unchaperoned. If they are not causing trouble and they have money to spend, WHY oh WHY would they treat them as if they were a troublemaker skipping school? I can't be the only parent who doesn't think a 16 or 17 year old needs to be babysat 24/7, ugh!
@trickiwoo (2703)
• United States
18 Feb 09
The rules regarding R rated movies have been in place since 1968, and the rule states that if a child is under the age of 17, then a parent or guardian must accompany the child through the entire movie. The MPAA created this rule, and it is up to individual movie theaters if they want to follow it or not. However, most theaters do chose to follow the rule. Yes, the movies you allow your child to watch is definitely a parenting choice. But movie theaters have the right to enforce rules that they feel are necessary. And many parents feel that this is an important rule that should be in place. The movie theaters tend to go with what the majority of their patrons feel is right... which is why not all theaters enforce this rule, but many do. In the places that do enforce the rule, it's because the majority of parents feel that this rule needs to be put in place to protect their children. So if you as a parent feel that your children should be allowed to view these films and you don't want to, that's fine! Buy or rent them the DVD to watch at home with their friends. And when they go to the theater, they can see PG-13 movies. Let your kids know that while you don't necessarily agree with the rule, it is important to follow the rules.
• United States
18 Feb 09
I agree with you on this one. I would just not buy the tickets. If I the parent don't want to see the movie.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13262)
• United States
21 Feb 09
Well what do you suggest I do then? I don't think it's fair to force a parent to 'babysit' a 17 year old or a group of 17 year olds, the majority of people deem a 17 year old able to go see a movie, go to the mall, drive, feed themselves when they are hungry, even take care of younger people. Not that ALL 17 year olds are trustworthy but why have a rule that 17 year olds cannot buy more than one ticket for a movie? At least if they'd accept something from a parent or a parent TELLING them they don't have an issue with their kid seeing a movie? Sheesh.