Would you like to learn more about the Rating System, such as what type of content fits into the different rating categories, the criteria for raters, and the appeal process? View the Ratings Guide below.
CLASSIFICATION AND RATINGS RULES Updated July 24, 2020
Want to know more about the over 60,000 pieces of movie advertising submitted annually? Check out the Advertising Handbook below, which include how advertisements are reviewed and approved to play with compatible programming, and the rating information they provide.
Download our Ratings Poster below for additional information.
Movie ratings provide parents with advance information about the content of movies to help them determine what movies are appropriate for their children at any age. After all, parents are best suited to knowing each of their children’s individual sensitivities and sensibilities to pick movies for them. Ratings are assigned by a board of parents who consider factors such as violence, sex, language and drug use, then assign a rating they believe the majority of American parents would give a movie.
No. Audiences and film critics make these determinations. The ratings are not intended to approve, disapprove or censor any movie. Rather, ratings offer guidance to parents regarding the level of content in a movie.
No. Submitting a movie for a rating is a voluntary decision made by filmmakers. However, the overwhelming majority of filmmakers have their movies rated, and each member of the Motion Picture Association has agreed to have all its theatrically released movies rated.
In conjunction with our process of reviewing and rating movies, we take every step possible to ensure that all advertising content is suitable for the particular audience that views it. We review more than 60,000 pieces of marketing each year, including theatrical, home video and online trailers, print ads, radio and TV spots, press kits, billboards, bus shelters, posters and other promotional materials. Our goal is to give parents the same confidence in movie advertising that they have in the movie rating system, while also allowing filmmakers to responsibly market their movies to their intended audiences.
The key to movie advertising is compatibility. Advertising for rated films is not rated, nor does the advertising content carry the rating of the full feature film. With trailers, we consider many factors to ensure their compatibility with the feature; on TV, we consider compatibility to the programming; and with online content, we consider the compatibility and user base age demographic breakdown for the intended online destination. Ultimately, we strive to make sure that if parents are comfortable with the content of the feature, TV programming or other media, then they will be comfortable with the trailers or other ads that go with them.
Use the rating system to “Check the Box” and decide if a film is right for your family. The information in the box includes the letter rating, designating the level of content in the movie, and also the descriptor, giving a snapshot of the elements in the movie that lead to that rating.
The Check the Box campaign further enhances our educational tools for parents, with an updated rating block and trailer tag. As demonstrated below, the trailer tag gets to the point and tells audiences that the trailer they are watching is approved to play with the feature they came to see. This does not represent a change in the way we approve trailers and other movie advertising, but rather a clearer and more accurate reflection of our approval process. This process considers various factors, including the content and rating of the feature and the advertised movie, in approving trailers that are compatible with the feature and its content.
The rating block features a more prominent rating descriptor box. Rating descriptors have been an element of every PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 rating since 1990, and each descriptor will continue to be tailored for every individual movie, as they have always been. The new box places a renewed emphasis on the descriptor to encourage parents to use this important information when making movie choices for their families.
Below you will find an image illustrating the changes between the old theatrical trailer tag and the updated theatrical trailer tag and rating box.