Cinema executives once lived by the old saying “sex sells”, which made nudity a key feature in any film. Such a key feature that even the makers of religious films pushed to have at least one bathing scene in their movies. Eventually however, the big six learned that the less graphic sex the better. Why? Because sex in cinema means no children, and the loss of an inclusive atmosphere means maximum seats aren’t being filled.
While directors may want to push a sex scene, feeling it holds weight in the artistic value of the movie, studios have a say as well. To the studios there’s more than artistic value to consider. They want movies available to as many people as possible, and if cutting a scene means more sales then so be it. There are typically three things studio executives consider.
Foremost there’s the theater. The rating system (G to NC-17) sets the age restrictions for movies. Every rating except NC-17 permits underage entrance when accompanied by an adult. This window of hope for ticket sales is enough to keep theaters on board with ratings up to R, but NC-17 movies damage sales in a major way by completely prohibiting viewing by children under the age of 18. Theaters wont even consider showing them, so studios wont consider making them.
Secondly studio executives must consider television. One rule governing what is shown is that of public decency. Held to standard by the Federal Communications Commission, the rule is practically law of TV, and studio executives aren’t quick to ignore rules that affect profit.
Thirdly, Wal-Mart is such a top-selling corporation that there’s no use in ignoring it. Wal-Mart cares about being all-inclusive, instead of exclusive. Instead of risking turning a customer in another direction because of offensive merchandise, it houses only friendly merchandise, including movies of appropriate ratings and censored CDs.
Wal-Mart is such an integral part of DVD sales that studios have no choice but to ensure their movies abide by the standards the multibillion-dollar corporation sets for movie merchandise.
Because of these three major liabilities of graphic nudity in studio-made movies, NC-17 no longer exists in cinema, major television or major retail corporations. “Sex-sells” was once a major motto of entertainment, but has long since failed to prove valid.
Guest Blogger bio: Serge is a seasoned producer and technology career professional. Currently, he is working for Edictive who are the leader in online film, TV production management cloud solution.