Movie News: Cursing Doesn’t Pay

Believe it or not PG-rated movies that included the least amount of profanity made the most money at U.S. box offices.

Are you shocked by the news?

It’s true; at least according to a new study by the Nielsen Company, which tracked PG-rated movies and calculated how much profanity was used in each. The research firm says it cross-referenced box office data on 400 films in wide-release from the fall of 2005 to the fall of 2007. Nielsen controlled for marketing and production budgets of films, as well as depictions of violence and sex and found movies that scored an average 0.8 on a 10-point profanity scale collected an average of $69 million while those that averaged 2.8 for profanity averaged $38 million. All PG movies averaged 2.3 on the profanity scale, according to the study.

Nielsen research and marketing directors say the study shows parents are choosing PG films for their kids that “very, very low levels of profanity–we’re talking one-third the level of the average PG film.”

The news is likely no surprise to parents in South Pasadena, California. That’s where the nation’s first “No Cussing Week” was instituted earlier this month.

The City Council passed a proclamation making curse words off limits during the first week of every March and the move has since been embraced by much of the community.

The mayor said it provides a reminder for people “to be more civil and to elevate the level of discourse.”

Interestingly, “No Cussing Week” was the inspiration of someone you’d least expect—a teenager. Fourteen-year-old McKay Hatch not only founded South Pasadena High School’s No Cussing Club but now he is on a mission to create cuss-free zones in other cities.

In the interview I saw with Hatch on CNN the teen admitted he had engaged in colorful language in the past, but said he tries not to anymore.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.