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Title: How Hollywood got its groove back : reimagining the mass audience through the Motion Picture Association of America's rating system
Author: Sandler, Kevin Scott
ISNI:       0000 0001 3551 1781
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2001
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This dissertation explores how Hollywood, in the years following the creation of the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA) in 1968, reimagined the "mass audience" in an age of audience fragmentation. Building on Richard Maltby's suggestion that the rating system did not cause "the majors to alter their fundamental assumptions about the nature of film as a commercial commodity," I will show how the industry successfully continued to portray itself as a producer of universal entertainment for an undifferentiated audience. Guaranteeing that all CARA certified films would be rendered "respectable" for its audiences was the key tactic in this strategy. The abandonment of the X through the cooperation of large, vertically aligned and integrated companies has ensured an unusual industrial stability under the mediating regulatory practices of CARA for almost thirty years. In the process of detailing how the studios successfully anticipated and accommodated CARA's requirements for what I term the "incontestable R"---in theory a "restricted" category, but in fact a category permitting all-ages consumption---I explore the consequences that arranging pictures for an R has for Hollywood production practices. By examining the ill-fated attempts to restore the adult category with the NC-17 rating in 1990 and Showgirls in 1995, I demonstrate how the continuing stigmatization of the NC-17 serves the economic interests of its large member distributors at the expense of small independent or unaffiliated distributors and exhibitors.
Supervisor: Neale, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Classification and Ratings Administration