Screenshot: Avatar trailer (YouTube)

Take a look at the top ten highest grossing films of all time and you’ll find they all share one common trait. No, it’s not superheroes or Minions or even Tom Cruise; rather, it’s the fact that each of these massive blockbuster movies is rated PG-13, the kind of rating that, when applied to horror or comedy, often signals doom. Of course, this may not seem that surprising when you consider that these films aim to appeal to the widest audience possible and, thus, would want to have a rating that’s square in the middle of the spectrum. But, as explained in a new video from streaming news network Cheddar, a PG-13 rating opens these films up to a massive revenue stream that has nothing to do with ticket sales.

Films like The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and Avatar leverage their PG-13 rating to appeal to both kids and pop-culture-obsessed adults alike. But long after they’ve made it big at the box office, these franchises continue to rake in the cash through toy sales, which make up a significant percentage of their total earnings. R-rated superhero movies like Deadpool or Logan don’t put nearly as much effort into diversifying their character’s aesthetic or making them appealing to kids, because they know not as many kids will be in the theaters and, as such, won’t be scooping toys.

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In short, if non-franchised R-rated movies want a shot at the leaderboard, they should get to work on their own wildly successful toy line. Hey, it worked for Aliens, so who’s to say a set of Roma action figures wouldn’t sell like hotcakes?

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