I am not a big fan of fast food chains that include promotional toys for PG13 rated films with kids meals. We don’t give them our money during those promotions. Cereal brands that pull the same trick are off the shopping list too. I think that it is pretty clear cut; if the kid isn’t old enough to see the movie based on its rating, then you shouldn’t be marketing to them. The same applies for TV commercials on cartoon networks that are clearly aimed at the younger set. Although, this is less clear, since some older kids and adults do watch these shows.
Even less clear cut is what I’m now encountering with Marvels cross-over between the PG13 rated feature film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and TV PG rated ABC television show “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”
In general, I won’t bring my son, who is 10 years old, to see a PG13 rated film unless I’ve seen it first (or get the okay from someone I trust who has seen it). Although I have seen the movie, I have not decided if Captain America: The Winter Soldier is okay for him to see. But let’s assume that I want him to wait till he’s a bit older.
There are things that happen in Captain America that will greatly change the direction of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, a show which we watch together (a father and son night). The last two episodes of AoS run pretty much concurrently with the event of The Winter Soldier. And already events in one have affected the other.
I will give the AoS team the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ll fill in the blanks during Tuesday night’s show so that someone who only watches the show and not the movie will still be able to follow along. But there will undoubtedly be things my son would understand better had he seen the Marvel films, particularly The Winter Soldier.
Disney is trying to have it both ways. They want to reap the better box office results that comes with a PG13 rating (teens are known for rejecting PG rated movies as too wimpy), but also attract an audience younger than that rating by marketing the movie with a cross-over storyline in a PG rated TV show.
I resent Disney putting pressure on me to take the kid to see the PG-13 film so he gets the full experience. But on the other hand, I understand why they did it. In general, I think it’s great to have both Marvel TV and Marvel Cinematic operating in the same universe with the same characters. Still, I’d rather they follow the Lady Sif model of cross-over. There a character from the films was introduced, but (so far at least), the actions of that episode haven’t had far reaching implications in either the TV or movie universes.
Disney is usually pretty good about this. They don’t even promote their PG films with kids meal toys anymore. How do you feel about the cross-over between a PG13 film and a PG rated TV show? Should Disney discourage it? or is it okay to walk that line?
(Note: this story was updated slightly to clarify my main concern.)