NEW YORK (UPI) -- U.S. movies producers, distributors and exhibitors have agreed on a rating system which will exclude children under 16 from pictures considered unsuitable for their age group.
The system will divide movies into four categories: G, open to anyone; M, recommended for mature audiences but children may go; R, children under 16 admitted only if accompanied by an adult, and X, children under 16 not admitted under any circumstances.
The United States is the last major Western nation to adopt such a system, and one of the few in which it is to be administered by private interests rather than the government.
It was not certain immediately whether the ratings will satisfy such organizations as the National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures, which had warned that it would press for government classification of films if the industry failed to act.
The new plan was announced jointly at a news conference Monday by Jack J. Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America; Louis Nizer, the association's general counsel; Munio Podhorzer, a director of the International Film Importers and Distributors of America, and Julian S. Rifkin, president of the National Association of Theater Owners. Valenti's organization, representing major U.S. producer-distributors, and Podhorzer's association, representing distributors of foreign films, between them cover all but a small percentage of the films released in this country.
Rifkin's group represents an estimated 10,000 of the nation's 13,000 movie theaters. Enforcement of the rating plan will depend largely on the cooperation of theater owners and managers. Valenti estimated that the three organizations among them handle about 95 per cent of U.S. movie business.