Kids’ Toys and Costumes for the PG-13 “The Avengers”

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“The Avengers” is a PG-13 superhero movie with “intense sequences of action violence throughout and a drug reference,” according to the MPAA.  So why is it marketing the film via action figures and costumes for children?  Alert reader Andreas U. kindly brought to my attention that once again the MPAA insists that toys and costumes are not a part of movie advertising and thus not subject to the restrictions they impose on other outreach to underage audiences like commercials during programs directed at kids.  “Gamma Strike Hulk,” “Ultra Strike Captain America,” “Mighty Strike Thor” and the others, not to mention the ever-popular Hulk hands, are quite clearly intended to get children under age 13 excited about the movie.  The movie’s trailer appears on the site for ordering the toys.  This is further proof of the need for an overhaul of the MPAA ratings board.

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Elementary School Marketing to Kids Parenting

This Week: “The Avengers” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

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Two movies are opening this week, both with all-star powerhouse ensemble casts.  “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is a cheerful cozy of a film about English retirees living in India, based on the popular novel by Deborah Moggach originally titled “These Foolish Things.”  Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy star with “Downton Abbey’s” Penelope Wilton and “Calendar Girls'” Celia Imrie.  “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Dev Patel plays the idealistic proprietor.

We also have “The Avengers,” which has already broken box office records overseas with a $178 million opening.  The Avengers assembling include Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo takes over from Eric Bana and Edward Norton), Black Widow, and Hawkeye.  Can this bunch of damaged loners take on the mighty villain Loki?  I sure want to see it when they do!  With Joss Whedon writing and directing, it is sure to be smart and innovative.

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Opening This Week

Happy Screen-Free Week!

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Nationwide Screen-Free Week begins today through May 6.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has a list of some of the hundreds of activities planned by Screen-Free Week organizers:

  • Read Boston has asked 4,000 students in 12 partner schools to take the screen-free pledge! Children who return their tracking logs after break will receive a prize pack with items that promote fun (and learning) without screens.
  • Screen-Free Kansas City and the Early Years Institute in Long Island have both partnered with local businesses to offer discounted and free fun activities every day of Screen-Free Week!
  • Unplug and Play in Bozeman, Montana has organized daily events including free admission to the Museum of the Rockies, a Bike Rodeo, and Family Science Night at the Children’s Museum.Portland (Oregon) Parks and Recreation and Kaiser Permanente are offering activities including a tea party for young children, Family Game Night, and Messy Art!
  • St. John Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND is offering a Screen-Free Fellowship with games, nature activities, invigorating conversations . . . and ice cream!
  • The children’s department at the North Tonawanda (New York) Library is hosting events every evening including a Scavenger Hunt, a Craft Night, and Plant a Seed for Spring.
  • First Five Inyo County in Bishop, California is celebrating life outside the box. Families who send a picture of their child 5 or younger doing a screen-free activity win a free toy or game from their treasure chest! The Inland Preschool in Calimesa, CA is hosting a Screen-Free Week Trike-a-Thon.
  • Oakland Steiner School in Rochester Hills, Michigan is hosting Screen-Free activities all week including a Scavenger Hunt, Table Talk Dinner Game, Play with a Box Day, and a May Day celebration! The Francis Parker Afterschool Program in Chicago is asking parents and teachers to sponsor a student for charity; the longer the student goes screen-free, the more money raised!

CCFC’s List of 101 Screen-Free Activities includes:

  1. Listen to the radio.
  2. Write an article or story.
  3. Paint a picture, a mural, or a room.
  4. Write to the President, your Representative, or your Senators.
  5. Read a book. Read to someone else.
  6. Learn to change the oil or tire on a car. Fix something.
  7. Write a letter to a friend or relative.
  8. Make cookies, bread, or jam and share with a neighbor.
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Parenting

More from Ebertfest

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Many thanks to Melissa Merli of the News-Gazette for her superb coverage of Ebertfest, especially her fine pieces about the two events I moderated. She wrote about the discussion following “Higher Ground:”

Nell Minow, who with Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, joined Briggs on stage, asked how the writer would now fill out a form asking her religion.

Briggs replied she would probably “leave that little box blank” and then quoted the poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves … .”

Now an associate professor of English at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa, Briggs decided to write “This Dark World” while working on a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the University of Arkansas, where a professor told her it would sell if she told the truth.

And for our discussion following “A Separation:

When “A Separation” was announced as the Oscar winner for foreign film earlier this year, the four rows of other nominees for best foreign film all rose to give director Asghar Farhadi a standing ovation.

“He turned around and saw that, and he had tears in his eyes,” Barker related. “It’s such a testament to the power of the film.

“It defies all odds.”

Barker called the taut family drama a perfect film in every regard and Farhadi an amazing observer of social behaviors.

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Festivals

Act Fast! This Amazing Disney Giveaway Ends Tomorrow!

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Here today, gone tomorrow! This special Disney animation collection goes off the market April 30 and I have just one to give away! It includes:

  • Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition 3D
  • Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World Special Edition
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Special Edition
  • Bambi: Diamond Edition
  • Bambi 2 Special Edition

Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Beauty” in the subject line and tell me your favorite character in either “Beauty and the Beast” or “Bambi.” Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only.) I will pick a winner at random by midnight tomorrow.

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Animation Classic Contests and Giveaways
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