Is Warner Bros. risking fixing a franchise that isn't broken by going PG with its latest Harry Potter movie, Half-Blood Prince? In an unusual twist on the usual ratings complaints, Warners wasn't seeking a gentler family-friendly rating, writes Pam McClintock :
Rather, the ratings board determined that nothing depicted on the screen warranted the more restrictive PG-13 designation.
Yes, the franchise is so established at this point that PG may not harm its b.o. potential. But why take a chance? Why not include some PG-13 material just to be on the safe side? This is where critics and PR will help--a lot. So far, early word is that the movie skews adult, dark and thriller, so the franchise hasn't exactly turned soft and fuzzy. Stories and reviews will clue in teens and adults that the movie can be intense and PG at the same time. And parents will feel safe to bring the little ones.