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Study shows majority of previews on rentals feature violence, sex

Penn State researchers say trailers are the same regardless of rating.

Penn State researchers say trailers are the same regardless of rating.

November 29, 2002

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - The majority of movie previews on video rentals feature violent and sexually suggestive scenes regardless of the film's MPAA rating, according to a study by Penn State University researchers.

The study, recently released in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, examined 107 movie previews featured on a random sample of 47 comedy, drama and action videos released in theaters in 1995 and 1996.

Researchers found that three-fourths of the movie previews contained at least one "scene of aggression" and almost half contained scenes with guns.

Two-thirds of trailers on videos aimed at younger viewers - films rated G, PG or PG-13 - contained at least one violent scene and a third included at least one scene with guns, the study said.

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Previews on PG-13 or R-rated films also were more likely to contain sexual images.

"The sheer prevalence of aggression and firearms in the trailers suggests that we live in a violent, gun-oriented culture, and this plays itself out in terms of how we market entertainment," said Dr. Mary Beth Oliver, co-director of Penn State's Media Effects Laboratory.

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