I found an interesting article from the American Psychological Association's (APA) journal, released late last year, that proves sex in the movies doesn’t sell. According to their research:
Although it is commonly assumed that “sex sells” in mainstream cinema, recent research indicates a far more ambiguous relation between strong sexual content and financial performance. Moreover, such content may not be justified by either critical evaluations or movie awards. The literature even suggests that cinematic sex may reflect long-term gender biases in the film industry. The current study investigates these issues by addressing two questions. First, what is the impact of sex and other graphic content on the central criteria of cinematic success? Second, to what extent is such content contingent on the proportion of women engaged in filmmaking, whether as producers, directors, writers, or actors? Analyses of 914 films released between 2001 and 2005 indicated that sex and nudity do not, on the average, boost box office performance, earn critical acclaim, or win major awards. Although female involvement does influence a film’s content, the only impact on the presence of sex and nudity is the proportion of women who make up the cast.
Though the APA finding was good news, it’s not yet a big reason for celebration. Hollywood still has a long way to go before they finally get it. Many slips in the PG or PG-13 ratings at the movies, and in TV ratings as well, allow portrayals of casual sex that are inappropriate for young audiences. Moreover, pornography remains a billion dollar industry in the world and is becoming more accessible through the web, cable and mobile phones. If there’s one consolation the APA findings bring, it’s knowing that boycotting R-rated movies will not be hard to do because not only does sex in the movies not sell, it doesn’t impress either.
(Adapted from The Point blog)