The film industry’s two chief lobbyists stayed on message at a brief press conference this afternoon that mostly dealt with the movie ratings initiative introduced this morning. The effort to clarify the reasons why a film has a particular rating, and to keep movie trailers in sync with the film that follows, is “terribly, terribly important,” MPAA’s Chris Dodd says. The box that describes a film’s content is better than the current version because “you don’t have to squint to read it.” And the effort to match trailers with films will avoid “a lot of confusion.” NATO’s John Fithian added that his board’s unanimous support for the new system — and an agreement to run ads promoting it —  is a big deal because “you’re asking business people to give up millions of dollars to do the right thing.” Is this a response to last year’s school shootings in Sandy Hook, and those who say that excessively gruesome films help to desensitize people — including impressionable kids — to violence? Not exactly, they said. Hollywood has been “constantly engaged with the parenting public,” Dodd says. “We said from the very beginning that we’re willing to be part of the conversation.”

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