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PTC Slams New Movie Ratings: 'Distinction Without a Difference'

Parents Television Council president Tim Winter contends the film business is trying to cover itself in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.

LAS VEGAS -- Hours after the film industry announced minor tweaks to the movie ratings system, the Parents Television Council blasted the campaign for not going far enough.

"This is an attempt to keep ultra-violent movies rated PG-13, versus giving them an R rating," PTC president Tim Winter told THR Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Motion Picture Association of America chairman-CEO Christopher Dodd and National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian took the stage at CinemaCon to unveil the new effort, designed to further help parents decide which movies to take their kids to see. The two trade groups jointly administer the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA).

The new "Check the Box" campaign will highlight descriptions of why a movie received a certain rating. Also, there will be a tag attached to trailers explaining that the trailer is approved to play with the feature they came to see. The campaign includes a new PSA as well as a new poster that will be displayed at theaters nationwide.

The effort stems in part from a commitment made to Vice President Joe Biden in the wake of the December shooting in Newtown, Conn. Both Dodd and Fithian met with a special task force on gun violence headed by the vice president.

"This is camouflage and a distinction without a difference," Winter said. "For any ratings system to be helpful, it has to be accurate, consistent, transparent and truthful. The industry is simply trying to give itself cover."

According to Winter, one example of a movie that should have been rated R, not PG-13, was Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.