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Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group that helps parents, teachers and lawmakers figure out what’s best for children, has created a new seal of approval for kid-friendly movies, with the first one going to Disney’s upcoming Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
The so-called Common Sense Seal will be awarded to several movies each year, and Common Sense Media founder and CEO Jim Steyer says he envisions branching out with seals for video games, music and television.
Since its founding in 2003, Common Sense Media has reviewed about 6,000 films, though the newly created seal of approval will only be used for about 10 new films annually and be issued in advance of their release. Companies that license Common Sense Media’s content — such as its film reviews and age-based ratings — include Netflix, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and more.
Insiders say Disney had some of the film’s cast members speak about the Common Sense Seal in a video recording that could be posted online. Beyond that, the studio is still brainstorming ideas as to how it will use the seal in its marketing of Alexander, which opens Oct. 10. Studio chairman Alan Horn, though, called it an “honor” that the movie “has been chosen by Common Sense Media for this inaugural award celebrating its positive message for audiences.”
When Common Sense Media reviews a film, it not only does so for entertainment and artistic quality, but also for appropriateness for children. Categories include “parents need to know,” “positive messages,” “violence,” “sex,” “language” and more.
There’s also something called “consumerism,” and in this category the Common Sense Media review notes that in Alexander there exists a plug for Wreck-It Ralph, also a Disney film, and that there are references to iPhones, the TV show Gossip Girl and the supermarket Trader Joe’s.
There’s also a section called “families can talk about,” and in this category Common Sense Media says Alexander can spur conversations about cyber-bullying and how best to respond to a boyfriend or girlfriend who is mistreating you.
“Our goal is to help kids and parents make good choices and to incentivize high quality, great content,” Steyer said. “The big winners here are consumers and film studios.”
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