Some Audiences Tire of Expletive-Filled Films, Study Finds

Movie Theater Interior - H 2012
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Movie Theater Interior - H 2012

Republicans object to cussing in movies far more than do Democrats.

Filmmakers using “fuck,” “Goddam” and “Jesus Christ” as a swear risk losing some of their audience, according to a new Harris poll.

Using “Jesus Christ” to swear is the biggest offense, with 33 percent of the general public saying they’d be less likely to see a movie if they knew beforehand of that particular piece of dialogue. “Goddam” was second at 32 percent and “fuck” was third with 31 percent.

Naturally, various demographics disagree on the acceptability of profanity in movies, with young people not minding nearly as much as the elderly. In fact, more than half of those 72 years of age and older will avoid movies with “Goddam” and “fuck” in the dialogue.

Also, Republicans are turned off by swearing more so than are Democrats, and it’s not even close. “Fuck,” for example, will repel 45 percent of Republican moviegoers and only 25 percent of Democrats.

Opinions also vary among the sexes, with 37 percent of females saying “fuck” bothers them in movies while only 26 percent of males agree.

While Harris conducted the poll, it was commissioned by the filmmakers behind Generational Sins, a faith-based movie with 32 expletives that was recently rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

Those behind Generational Sins were also interested in the opinions of Christians vs. non-Christians, though they say they target both in their movie, which deals with abuse, alcoholism and redemption.

Indeed, Evangelical Christians have the biggest problem with swearing, with 90 percent saying they might avoid a film using “Jesus Christ” to swear, 86 percent saying the same about “Goddam” and 74 percent objecting to “fuck.”

Evangelicals, which the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life says make up about 26 percent of the U.S. population, also object to milder swearing like “shit,” “damn,” “hell,” “piss” and “crap” far more so than do secular audiences, though none of those words scored above 50 percent even among Evangelicals.

“Despite everything that's been coming out in the press about how profane and decidedly un-Christian the film is, we always knew we were making a PG-13 movie,” said director Spencer Folmar. "We didn't set out to be exploitative ... it isn't gratuitous."

Freestyle Digital Media, owned by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, will open Generational Sins theatrically and digitally on Oct. 6.