'Love Is Strange' Did Well At The Box Office Because People Love a Good 'R' Rated Romance
Good to know: adults will go see R-rated movies. The Wrap reports that the Alfred Molina and John Lithgow-starring movie, Love Is Strange, did not suffer at the box office due to its R-rating. In fact, it did rather well at the specialty box office, raking in $126,552 in just five theaters. It's unsurprising that it fared so well — critics gave it very high praise, and it stars two very venerable actors, which is pretty much the point here: people will go see good movies. Oh — there's also a population of filmgoers who are not judgmental homophobe. Again, good to know.
The MPAA went under siege when the movie received its R rating — there's no nudity or graphic sexuality, which, considering the movie's subject matter (a homosexual couple), might have made some people wonder if the MPAA considered homosexuality something worthy of an R rating — it sparked some arguments that the MPAA might even be homophobic. And even though the MPAA held its ground and made sure that the movie maintained its R rating (it was because of "strong language," an MPAA spokesman told The Wrap), audiences didn't seem to mind. Might an indie flick born out of the Sundance, Tribeca, and Berlin Film Festivals not fare as well as, say, Sin City 2 when it moves beyond an art house audience? Perhaps, but that's often the nature with smaller, independent films, and right now, we're strictly looking at the box office results after a limited release.
That said, if the MPAA was looking to shield people from Love Is Strange's homosexual romance, then obviously they did not succeed. If that was the MPAA's secret agenda — and here's hoping it wasn't — then newsflash: people want to see John Lithgow and Alfred Molina act in a good movie. Also, a gay romance in a movie isn't going to deter audiences because audiences are way more open minded than the MPAA might think they are, which is obviously good news.