Sex scenes out, special effects in: Hollywood aims to dazzle, not titillate, as film industry abandons 'adult scenes' for family friendly fun

 

Hollywood filmmakers are abandoning sex scenes in favour of dazzling special effects, film industry analysts have claimed.

The last time a film with an extended raunchy set piece topped the US box office yearly chart was in 1997, when Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio made love in a car in James Cameron’s Titanic.

It is thought that including adult material could prevent films achieving a family-friendly certificate, restricting a film’s audience and box office potential.

Vincent Bruzzese, president of the film division of market research company Ipsos, told the Sunday Times: “Sex scenes used to be written, no matter what the plot, to spice up a trailer. But all that does today is get a film an adult-only rating and lose a younger audience. Today such scenes are written out by producers before they are even shot.

“They ask: do we really need the sex? Can we fill the space with dazzling special effects instead and keep the family-friendly rating?”

In this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees at the Academy Awards, Django Unchained caused controversy with its violence and language, while Zero Dark Thirty came under fire for its depiction of torture.

But there were no explicit sex scenes, even in Silver Linings Playbook, in which Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence plays a sex addict.

A recent market report for Warner Bros suggested that while female cinemagoers enjoy seeing handsome male actors on screen, they’re turned off by sex scenes that do not serve the plot.

The British Board of Film Classification confirmed that in the UK, the percentage of adult-only movies dropped from 12 per cent in 2001 to 8 per cent in 2011.

Adrian Lyne, the director of the sexually charged 1987 blockbuster Fatal Attraction, said his risqué films would never get the greenlight from film studios today. “Not in a thousand years. I can’t think of the last relationship piece that was a success – which is apparently why I haven’t done something for quite a while now.”

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