Connected, Happiest Season, Freaky and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

By Chris Kavan - 09/16/20 at 11:15 AM CT

One step forward, two steps back as it now looks like Tenet's ambitious plan to get people back into theaters has not instilled confidence that people are ready to commit to returning. Now that Wonder Woman 1984, The King's Man Candyman have all been delayed, it is sounding more and more like Disney is going to also delay Black Widow (currently scheduled for November 06) and Soul (November 20th) with some even saying Soul could go directly to Disney+. The latest movie to change dates is Gerard Butler's disaster film Greenland - which no longer has a specified release date (it was supposed to come out in September). Things aren't going to get better - fall/winter is prime flu season, which will only compound issues people already face. That leaves the next James Bond film, No Time to Die, as the biggest film on the horizon... and it doesn't premiere until November 20th. There is a single new wide release for the rest of September, and while October has more - none (save for Death on the Nile) stand out as potential blockbusters. Tenet is not going to be able to sustain moviegoers for that long. The only saving grace is going to be if New York and California open up the rest of their theaters - but even that may not be enough to salvage a brutal fall.

The show must go on - so here we are with a decent list this week. We have a new animated film, a new holiday romance and, though limited, a smart-looking horror film from the creators of Happy Death Day. All in all, not too bad, though we'll see if any of these films stick to their landing date.

MPAA Official Logo

Out of all the genres of films out there, family films have been dealt the biggest sting from Covid. Trolls World Tour and Artemis Fowl skipped theaters, Mulan went premium PVOD, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run has only seen a theatrical release in Canada and now even Soul is rumored to be pushed to steaming. But still on the upcoming schedule is Connected. The animated offering from Sony follows Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) who is over the moon when she is accepted into her dream college.But in the over-connected world, her father, Rink (Danny McBride) has found himself more and more disconnected than he has ever been. On impulse, he decides a family road trip is the best way to reconnect and so he packs up the family including wife Linda (Maya Rudolph), son Aaron (Michael Rianda) and their beloved pug on a cross-country trip to get to said college. Too bad they run smack dab into the tech uprising caused by Pal - new robotic helpers that go rogue and threaten all of humanity. The trailer makes this look to be a lot of fun and in regular times I think this would be a mid-level hit. Given it's the only family-friendly title on the release schedule for the next two months, it has that going for it - provided things stay as they are (which, as always, is not a given anymore). Rated Rated PG for action and some language.

You can't enjoy the upcoming holiday season without an appropriated holiday-set romance. So if you enjoy that kind of thing Happiest Season has you covered. Clea DuVall follows up her directorial debut, The Intervention, with this rom-com that follows Abby (Kristen Stewart) who is ready to propose to her girlfriend, Harper (Mackenzie Davis) at Christmas only to learn that Harper has kept their relationship a secret from her family. That family includes her conservative mother and father (Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber) with the likes of Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy, Clea DuVall herself and Ana Gasteyer along to make things as awkward as possible. Taking rom-coms into same-sex territory will have a certain segment of the populace up in arms, but the killer cast show assuage more discerning moviegoers. Plus it has scored the plum Thanksgiving spot, so romance-starved audiences have plenty of time to show up in support. This is the kind of feel-good film we need to raise spirits. Hopefully it arrives as planned. Rated Rated PG-13 for some language.

Now on the limited release front when I choose to highlight a film, it's something that personally has me interested. I was a big fan of Happy Death Day (the sequel was only so-so) and it makes me happy the people involved are sticking with horror in the upcoming body-swap film Freaky. Obviously a play on Freaky Friday, this version follows high school student Millie (Kathryn Newton - Big Little Lies and Blockers) who finds herself inexplicably switched with a serial killer known as the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) and, what's more, learns she has a mere 24 hours before this change becomes permanent. Happy Death Day was a horror-themed version of Groundhog Day, so it's only natural that Freaky is horror-themed version of another family/comedy staple the body-swap. Horror films have done well in limited release and this just seems like a fun, smart entry into the genre. Alan Ruck, Uriah Shelton, Katie Finneran and Kelly Lamor Wilson round out the cast. Now I kind of want to see what they decide to tackle next. Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, and language throughout.

Another week, another decent offering but you still have the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin to peruse below:


Rated PG for action and some language.


Rated G


Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, and language throughout.


Rated PG-13 for some language.


Rated R for language, drug use, some sexual references, brief nudity and violence.


Rated R for language and some drug use.


Rated R for brief violence.


Rated R for strong drug use, bloody violence and language throughout, and some sexual content.


Rated PG for thematic content involving drug addiction, and some language.


Rated R for language throughout, sexual references and violence.


Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, sexuality, nudity, language throughout and some drug references.


Rated PG for sequences of violence and peril, scary images, some thematic elements and brief language.


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