R-Card Lets Kids Into R-Rated Movies

Introducing the R-card — a teenager's ticket to an unchaperoned world of R-rated movies.

At Illinois-based GKC Theatres, which serves 24 cities in the Midwest, kids 17 and under are now able to view R-rated movies without being accompanied by a parent.

Any child can get an R-card, as long as an adult guardian comes to the box office to apply for the card to lessen the chances of a forged signature and pays the $2 fee.

Brenda Pickney is buying one for her 14-year-old niece.

"I think she is very mature for her age," she said.

Her niece, Kaylin, agreed: "I think I'm old enough to see movies with bad language and stuff like that."

But the motion picture industry does not approve.

"I think it distorts and ruptures the intent of this voluntary film ratings system. All R-rated films are not alike," said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

The theater chain claims the cards are a convenience for parents who already allow their kids to see R-rated movies, but would rather not go along.

The R-card is available now at nine theaters and there are plans to expand the program to about 30 theaters by the end of the year.

Convenience, or Lazy Parenting?

Critics think the card makes it too easy for parents to give up their responsibility.

"If you are too uninterested to properly chaperone the viewing habits of your kids, just sign this card and hey, your kid can get into any R-rated movie he wants, and you don't have to worry your lazy, lackadaisical parental butt about it," said Dan Gire, president of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

Joyce Needham got one for her 16-year-old grandson, Jordan Delgadillo, an aspiring filmmaker with a taste for action.

"I believe Jordan is responsible enough to make his choice in movies. It's just taken away a lot of the hassle for me," she said.

"Great, I can get in without my grandma," said Delgadillo.

His best friend, 15-year-old Andy Alexander, wants an R-card too, but his mother, Sandy, has other plans.

"He's only 15. He's got time. There are some things you can wait for," she said.