Movies: 13 Going On 17?

Katherine Bell was carded when she went to see "The Girl Next Door," but it's not what you think. Bell, 15, got through the doors of the Peoria, Ill., theater with her R-Card--a new offering that allows viewers under 17 into restricted films without their folks. "I got it because I want to see movies with my boyfriend, and he's older," Bell says, adding that "lots of underclassmen have it" at her school.

Bell received the card, offered by GKC Theatres, a Midwestern chain, after her father, David, signed a form at the box office that said she could see R-rated movies. "I think kids mostly get into movies anyway," he says. In test markets as many as 12 percent of local high-school students signed up, along with kids as young as 11.

Not everyone's a fan. "I'm totally opposed to it," says Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. "I think it's ruptured the intent of the rating system." The National Association of Theatre Owners is putting pressure on the chain to revoke the card, but a GKC spokesman says it'll be expanded to more theaters by the end of the summer.

Join the Discussion