Netflix Should Lobby Age Minimums for Movie Theaters

I want Netflix to lobby age minimums at movie theaters. 

Why? Because I want to watch amazing PG movies without having to hear a baby cry throughout the movie. 

You might be saying, “But these movies are FOR kids.” No they’re not. These are some of the results when you Google, "best PG movies of all time”:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • The Goonies
  • Rocky
  • The Nightmare Before christmas
  • The Karate Kid
  • Star Wars
  • ET

They’re rated PG because they don’t have bad language, violence, substance abuse, nudity or sexual content. But let’s be real. What young kid understands the depth of Star Wars? They have to watch it again as adults. And even then, people are confused.

And even if these PG movies were for kids, which many are, they aren’t for kids under the age of three or four. 

I recently watched The Jungle Book with my girlfriend (pretty good movie by the way). It’s obviously a kid’s movie. Around me, there were many kids, most of which were between five and ten years old. Those kids clearly enjoyed the movie - they laughed at the funny parts and jumped at the scary parts. Those kids also clearly understood that you are not supposed to disturb anyone around you in the movie.  

But there was one child behind me that was under three years old. This child will henceforth be referred to as “baby." There is no way he or she cared about The Jungle Book and there is no way this baby will remember this movie. And I know this to be true. Why? Because the baby CRIED throughout the movie. The baby was clearly uncomfortable and his or her parents didn’t take this baby out of the theater to take care of the issue. It was a problem for everyone trying to enjoy their experience. 

I want to clarify: I am not a parent. So I can’t empathize with this situation from the parents' side. However, I was a member of an upset audience. Trust me, I wasn’t the only one upset. I observed the audience to see if I was the only one having the problem. People were looking in the direction of the baby and clearly getting irritated. This is why I want Netflix to lobby the government to institute age minimums at the movies. 

You might think: this would be a battle between Netflix and theaters. However, I see benefits for both parties. 

First, let’s think about Netflix. Parents still want to watch movies. Parents still want to make sure their babies are safe while watching the movie. They will watch movies on Netflix. They will especially watch movies on Netflix that are family friendly. Which leads to my next point: Netflix can offer studios a straight to Netflix model for those adults who want to watch movies with their babies. In a quest for content, this would be a step in the right direction. 

Now let’s think about movie theaters. Without crying babies, the experience is improved. In today’s experience economy, any improvement in experience will get butts in seats. Parents with slightly older children will perceive the experience more positively and will be more willing to bring their family. Young adults who watch and love these movies (Google: delayed adulthood) will go to the theater to enjoy the improved experience. Finally, once a child does grow past the age of three or four, parents will feel more comfortable and happy taking their kids to the theater. 

Of course, all of this hinges on a cost-benefit analysis. This NYT article tells me a lobbyist can cost 10-20k a month for a minimum of three months. So if it costs $60k, the breakeven user base is 6,007 users paying $9.99. I think it’s worth it. 

I also want to point out, this is probably not a huge deal. This was just something that chapped my ass during the movie and all I want is a solution.