There's always been a lot of controversy over what content pushes a movie over the line from a PG-13 to an R. A single three-second sequence or a couple of words can be all that differentiate the two. Crossing that line can cost a studio a bunch of money since it's harder (though far from impossible) for the early teenagers that are so prized by studios to get in. But what about the difference between a PG and a PG-13?
As films which appeal to the whole family are increasingly profitable and popular there may be a sort of "ratings creep" happening in the MPAA's decision making. That's at least the opinion reached after Harvard and UCLA conducted surveys over the last two years. It appears that movies which are kid-themed such as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe might get a PG for sequences that might earn a PG-13 in a movie aimed squarely at adults. The MPAA sticks to the story that most parents are satisfied with the ratings system but there's little (reasonable) doubt that it feels pressure from studios to assign ratings to blockbuster releases that will help box-office returns when at all possible.