AMFM Studios saw a pre-screening of Cowboys and Aliens, and it was a good time. Awesome special effects, gritty acting, and beautifully filmed. It did what a good film is supposed to do, suspend a few hours of reality and takes us to a place where good guys do win. It seems not everyone is happy with the depiction of the main character though, Legacy is miffed that it shows a hero figure indulging in a common pleasure – smoking – and is afraid of the influence it will have on children.
Universal Takes One Step Forward, Two Steps Back with Major Smoking Scenes in Youth-Rated Blockbuster
WASHINGTON, July 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Cowboys & Aliens, released today, will be reaching young theater audiences around the country with images of smoking that could motivate many of them to light up for the first time. Previous research has already confirmed a link between smoking images in movies and youth smoking initiation.
Universal Studios, spotlighted just two weeks ago in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report as one of three movie companies that pared smoking in movies rated for youth by 96 percent, released the PG-13 blockbuster today, which features a cowboy hero, portrayed by Daniel Craig, who is seen smoking in key scenes.
“Just weeks ago, we applauded Universal for responding to this problem so responsibly by nearly eliminating tobacco from their G, PG and PG-13 movies,” said David Dobbins, Chief Operating Officer of Legacy®, the national public health foundation devoted to youth smoking prevention and adult smoking cessation. “This reversal confirms that without a uniform policy, young people will continue to see images of smoking that can inevitably cause them to smoke. It underscores how critical it is for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to take a much-needed leadership role and adopt a comprehensive policy on smoking by which all studios must abide.”
In a July 15, 2011 CDC report, findings revealed that Universal, Disney and Warner Bros., had reduced tobacco incidents per youth-rated movie by 96 percent on average between 2005 and 2010. The data found that three other major studios — Fox, Sony and Paramount — had performed remarkably less well (42%).
In order to reduce youth exposure to tobacco imagery and level the playing field for all movie companies, public health groups like Legacy recommended that future movies with smoking be R-rated. The CDC’s report earlier this month underscored that point, saying, “Consistent with the effects of anti-tobacco use policies adopted by the three motion picture companies, expanding the R-rating to include movies with smoking could further reduce exposures of young persons to onscreen tobacco incidents, making smoking initiation less likely.”
So far in 2011, major Hollywood studios have released at least 15 youth-rated movies with tobacco imagery, all but two with PG-13 ratings: Fox: Monte Carlo, Water for Elephants; Sony: Country Strong, The Green Hornet, Jumping the Broom, Priest, Midnight in Paris; Paramount: Rango (PG); Justin Bieber (G); Universal: Cowboys & Aliens, Hanna, Larry Crowne; Warner Bros.: Sucker Punch, Unknown, The Rite.
Cowboys & Aliens, distributed by Universal (Comcast), was produced by DreamWorks with Reliance (India), Relativity and Imagine Entertainment. It was shot in New Mexico on a reported $100 million budget, with public subsidies.
 Glantz S, Mitchell S, Titus K, Polansky JR, Kaufmann R, Bauer U (2011) Smoking in top-grossing movies – United States, 2010. MMWR 60(27);909-913
 UCSF CTCRE preliminary analysis of Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! Data (Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails.