To wrap up The Dissolve's Movie of the Week examination of Joe Dante's Gremlins, Keith Phipps asked me to write a reflection on the PG-13, the lukewarm rating introduced in the summer of 1984 in response to the outcry that greeted the PG-rated Gremlins' violence and darkness, as well as that of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, released two weeks earlier. I was honored to oblige.
A surprising, random fact of which I was unaware: Gremlins, a horror comedy and the fourth-highest grossing film of 1984, was released the very same day as that year's second-biggest hit, Ivan Reitman's horror comedy Ghostbusters. That would never happen now, and yet apparently it didn't hurt either of those films back then. Neither of them could out-earn Beverly Hills Cop, however. The fact an R-rated action comedy was the biggest hit of the year is another reminder of how much Hollywood has changed in a generation-and-a-half.