The color of the background for movie rating cards is important. The rating for the film itself shows up in text, but is also indicated by the background color of the rating card splash screen.
There are three colors
used - red, yellow, and green. The specific regulations
surrounding what can be shown in the preview for each of these
rating cards are set by the MPAA.
The most commonly seen
one is the green rating card. Before April of 2009, a green
background meant that the preview was approved for all
audiences. Since April of 2009, the MPAA now states that the
green card is for “appropriate audiences”. This basically means
it is appropriate for audiences in theaters, taking into account
what movie the audience is about to watch.
A yellow rating card
indicates the preview is for age-appropriate Internet viewers
and is used on internet trailers only. The red rating card
indicates that content in the preview is only appropriate for
mature audiences. These previews can only be shown in theaters
where the movie about to be watched is R-rated, NC-17-rated, or
must be less than two minutes and 30 seconds, as mandated by the
MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). The MPAA gives
each movie studio one exception to this a year where they are
allowed to show a trailer that is longer than 2 minutes and 30
seconds. Trailers shown online can be any length. The rating
system itself is entirely voluntary on the part of studios.
However, having a film rated tends to boost revenues
significantly, so nearly all major studios submit all their
films for rating.