Is an R rating next for Harry Potter -- As Harry grows up, the movies get more risque

By Whitney Pastorek
August 19, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Kids. One moment they’re frolicking under the Whomping Willow, and next thing you know they’re, like, thinking about making out ‘n’ stuff. Yes, the Harry Potter franchise became a man recently when the MPAA smacked the fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (due Nov. 18), with a very grown-up PG-13 rating. ”We anticipated at some point this was going to happen,” says Dawn Taubin, president of marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures. ”It was just a question of when.” Although the rating — the MPAA is concerned about ”sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images” — may lop a serious portion of the audience off at their 6-year-old knees, producer David Heyman is unfazed. ”Kids loathe to be patronized,” he says. ”The most important thing for us is to maintain the fidelity to the material. [It’s] a little frightening at times, but that’s the book.” (What’s so scary, exactly? Try the murder of a Hogwarts schoolmate and the rebirth of You-Know-Who.) Parents might flinch a bit, but a PG-13 certainly didn’t hurt the latest Star Wars outing, another all-ages title, or either Spider-Man film. Only, hold up: In the wake of the painfully tragic sixth book, Half-Blood Prince. . .goodness, does R-rated territory lie ahead? ”I don’t think we’ll ever get there,” Taubin says with a laugh. ”One movie at a time.”