There’s a brief mention of LOTR in the current issue of USA Today. It’s in the Life Section, in an article about the ratings system and the commercial success of PG-13 movies. View the entire article here.

Here’s an excerpt:

Aware of what’s at stake, studios are making sure that, whenever possible, their most commercial prospects turn out PG-13. For years, filmmakers signed contracts promising their movies would get at least an R rating. The concern was that a film rated NC-17 (the rating that replaced X) could not make money because no one under 17 may be admitted – even with a parent. Now contracts often are written to ensure that a movie comes in with a rating no more restrictive than PG-13.

As part of his deal, director Sam Raimi, for example, had to make sure that For Love of the Game wasn’t going to be R-rated. Filmmaker Peter Jackson, now shooting the three Lord of the Rings films, is obligated to do the same.

Even when there isn’t a binding mandate, industry players aim for PG-13. Filmmakers often pre-emptively cut scenes the MPAA board might find objectionable, and a rating can always be appealed.

Thanks to Krosshair for the tip!