Would you have liked Terminator Salvation more if Moon Bloodgood's topless bit hadn't been cut out? Would you have been more likely to see the movie in theaters if you knew there was a flash of boob? Probably not, according to a recent psychological study, which looked at 914 movies released between 2001 and 2005 to determine if sex indeed sells at the cinema.

The results of the study say no: "sex and nudity do not, on the average, boost box office performance, earn critical acclaim or win major awards." Well, the research did show that the Golden Globes are more favorable to movies with sex scenes than the Oscars, which might make sense given that many foreign moviegoers (particularly those in Europe) are more accepting of nudity than American viewers, though it's unlikely the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is thinking about sex while determining its nominees.

In contrast, the study actually showed that sex sells even less outside the U.S., which may be because a number of international markets, such as those in Asia and the Middle East, are more censoring of such content.

In general I have a problem with this study's claims. The obvious reason that movies featuring sex and nudity don't profit as much theatrically as more chaste films is that both the rating and the content excludes a good percentage of moviegoers. Nothing has changed since twenty years ago, when sex comedies and sexy thrillers made bank, except the strictness of theaters regarding R-rated movies.

On top of that, the popularity of home video over theatrical viewing is probably also a factor. People are surely more apt to rent a movie they're drawn to primarily for the sex and nudity than to go watch that film in public. Did these researchers not take into consideration that during the years studied that the trend of releasing unrated versions of films on DVD became a huge trend? Or think about where home video figures into a film's profitability?

Sure, sex and nudity may not be a main incentive for people to see a movie, and it might not help the theatrical release, but it certainly remains a positive selling point to some people. If this study were actually true for movie watching in general, I doubt MrSkin.com would exist, and I don't think a film like Powder Blue would have garnered so much attention and subsequently sold or rented as well as it did. Somewhat relative, the TV series Gossip Girl didn't see a 20% increase in viewers for its threesome episode because of anything other than the well-publicized sex scene.

Never mind that Americans have, as a whole, seemingly become more puritanical in some regards over the past decade. And forget the fact that this week's biggest movie focuses on the idea of NOT having sex. I still disagree completely with the implications of this study.

What do you think of the study's findings? Do you ever see a movie because it has sex and nudity? Will you be renting Terminator Salvation when it hits video in two weeks solely to see Bloodgood's breasts (actually, you can just watch it here)?

(via Movieline)
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical