Production on “Terminator Salvation” starts today. Will have PG-13 rating.

Here’s one more reason not to be excited about the fourth installment in the Terminator movie series. They’re aiming to make it a kid friendly PG-13:

As production starts today on “Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins,” the next installment in the action franchise, producers at the Halcyon Co. say they aim to deliver a PG-13 movie to Warner Bros. for release on May 22, 2009.

The “Terminator” series is one of the highest-grossing R-rated franchises of all time, with the first three films having grossed more than $1.03 billion worldwide. But Halcyon producers thought it was time to broaden the upcoming fourth film’s audience base, and they believe the PG-13 won’t compromise the series’ gritty vision.

“The ratings have changed,” said Halcyon co-founder and co-CEO Victor Kubicek, a broker-turned-writer-producer. “The PG-13 has increased in intensity.”

It appears the success of Live Free or Die Hard last summer was enough to convince the folks who bought the rights to the Terminator series that moving from R to PG-13 would be a good idea. I’m already leery of a fourth Terminator film due to abysmal third installment and the rather wobbly (so far) TV series and it doesn’t help that they hired the guy who wrote the third movie to also write the fourth one. Toning it down for a younger audience may just be a deal breaker for me.

I’m also getting a bit tired of the mad rush to make everything PG-13. This is particularly true of the horror genre where it seems it’s either a decidedly non-scary PG-13 or an over-the-top torture-porn rated R. The original Terminator was as much a horror movie as a sci-fi movie and the sequel did a good job of fitting into the same mold. Part of the reason the third movie failed for me was that it wasn’t particularly scary. Considering how non-scary most of the PG-13 horror flicks of late have been it’s hard to see how the drop in rating on the next Terminator will improve things at all.