After countless repeals, petitions and complaints, the MPAA refuses to change its rating for the documentary “Bully” from an R-rating to PG-13.
And now in the F-you to the ratings board, Harvey Weinstein and his film company have decided to release the film unrated.
Normally, you’d be hard pressed to find a theatre that will play an unrated film, but “Bully” is an exception.
AMC theatres have agreed to release the film, first this Friday, March 30th as a limited release to their theatres at the AMC Lincoln Square in New York and AMC Century City in Los Angeles. Three independent film theatres will also show the film: the Angelika Film centre, The Landmark and the Arclight Hollywood.
The movie will have a wide release at AMC theatres later on this year despite receiving a warning from the Parents Television Council that this move against the MPAA “threatens to derail the ratings system.”
Yesterday, AMC also announced it would allow children under the age of 17 see the film, but this comes with a condition. The underage ticket buyers must either be accompanied by a parent/guardian or they must show theatre workers this signed permission slip from their parent/guardian:
The reason for MPAA R-rating comes down to language. The movie features six mentions of the f-word which is five too many for a film to be considered PG-13. And that’s it.
But The Weinstein Company is not going completely without a rating. They have adopted the Common Sense Media rating of Pause 13+. Common Sense Media is a non-profit group based in San Francisco and this will be their first official rating for a film since its founding in 2003. This symbol will appear on “Bully” advertising:
Photo: Common Sense Media
This news comes off of the reaction to MPAA’s staunch refusal to change the “Bully” rating despite countless protests.
Michigan 17-year-old Katy Butler delivered a petition to the MPAA with more than 300,000 signatures in defence of lowering the R-rating so that the intended audiences (teens under 17) can see the film and hopefully adopt its message of anti-bullying.
A letter was also circulated through Congress by U.S. Representative Mike Honda who also wanted the MPAA to reconsider slapping the important film with a restricted rating. Honda writes: “The language in the film is a reflection of reality in our schools, on our buses, and online — something these kids experience every single day. It’s not sensationalized ‘adult content’ as your rating suggests and is oftentimes an active part of bullying itself.”
Even celebrities jumped on the chance to reprimand the MPAA over “Bully”. When The Weinstein Company took to social media to get people to petition the rating, many celebrities tweeted their support for the company and the film.
Everyone from Hugh Jackman to Rosie O’Donnell urged their Twitter followers to “take a stand” with them. Ryan Seacrest called “Bully” an “important film for our generation” while Judd Apatow‘s daughter Maude compared the ratings of “The Hunger Games” and “Bully”: “The MPAA is ridiculous. So you can kill kids in Hunger Games but not say the F curse to help kids in Bully?” she wrote.
In the end, the MPAA rating stays the same. But that’s not stopping The Weinstein Company from showing “Bully” to teens all over the country.
Watch the “Bully” trailer below. It’s a near tear-jerker.
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