You’ve probably noticed the ongoing struggle between the Weinstein Company and the dicks at the MPAA over the rating for the documentary Bully, which examines bullying in American schools. The MPAA gave the film an R rating for language, which means it probably tripped across one of the arbitrary language lines the MPAA have thrown up for every dirty word. “Fuck,” for instance, can’t be used in a non-sexual sense (i.e. just cursing, not talking about doin’ it) more than four times without getting an automatic R. After a weeks long debate/PR campaign against the MPAA, and following one final vote to have the film’s rating changed to PG-13, The Weinstein Company has decided to release the film without a rating this Friday rather than edit the film down. As a result, it’s likely some theater chains will not screen the film, as AMC, Regal, and the like often have stringent policies on ratings.
Here’s what I don’t get about this. The Weinsteins clearly care a lot about this picture, and, indeed, once you read Max’s review on Thursday, you’ll understand that it’s a very powerful, important movie. They’re fighting to have it released in the most unfiltered way possible, without edits, in order for the film’s purest possible message to reach the younger audience that, by all accounts, needs to see it. That’s cool. Commendable, even. However, they bend over backwards to get The King’s Speech edited down so they can re-release it as a PG-13 for purely financial reasons/an Oscar stunt.
Seriously, dudes. I’d make a crack about having your cake and eating it too, but those tubby bastards don’t need any more cake-related advice. Read the full press release after the cut.
BULLY TO BE RELEASED UNRATED ON MARCH 30
March 26, 2012 – New York, NY – After a recent plea to the MPAA by BULLY teen Alex Libby and The Weinstein Company (TWC) Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein failed – by one vote – to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30.
Furthering proof that the R rating for some language is inappropriate for a film that’s meant to educate and help parents, teachers, school officials and children with what’s become an epidemic in schools around the country, the fight against the rating continues on. The outpour of support by politicians, schools, parents, celebrities and activists for the film’s mission to be seen by those it was made for – children – has been overwhelming. Nearly half a million people have signed Michigan high school student and former bullying victim Katy Butler’s petition on Change.org to urge the MPAA to lower the rating.
Said BULLY Director Lee Hirsch, “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it’s up to the theaters to let them in.”
“The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what’s right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves. We’re working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country,” said TWC President of Marketing Stephen Bruno.
For parents or teachers who are looking for more information or who may have concerns about showing children a movie unrated by the MPAA, please read Common Sense Media’s rating details of the film here: http://www.commonsensemedia.
“While it’s often heartbreaking and deals with tough issues like suicide, the movie addresses bullying in a frank and relatable way that is age appropriate for teens and relevant for middle schoolers if an adult is present to guide the discussion,” said James P. Steyer, Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media. “The MPAA’s ratings system is inadequate when it comes looking at a movie’s content through the lens of its larger thematic issues. Common Sense Media provides alternative ratings for parents who are looking for more guidance and context than the MPAA provides.”
BULLY will be released in theaters on Friday, March 30th in New York at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square and in Los Angeles at The Landmark, ArcLight Hollywood and AMC Century City.
BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.
ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as SCREAM, SPY KIDS and SCARY MOVIE. Together TWC and Dimension Films have released a broad range of mainstream, genre and specialty films that have been commercial and critical successes. TWC releases took home eight 2012 Academy Awards®, the most wins in the studio’s history. The tally included Best Picture for Michel Hazanavicius’s THE ARTIST and Best Documentary Feature for TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay’s UNDEFEATED. THE ARTIST brought TWC its second consecutive Best Picture statuette following the 2011 win for Tom Hooper’s THE KING’S SPEECH.
Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as GRINDHOUSE; I’M NOT THERE; THE GREAT DEBATERS; VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; THE ROAD; HALLOWEEN; THE PAT TILLMAN STORY; PIRANHA 3D; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; A SINGLE MAN; BLUE VALENTINE; THE COMPANY MEN; MIRAL; SCRE4M; SUBMARINE; DIRTY GIRL; APOLLO 18; OUR IDIOT BROTHER; I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT; SARAH’S KEY; and SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D. Currently in release are MY WEEK WITH MARILYN; THE ARTIST; THE IRON LADY; CORIOLANUS; W.E.; and UNDEFEATED. Upcoming releases include BULLY and THE INTOUCHABLES. Recently wrapped was SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and currently in production is DJANGO UNCHAINED.
TWC is also active in television production, led by former Miramax Films President of Production and current President of Television Meryl Poster, with credits including the Emmy® nominated and Peabody Award winning reality series Project Runway, spin-off series Project Accessory and Project Runway All Stars, the VH1 reality series Mob Wives, and the critically acclaimed HBO comedy/crime series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency which also received a Peabody Award. The company is currently in pre-production on the martial-arts epic Marco Polo for Starz as well as production on the second season of Mob Wives and the newest installment in the series’ franchise Mob Wives Chicago. TWC additionally has 17 series in different stages of development, including The Nanny Diaries, being adapted for ABC by Amy Sherman Palladino (Gilmore Girls).