Documentary on Bullying to Open With No Rating
After weeks of storm, stress and no small amount of pressure — online and otherwise — over the R rating assigned to the antibullying documentary “Bully,” the Weinstein Company said late Monday that it would release the film without a rating.
That decision appears to mark something of a draw between the Weinstein operation and the Classification and Rating Administration, which is overseen by both theater owners and the Motion Picture Association of America.
The studio, filmmakers, and supporters had argued that the R rating, assigned for harsh language, was too restrictive and would keep those who might benefit most — young people — from seeing the film. An online petition advocating a lesser rating was signed by some 475,000 people, and the effort was supported by celebrities like Justin Bieber, Meryl Streep and Drew Brees.
The board stood by its standards, contending that an exception for “Bully” would open a Pandora’s box of difficult, if not impossible, decisions about the intent and potential effect of film language. When the film opens in commercial theaters on Friday, theater owners will now fall back on scattershot policies under which some may simply refuse to show the film, while others may restrict who gets in.
In any case, the ratings battle — as with those around past Weinstein films like “Miral,” “Blue Valentine,” “The King’s Speech,” “Tillman,” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” — has brought the film a level of attention it might never have enjoyed without the ratings brawl.
Check out the trailer below.