Weinstein's 'Bully' Doc Getting a New PG-13 Rating with Minor Cuts
Hooray, a victory against the MPAA! Well, sort of. The Weinstein Company has announced that their doc Bully, directed by Lee Hirsch, will be getting a PG-13 from the MPAA, finally, with some minor cuts. We've been keeping updates occasionally on the status of Harvey Weinstein's fight with the MPAA, which some are saying is a turning point for the MPAA, and it might just be. Reports are stating that the Weinsteins have been pushing this closely for weeks, and finally after removing three uses of the F-word, been given a PG-13 and will be re-releasing that new PG-13 version in theaters April 13th, expanding to 55 theatrical markets.
The big victory, even though they had to remove three F-words, was that they could keep the controversial school bus bullying scene unedited and uncut, which Hirsch continuously refused to edit, "since it is too important to the truth and integrity behind the film." Hirsch states: "I feel completely vindicated with this resolution. While I retain my belief that PG-13 has always been the appropriate rating for this film, as reinforced by Canada's rating of a PG, we have today scored a victory from the MPAA. The support and guidance we have received throughout this process has been incredible." In the press release (via Deadline):
This decision by the MPAA is a huge victory for the parents, educators, lawmakers, and most importantly, children, everywhere who have been fighting for months for the appropriate PG-13 rating without cutting some of the most sensitive moments. Three uses of the 'F word' were removed from other scenes, which ultimately persuaded the MPAA to lower the rating. Hirsch made the documentary with the intent to give an uncensored, real-life portrayal of what 13 million children suffer through every year. The new rating, which came about with the great support from MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd, grants the schools, organizations and cities all around the country who are lined up and ready to screen BULLY, including the National Education Association and the Cincinnati School District, the opportunity to share this educational tool with their children.
"Senator Dodd is a hero for championing this cause, and the MPAA showed great courage by not cutting the scene everyone has been fighting to keep," said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. "Senator Dodd's support gives voice to the millions of children who suffer from bullying, and on behalf of TWC, the filmmakers, the families in the film and the millions of children and parents who will now see this film, I thank him for recognizing that this very real issue cannot afford to go unnoticed."
A few weeks ago, The Weinstein Company released Bully "unrated" in theaters, but it has only been playing in two markets so far - New York and Los Angeles (barely earning ~$150K), which may make some question how much of an impact this will have. But I'm glad to see them continue fighting against the MPAA and at least getting them to succumb to a PG-13 rating. Plus, it was quite an embarrassment to see that PG rating in Canada (details here) and all the anti-MPAA propaganda I've seen on Facebook and elsewhere. No one likes the MPAA anymore and this just made it worse, but at least they've taken a step in the right direction.
The Weinstein Company, aided by the guidance and consultation from attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, announced today that the MPAA has lowered the R rating, given for some language, for Bully to a PG-13 in time for the film's April 13th expansion to 55 markets. The scene that has been at the forefront of the battle with the MPAA, the intense scene in the film that shows teen Alex Libby being bullied and harassed on a bus, has been left fully intact and unedited. Also a victory is the exception the MPAA made by allowing the film to be released with the new rating before 90 days, which is the length of time their policy states a film must wait to be in theaters after a rating change to "avoid confusion or inconvenience for moviegoers." Ha!