LOS ANGELES — The Classification and Rating Appeals Board today overturned the NC-17 rating given to the movie “Blue Valentine.” The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the NC-17 rating for “a scene of explicit sexual content.” The film is now rated R, on appeal, for “strong graphic sexual content, language, and a beating.”
In the appeal brought by the Weinstein Company, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of “Blue Valentine” from Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of the Weinstein Company, and Alan Friedman, Counsel to the Weinstein Company. The Classification and Rating Administration was represented by Chairman Joan Graves.
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About the Appeals process:
The Classification and Rating Appeals Board is made up of members of the industry knowledgeable about the distribution and exhibition of motion pictures and whose sole mission is to maintain the integrity of the voluntary ratings system. A successful appeal requires a decisive two-thirds majority affirming that the rating is “clearly erroneous.” The overriding objective of the appeals process is to ensure that the rating system remains consistent and therefore credible. The Board reviews 800-900 films each year. Usually fewer than a dozen ratings a year are appealed.
EXCLUSIVE: The MPAA has overturned the NC-17 rating on the Derek Cianfrance-directed Blue Valentine. The film will be given an R rating after Harvey Weinstein personally argued his position in today’s hearing. That clears up all kinds of potential problems that awaited the film had it been released with that rating or unrated. The rating was given for a sex scene between a married couple played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as their relationship disintegrates. I’m told the appeal board’s decision was unanimous.
Harvey Weinstein tells me that, for the first time ever, he plans to personally make the appeal to the MPAA this Wednesday. He will urge them to reduce his award season hopeful Blue Valentine’s current NC-17 rating to a more exhibition-friendly R instead. He was in town briefly last week and I caught up with him in the lobby of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Friday night where he showed up to support his stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams who were doing a Q&A after a SAG nominating committee screening. “Usually just my lawyers do the appeals, but this time I am going to,” he told me. He noted that his companies have been involved in many appeals over the years but have only won a handful of times. He’s obviously hoping this is going to be one of them, especially with his own personal plea.
Whatever the outcome, it’s clear no one milks ratings controversies for the free publicity better than Harvey. As he perused the Academy’s incredible poster displays on the walls of the Linwood Dunn (“That’s Sophia Loren in Marriage Italian Style. She was in my movie Pret A Porter”), Weinstein said he thought the awards campaign for The King’s Speech was going smoothly. He’s happy now with its new poster (the first one left something to be desired). But Harv said he really, really wants Golden Globe (and Oscar, of course) attention for Blue Valentine too. After the SAG screening he planned to follow the stars to their next stop, a BAFTA Q&A at the Pacific Design Center. Harv is in full award season battle mode now and obviously relishing the strong early limited run grosses for his Kings’ Speech.
LOS ANGELES, CA (November 18, 2010) – In response to the ratings given to two of its upcoming films, The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has engaged a formidable legal team to challenge the NC-17 rating for BLUE VALENTINE and the R rating for THE KING’S SPEECH given by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), according to TWC Co-Chair Harvey Weinstein.
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