The Weinstein Company and the MPAA have come to terms on a PG-13 rating for Bully, the timely documentary that would have been hamstrung by an R rating for objectionable language. TWC released it without a rating, which didn’t help matters. The compromise is that the film is shy a few cuss words, but retains a chilling scene depicting bullies in action. And the brouhaha has given the film a ton of free publicity and attention that documentaries rarely receive.
A statement by MPAA ratings board chairman Joan Graves said this afternoon that The Weinstein Company resubmitted an edited version of Bully, and the board gave the new version a PG-13 “for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language – all involving kids.” Graves stated “the ratings system has worked exactly as it is supposed to” and emphasized the same process is available to all filmmakers. The MPAA has also granted The Weinstein Company a waiver eliminating the usual 90-day window required between the release of two differently-rated versions of the same movie, which allows TWC to release the PG-13 Bully now.
April 5, 2012 – New York, NY – The Weinstein Company (TWC), 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. BULLY director Lee Hirsch felt editing the scene was not an option, and subsequently refused to do so, since it is too important to the truth and integrity behind the film.