When the documentary ‘Bully’ premiered Monday night in Los Angeles it carried the new “unrated” designation that now leaves the screening of the film up to theater owners. The movie was originally given an R rating form the Motion Picture Association of America because of the F-bomb was used about six times by a bully in one scene. The curses automatically triggered an R under the MPAA’s guidelines. The R rating requires anyone under the age of 17 to have an adult with them. The Weinstein Company were unsuccessful in their attempts to get the rating changed to PG-13 so that the audience it was most intended to impact – children under the age of 17 could see it.
“The truth is you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s 13 who had never heard that language before,” said director Lee Hirsch. “So it’s sort of ironic to say this is not okay for kids, but a movie like ‘The Hunger Games’ or any number of movies that have graphic violence or sexual situations, that’s okay.”
A Michigan teenager Katy Butler collected more than 400,000 signatures through Change.org calling for the PG-13 rating. A number of politicians, educator groups and celebrities — including Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Bieber and Meryl Streep — have come out in support of the decision not to edit out the profanity of the film. Gerry Lopez, of AMC, the second largest theater chain in the country, not only signed Butler’s petition but also said the documentary would be shown in AMC movie theaters with access to teenagers. The AMC website has a blurb up about the movie with a trailer slugged “A MUST SEE” movie.
“Bully” is set to open in AMC and other select theaters in LA and New York this Friday. At the AMC Lincoln Square, the other Manhattan theater showing “Bully,” the 17-and-under set will be let in if they’re with an adult — or have a note from a parent, officials said. The movie is only opening in New York and Los Angeles Friday. But it’s the wide release in two weeks to 25 other markets that has had studio head Harvey Weinstein worried.
“I’m hoping that by opening in New York and L.A., where the theaters are being reasonable, maybe the other theaters will say, ‘Wait a second, we can’t treat this that way,’ but it’s becoming an ugly fight,” said Weinstein.
“By having it unrated, it has the potential for parents and kids to see it,” says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “Our job is to keep kids safe, and films like this help to do that, even if it’s tough to watch.”
The influential Parents Television Council, however, is putting pressure on national theater chains to reject the unrated film and follow the standards of the voluntary ratings system. “This movie, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system,” PTC President Tim Winter said.
A rep for the MPAA maintains the board is just performing its responsibility to inform parents of material that may be offensive — and let them be the arbiters of taste for their own children.
Regardless of how this plays out, the Weinstein Co. has successfully maneuvered to generate the kind of national attention for the film that you can’t buy, says Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. “This is a total win for the studio because the message of the movie now transcends the ratings,” he says.
Linda Webb, Fraud Expert, aka Fraud Dog, takes a strong stance on Bullying and supports the BULLYING MOVIE. As a youngster even the Fraud Dog, faced bullying in schools. It is important that we educate our youth that “bullying” will not be tolerated. Linda’s boxer dog, Buster, the fraud dog, is here to help Linda fight against fraudsters, and bullying.
Buster is working with Florida Atlantic University students to develop a free Public Service Announcement to bring more awareness to stop youth bullying. Contego Services Group, where Linda Webb is the President, is donating scholarship money to the FAU students to develop the Bullying PSA. Buster and Fraud Dog are prepared to take this Bullying Awareness program right into schools.
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