Harvey Weinstein wants a PG-13 for documentary so it can be shown in schools
The Weinstein Co. won't be cowed into accepting an R rating for its upcoming documentary "Bully."
Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein will appeal the Motion Picture Association of America's [MPAA] decision to assign an R rating to the Lee Hirsch film, which takes "an urgent and intimate look at America’s bullying crisis."
The R rating, which was granted on the basis of "some language," means that "Bully" (pictured) couldn't be viewed in theaters by children under 17 unless they were accompanied by a parent or guardian. It would also prevent the film from being screened in middle and high schools — the very people it might help most.
The appeal will take place Feb. 23 at the MPAA's Sherman Oaks, Calif. screening room. Ethan Noble, of Motion Picture Consulting LLC, will assist the company. Weinstein will be joined at the appeal by Alex Libby, a bullied child featured in the film.
While acknowledging his "great respect" for MPAA chairman Joan Graves and the rest of the organization's governing body, Weinstein said in a statement that he is resolute in his desire to get "Bully"'s rating knocked down to a PG-13.
“As a father of four, I worry every day about bullying; it’s a serious and ever-present concern for me and my family. I want every child, parent, and educator in America to see 'Bully,' so it is imperative for us to gain a PG-13 rating," Weinstein said. "It’s better that children see bad language than bad behavior, so my wish is that the MPAA considers the importance of this matter as we make this appeal.”
According to an MPAA spokesperson, more than one use of the "f-word" warrants an automatic R rating, unless there is a 2/3 vote by the ratings board to override that rule.
The Weinstein Co. has had some past success in convincing the MPAA to reverse its ratings decisions, which traditionally has been a rare feat. Notably, in December 2010, the company persuaded the organization to knock the rating for the Ryan Gosling/Michelle Williams drama "Blue Valentine" from an NC-17 to an R.
"Bully" — whichever rating it ends up tagged with — is scheduled to hit theaters on March 30. In the meantime, here's the trailer for the film.
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