Weinstein Co. to Release Unrated 'Bully' in Protest of 'R'

Bully Train Jumping Still - H 2012
Lee Hirsch/The Weinstein Company

Bully Train Jumping Still - H 2012

The documentary, which received an R rating for language, opens March 30 in theaters in Los Angeles and New York.

Following up on an earlier threat, the Weinstein Co. has decided to release Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully unrated instead of going out with an R.

The dust-up over the film's rating has galvanized politicians, Hollywood celebrities, educators and kids across the country. The film about the bullying epidemic in America's schools received an R rating for numerous uses of the word "fuck."

Harvey Weinstein and Hirsh lost their appeal to overturn the rating by one vote during at a recent hearing of the Classification and Ratings Administration, which has set guidelines about language (violence and sex are more subjective).

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"The small amount of language in the film that's responsible for the R rating is there because it's real," Hirsch said. "It's what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we're grateful for the support we've received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it's up to the theaters to let them in."

AMC CEO Gerry Lopez is among those supporting the Weinstein Co. and already has indicated that certain theaters in his circuit would show the film unrated. As a general rule, many theater chains refuse to show unrated titles because they want to support the ratings board, which is administered by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Bully opens March 30 in New York and Los Angeles. In New York, it will play at AMC Lincoln Square and the Angelika Film Center; in Los Angeles, it plays at AMC Century City, the Landmark and ArcLight Hollywood.

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"The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what's right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise been bullies themselves," TWC president of marketing Stephen Bruno said. "We're working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students cross the country."

Releasing an unrated film in New York and Los Angeles will be far easier than in America's heartland, and the option of tweaking the film remains open so that it could go out with a PG-13.