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Bully to be Released Unrated

— by CHERRY BELL DAMASCO-FARRINGTON —

“Bully” director Lee Hirsch and the Weinstein Company have announced that due to their ongoing battle with the MPAA over the film’s rating, the Weinstein Company has decided to move on with the film’s release on March 30 as an unrated film.

Details in the official press release state the following:

    Said BULLY Director Lee Hirsch, “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real. 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.”

    “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 become bullies themselves. We’re working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country,” said TWC President of Marketing Stephen Bruno.

    “While it’s often heartbreaking and deals with tough issues like suicide, the movie addresses bullying in a frank and relatable way that is age appropriate for teens and relevant for middle-schoolers if an adult is present to guide the discussion,” said James P. Steyer, Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media. “The MPAA’s ratings system is inadequate when it comes to looking at a movie’s content through the lens of its larger thematic issues. Common Sense Media provides alternative ratings for parents who are looking for more guidance and context than the MPAA provides.”

Katy Butler, the 17-year-old teen, who started A petition on the website Change.org to change the movie’s rating from an R to a lower rating, has rallied much support since she started the petition at the beginnings of March. Since then, politicians, actors and people across the United States have shown their support of the message that the film intends to spread in order to educate and make people across the nation more aware of the rising problem among teens throughout the nation. Butler — who earlier this month delivered more than 250,000 signatures to an MPAA hearing — has appeared on numerous talk shows and events to spread her support of the change.

For parents or teachers who are looking for more information or who may have concerns about showing children a movie unrated by the MPAA, please read Common Sense Media’s rating details of the film here: www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/bully.

With the unrated release of the film this coming box office weekend, do you agree with the Weinstein Company’s decision to release as unrated? At this point in time, “Bully” has a limited release in five theaters in the United States (in New York at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square and in Los Angeles at The Landmark, ArcLight Hollywood and AMC Century City), but perhaps it will extend to more theaters at a later date.

. . .

Follow Cherry Bell Damasco-Farrington on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cbdamasco.

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