After more than a month of controversy, the Motion Picture Association of America has reached a compromise with the filmmaker and given the documentary Bully a PG-13 rating instead of an R.
The film is about the epidemic of bullying, anti-gay and all the rest, in schools, through the eyse of five families.
The Weinstein Company released the movie last weekend in New York and Los Angeles unrated. Releasing a film without an official rating from the MPAA can limit its distribution because many of the large theater chains have policies in place against showing unrated films.
Director Lee Hirsch agreed to edit out some, but not all, of the profanity used in the movie and that resulted in the rating change.
'This was about drawing the line but not being utterly unreasonable,' Hirsch tells the Los Angeles Times. “I didn’t want to hold back all the groups that wanted to see the movie, Boy and Girl Scout groups and school groups, that wouldn’t be able to go if we stayed unrated.”
After it was slapped with an R rating because of profanities some of the kids use in the movie, stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep publicly spoke out in support of getting the rating changed.
A PG-13 rating cautions parents that some material in a film may not be suitable for children under the age of 13 while an R rating prevents anyone under the age of 17 from seeing the movie without an adult.
The rating change not only allows teenagers to see the film on their own, it can also be shown in schools and gives movie theater chains in North America the freedom to book the movie without any repercussions from within the film exhibition industry.
Bully will go into wider release on April 13.