Someone else is picking on Bully.
After multiple attempts to get the MPAA to change the documentary Bully's R rating (for brief language), the Weinstein Company announced that they would be releasing the film as unrated. But on Tuesday, the Parents Television Council released a statement asking all major theaters "to adhere to their own policies not to exhibit unrated films."
The conservative media watchdog, whose efforts are usually focused on the small screen, claims that "showing unrated content is a threat to the continued viability of the [movie] ratings system."
"This move, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system," PTC President Tim Winter said. "If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like Bully, nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material.
"Either ratings mean something, or they don't," he continued. "The MPAA's job is not to make subjective judgments about the merit of a film of the importance of the film's message. The MPAA's sole task is to take an objective measure of the adult content in a film, and apply the appropriate rating."
There was no immediate comment from the Weinstein Company on the PTC statement.
Michigan high school student Katie Butler's online campaign collected nearly 500,000 signatures requesting the MPAA overturn Bully's R rating. The petition got support from stars like Johnny Depp, Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, Michael Jordan, Justin Timberlake, Kristen Bell, Katy Perry, Zooey Deschanel and Demi Lovato. Despite the outcry and a heavy public relations push by the studio, the ratings board refused to relent.
Bully opens nationwide on Friday.
UPDATE: Variety reports that AMC will allow minors into theaters with parental permission (written or verbal), while Cinemark says it won't show the unrated pic unless the Weinstein Co. submits an R-rated version.