Regal, Carmike Theaters Not Going Easy On 'Bully'by: Posted:
When it opens in select theaters tomorrow, the much-discussed documentary "Bully" will get some understanding concerning its "Unrated" tag from distributor The Weinstein Co. from one chain, and essentially no quarter given from others.
Regal and Carmike Theaters respectively made it known Thursday that both will treat the documentary about bullying among adolescents with the protocol given the "R" rating handed down by the Motion Picture Association of America, Reuters reports. While it may be listed as "Unrated," neither chain will admit unaccompanied minors under 17 years old.
In contrast, AMC Theaters have agreed to admit unaccompanied minors who present parent or guardian-signed official permission slips that can be printed from the chain's website.
The rating controversy, by most accounts, centers largely upon one scene's explicit language, in which a young bully uses "f***" and its variants multiple times when describing what he would do to a victim. Under MPAA regulations, any film using that particular expletive twice or more - once, if the use describes a sexual act - receives an instant "R" rating. Meanwhile, though The Weinstein Co. lobbied the MPAA to shift it to a "PG-13" due to the importance of the film's anti-bullying message to young people and parents, a Change.org petition asking that the MPAA reconsider the rating gathered nearly a half-million signatures before the film-regulatory board announced its ruling earlier this week.
The "R" would also present the film from being shown in nearly any public school, where the film's message may arguably be most needed. Cinemark is one theater chain opting not to buck the status quo, whatever the message.
"Cinemark has a long history of not playing unrated films and we do not think it is appropriate to undermine the system by arbitrarily applying our own rating to this movie," the company said via released statement. "The Weinstein Co. is aware of Cinemark's policy, yet has still chosen to release the film 'Bully' as an unrated movie. If the Weinstein Co. decides to release the film with the 'R' rating that it has received, Cinemark will agree to exhibit the movie in our theaters."