The protracted "Bully" rating dispute has reached its settlement. On Thursday, March 5, the Weinstein Company surprisingly announced that the controversial documentary has finally secured a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.
The movie has undergone a slight re-editing to lower its previous R rating. Some of the scenes that feature the F-word have been removed. The intense scene that has been at the forefront of the battle with the MPAA, however, has been left fully intact and unedited.
The particular scene shows teen Alex Libby being bullied and harassed on a bus. Director Lee Hirsch insisted that editing the scene was not an option because he thought it is too important to the truth and integrity behind the film.
The re-edited version will be released in the U.S. beginning from April 13, when the film expands to 55 markets. Once it is unleashed, the unrated version which is currently playing in New York and Los Angeles will be replaced by the PG-13 edit.
Of the win-win agreement, Hirsch said, "I feel completely vindicated with this resolution. While I retain my belief that PG-13 has always been the appropriate rating for this film, as reinforced bu Canada's rating of a PG, we have today scored a victory from the MPAA."
"The support and guidance we have received throughout this process has been incredible, from the more than half a million people who signed Katy Butler's petition, to members of Congress, Governor Mike Huckabee and the many celebrities and other who raised their voices to express deeply felt support for a film that can inspire millions," he added.
About the controversial bus scene, Hirsch explained, "The scene that mattered remains untouched and intact, which is a true sign that we have won this battle. With an array of great partners, a fabulous educator's guide and extensive online tools, we can now bring this film unhindered, to youth and adults across our country."
Commenting on the rating change given to "Bully", MPAA Chairman of the Classification and Ratings Administration Joan Graves said, "In the case of 'Bully', the ratings system has worked exactly as it is supposed to: parents have been kept informed of the content of each version of the film, and they have been given the information they need to make movie-going decisions on behalf of their kids."
"Bully" follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. The stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus.
The movie has stolen public's attention ever since The Weinstein Co. lost appeal to secure a PG-13 rating in early February. Weinstein threatened to leave the MPAA and organized petition signature drives by student to put pressure on the MPAA.