The “Bully” Rating Controversy: Is It A Marketing Ploy? Does That Matter?

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A kid shares his bullying experiences in "Bully" trailer

Bully, a documentary focusing on peer-to-peer bullying in schools, opens tomorrow, and has recently found controversy when it came time for the MPAA to give it a rating.  It’s a film focusing on a serious social problem for kids, that really should be seen by kids, but because of the use of the F-word, was handed an “R” rating.  In protest, the Weinstein Company declined the rating, choosing to instead release it into theaters without any rating at all.

But is it just a marketing ploy? We had Mr. Moviefone himself, Russ Leatherman, on the phone this morning to discuss the movie and Russ’ own experience with bullies.

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Is it really that important to include a couple of F-bombs in the movie? Russ brought up the point that if the filmmakers had just “bleeped” the words, the movie would’ve easily achieved the PG-13 rating, making it more accessible to the audience that it’s aimed for.

He believes it’s a way the Weinstein Company is attempting to drum up more publicity for the movie, but not necessarily a bad thing. Russ told us his own personal experience with bullying, which was being tormented as a Californian surfer kid in a small Wyoming town.  He has already seen the movie, and believes anyone who has children needs to see this with them, and discuss afterward.

An unrated movie usually means “off-limits” to anyone underage, but the AMC theater chain will be treating it as an R-rated movie, meaning parents will be able to take kids.  As an added way to give access to children, parents can sign a permission slip that allows their kid to see it without them present.

Check out the trailer below, do you plan on taking your kids to see this?
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