Bully, the controversial documentary that was handcuffed with an R rating by the MPAA, will be released in theaters as an unrated film, The Weinstein Company announced today. “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real,” said director Lee Hirsch. “It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it’s up to the theaters to let them in.”
TWC had mounted an aggressive effort to persuade the MPAA to reverse its initial ratings verdict. Nearly half a million people signed a petition from Katy Butler, Michigan high school student and former bullying victim, on Change.org to urge the MPAA to lower the rating. “The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what’s right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves,” said TWC president of marketing Stephen Bruno. “We’re working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country.”
Bully, which tells the stories of several children who were victimized by classmates, will be released in theaters on Friday, March 30, at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square in New York and at the Landmark, ArcLight Hollywood, and AMC Century City in Los Angeles.