Regal Cinemas, the largest theater chain in the country, will play the unrated documentary Bully in its theaters, the company announced today. “Regal intends to play the film and respect the original R rating decision of the MPAA,” says Regal spokesperson Dick Westerling. “We will treat the film like it was rated R.” The decision means children 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to see the film.
The move strikes a harder line than the one taken by AMC Theaters, which is allowing minors to see the acclaimed film — which chronicles the epidemic of brutal adolescent bullying — as long as they have written permission from a parent or guardian. Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Carmike and Cinemark theaters will not be screening Bully, adhering to a long-standing tradition by major theater chains of not showing films that do not carry a rating by the MPAA.
The Weinstein Company decided on Monday that it would release the film unrated after the MPAA refused to lower the R rating it gave the film last month. It opens in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, and begins expanding nationwide in the weeks ahead.