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MPAA overturns ‘Blue Valentine’s’ NC-17 rating

Weinstein Company pic will now be rated R

Now that the MPAA has overturned the NC-17 rating for “Blue Valentine,” the Weinstein Co. can move full steam ahead on an awards season push for the film, unhindered by the restrictive rating.

On Wednesday the Classification and Rating Appeals Board swapped the NC-17, given in October for “a scene of explicit sexual contact,” for an R attributed to “strong graphic sexual content, language and a beating.”

No changes were made to the film to secure the rating.

The adults-only NC-17 tag had been viewed as a major hurdle for the film’s box office and kudos hopes, since it is generally thought to scare some auds away and potentially create hurdles for advertising and distribution.

The MPAA’s decision came following an appeal made Wednesday by Harvey Weinstein. “After presenting our case to the MPAA appeal board today, they were convinced of the artistic nature of ‘Blue Valentine’ and recognized that it was consistent with the kind of movies for which the Weinstein Company is known,” said a statement from TWC co-chair Harvey Weinstein, who led the appeal with a team of attorneys including Alan R. Friedman and David Boies.

According to chief operating officer David Glasser, Weinstein laid out a case based on clips from past R-rated films as well as on moviegoers’ support for an R rating for “Valentine,” as registered via a Twitter campaign and an audience survey at a recent screening.

“Blue Valentine,” a gritty chronicle of a disintegrating marriage, is set for release Dec. 31.

“We believed in presenting relationships and sexuality with an honesty and truthfulness often lacking in the grand tradition of Hollywood sensationalism,” said pic’s director Derek Cianfrance, “This is a victory for free speech and artistic integrity.”

The successful appeal adds further steam to the revitalization built by TWC this year, with a company restructure and a spate of new hires coinciding with a slate of pics attracting buzz. These included “The King’s Speech,” which surprised some when the heartwarming pic received an R rating for one scene that included swear words.

“It’s a great moment for the picture, and for the company and for Harvey, in terms of getting back into that groove,” Glasser said.

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