Upset over the “R” rating for its documentary “Bully,” the Weinstein Company says it’s “considering a leave of absence” from the MPAA — meaning the studio would be willing to endure the headache of releasing at least some of its films unrated in protest.
Though TWC is not a member of the organization, a spokesperson clarified that the distrib is considering withdrawing dozens of applications currently under review with MPAA’s rating board. Unrated films pose problems gaining theatrical distribution, and TWC would only allow films to be rated for which it considered a rating essential for exhibition.
TWC is upset that MPAA’s rating board denied the shingle’s recent appeal to overturn an “R” rating assigned to “Bully,” the distrib’s latest documentary. MPAA members include the six studios, but non-members can pay fees to the org on a film-by-film basis.
“We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far,” Harvey Weinstein stated. “I have been through many of these appeals, but this one vote loss is a huge blow to me personally … With school-age children of my own, I know this is a crucial issue and school districts across the U.S. have responded in kind.”
In its own statement, the MPAA did not address TWC’s threat of withdrawal, but did defend its rating of “Bully.”
“Bullying is a serious issue and is a subject that parents should discuss with their children,” said Joan Graves, classification and rating administration chair. “The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that Bully can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions.
The MPAA also has the responsibility, however, to acknowledge and represent the strong feedback from parents throughout the country who want to be informed about content in movies, including language.”