Bullying | Film | Harvey Weinstein

Sources Claim New 'Bully' Re-Cut Will Be PG-13

The MPAA still won't grant Bully anything less than an "R" rating, and in the face of its obstinacy the Weinstein Co. now suggests it might re-cut the film, sans profanity, to secure a rating of "PG 13." This is from "two people familiar with the company’s plans who were not authorized to speak about them publicly," according to the Los Angeles Times. Officially, however, the Weinstein Co. still plans to release the film in mid-April with no rating at all. From the Times:

BullyThe Weinstein Co. denied that changes were being made now but allowed for the possibility in the coming weeks. “At this time, there are no plans to change the film for a PG-13,” Stephen Bruno, the company’s head of marketing, told 24 Frames on Friday. “We are in constant conversation with the MPAA and hope a compromise can be reached.” The MPAA has been steadfast that the existing cut wll not be given anything lower than an R.

The Times explains a weird quirk of the MPAA rating system: That merely bleeping profanity isn't enough to lower a film's rating, presumably because even impressionable kids are sufficiently worldly to know what ugly noises are being made beneath the beeps. Which makes one wonder why they need to be protected from profanity in the first place, but never mind.

Removing all profanity from Bully will pose difficulties for Weinstein Co., because one of Bully's most important scenes is full of the stuff:

The scene that earned the film an R features one teen threatening another as the two sit side-by-side on the bus, with profanities interwoven throughout the scene ... Weinstein and filmmaker Lee Hirsch have been adamant that the scene remain in the film as is to show the full force of what bullied kids face.


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  1. Very sad to hear that the message has to be diminished and sanitized for consumption but understandable as the MPAA's ratinggs dictate what the nation sees and does not see. It is not surprising in this climate however. Hey-but let's not stop the body count in the next wide resleased piece of crap that is served up to the teenagers the movie industry caters to.

    Posted by: nick | Mar 31, 2012 10:53:02 AM

  2. God forbid that teenagers be exposed to the "F" word. Because they never hear it in real life, or in the movies on cable, or the ones rented from Netflicks.

    Sigh. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. Hopefully, parents, teachers, administrators, etc. will watch this. They are the ones with the authority to make changes anyway.

    Posted by: TJ | Mar 31, 2012 10:54:55 AM

  3. i saw a tv ad for the bully movie that was aired during last thursday's vampire diaries episode and at the end of the ad it said "rated PG-13 by mpaa". i thought mpaa had changed their rating. but now I see this. confused.

    Posted by: Jed | Mar 31, 2012 11:13:00 AM

  4. It's not about "profanity." I's about the actual content of the film -- which the MPAA doesn't want children and their parents to see.

    I doubt any bleeping will change the censhorship org's mind.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Mar 31, 2012 11:13:49 AM

  5. Any time kids get to see a movie that shows the evil results of bullying, I'm for it. Even if it has obscenities. Normally I take the attitude that movies meant for teens should be "wholesome." But there are exceptions to every rule. Saving lives comes first. If that means showing something normally considered inappropriate, well, life involves situations like this.

    Posted by: mary | Mar 31, 2012 11:20:21 AM

  6. I find it bizarre that the MPAA is concerned about protecting kids from cursing in a movie, but no one cares about protecting kids in real life.

    Posted by: Boston Bloke | Mar 31, 2012 11:20:42 AM

  7. Rather than re-cut the film...if the issue is the language, and MPAA has no plans of ever reconsidering (they're puritanical idiots), why don't they simply do to the film that which they do on tv, bleep out the dirty words.

    Posted by: Oliver | Mar 31, 2012 12:12:05 PM

  8. @Oliver. Read the article again. Bleeping out the swear words is not an option.

    Posted by: sylvatica | Mar 31, 2012 12:23:31 PM

  9. Obviously the MPPA is out-of-it's-collective mind. They refuse "bully" a rating appropriate for HS students...yet grant one to "Hunger Games" which is basically a snuff movie with teenagers.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Mar 31, 2012 12:23:38 PM

  10. How many kids have committed suicide because they heard a bad word in a movie?

    Posted by: Joey | Mar 31, 2012 12:23:57 PM

  11. @sylvatica, thanks. That being the case then why do they bother on tv (if kids know what is being bleeped then why bother)? Funny to see/hear this silliness here in Europe where we have full frontal nudity on tv, even full frontal nudity on tv commercials! (Two years ago, Christmas, Lacoste fragrance for men)

    Posted by: Oliver | Mar 31, 2012 12:32:53 PM

  12. part of the Lacoste tv commercial i referenced above


    Posted by: Oliver | Mar 31, 2012 12:38:15 PM

  13. The MPAA and their ilk had no problem showing the foul-language "Scared Straight" to teenagers all oer the country. But I supposed that was okay to show cause it was 'Prisoners'. 'Bad people'.

    ...you know, the kind of people who could really have gained something if they had seen a film like "Bully" before heading down the wrong path.

    But one film is about personal responsibility, the other a film designed to scare all the little sheeples.

    Fear is big with the MPAA.

    Posted by: Mic | Mar 31, 2012 12:40:55 PM

  14. And let's really call a spade a spade here. This was all highly calculated from the start to get all this free publicity. Well played, Weinstein Company!

    Posted by: Oliver | Mar 31, 2012 1:10:13 PM

  15. "Try to act surprised: After milking his ratings battle with the MPAA for everything it was worth, the LA Times is reporting that Harvey Weinstein has readied a PG-13 theatrical cut of his new documentary, Bully. Weinstein has spent the last several weeks blasting the MPAA for slapping Bully with an R-rating over several f-bombs, a high-profile crusade that may have diminished the point of the documentary but at least provided a hook for enlisting celebrities to fight on behalf of his film. The re-rated cut will hit theaters on April 13 (the current version, which is going out unrated, debuted in Los Angeles and New York today) and recalls Weinstein's attempt to goose the grosses of The King's Speech last year by replacing the R-rated Best Picture winner with a PG-13 cut. That revision failed to crack the top ten at the box office and earned Weinstein the enmity of his Oscar-winning director, Tom Hooper, and star, Colin Firth."-Kyle Buchanan

    Posted by: Oliver | Mar 31, 2012 1:20:30 PM

  16. the MPAA are a bunch of puritanical ninnies.

    explosions? guns? violence? actual on-screen carnage? pg-13. or pg.

    vagina = R. penis = NC-17. bad words = R.


    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Mar 31, 2012 1:20:33 PM

  17. The real problem isn't just the MPAA, it's the cinema chains.

    After Weinstein announced they'd release it unrelated, pretty much ALL of the big chains that would air it said they'd air it as a R film, so only people 17 and up could see it.

    I think Weinstein was hoping for them to act rationally and let kids see it who would benefit most from it. Alas.

    So, now it'll get recut. It's a shame, but we live in a F'd up country where fictional movie featuring kids killing kids can get a PG-13, but a documentary showing what real kids go through, and how real kids talk to other kids to demean them and strip them of their dignity, is completely censored.

    Really, this is just more of the same. The kids being bullied have ALWAYS been censored, as schools would rather ignore them than face the dark realities of what actually exists, and actually do their (admittedly difficult) jobs of providing a safe environment for ALL students.

    Posted by: Ryan | Mar 31, 2012 2:31:53 PM

  18. TO: Mr. Weinstein

    RE: "Bully" Re-cut

    SUBJECT: Don't!

    Posted by: Marcito | Mar 31, 2012 2:38:31 PM

  19. The sooner the MPAA is rendered toothless, the better. Individual chains and (more likely) individual cinemas can make this decision better on their own.

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 31, 2012 8:04:42 PM

  20. And thank goodness the movie chains are in fast decline. In a few more years, the MPAA and the Cinema chains will go the way of Drive-In Theatres, now a mere curiosity.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Apr 1, 2012 2:22:00 AM

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