We first told you that The Weinstein Company's (TWC) new anti-bullying documentary, "Bully," was given an R rating and that Harvey Weinstein is being joined by Alex Libby, one of the bullied children documented in the film directed by Lee Hirsch, to appeal the MPAA rating today.
Well, the verdict is in, and "Bully" loses its MPAA appeal by merely one vote! Now, the film retains its R rating and TWC is considering taking a leave of absence from the MPAA.
You know what sucks? This documentary that MUST be shown in middle schools and high schools everywhere will now have a limited showing because young kids are not old enough for its R rating!
The MPAA could not even give this film a PG-13 rating! Why the R rating? Because of its strong language! Strong language is used, I'm sure, to prove a point, and not in an obscene kind of R-rating way!
Argh! Here's the complete press release I received from TWC, and click here to see the trailer:
Los Angeles, CA, February 23, 2012: Following a hearing this morning, The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced that it has lost an appeal of the R rating given to its forthcoming documentary BULLY by the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration originally bestowed the R on the basis of some language that is used in the film, an urgent and intimate look at America's bullying crisis by award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch.
Although more than half of the appeals board felt that the movie should be rated PG-13, the MPAA rules stipulate that a two-thirds vote is necessary to overturn. The final tally was one vote short of the number needed to reverse the decision.
The appeal board's decision eliminates the potential for BULLY to reach a mass national audience of students through screenings at U.S. middle and high schools, where the film could be used as a tool to stop an epidemic of physical, psychological and emotional violence. BULLY is scheduled for release on March 30, 2012.
TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein led the appeal and was joined by Alex Libby, one of the bullied children whose experiences are documented in BULLY. The hearing was held at the MPAA's Sherman Oaks screening room, with Motion Picture Consulting LLC's Ethan Noble assisting The Weinstein Company.
Following the decision, Weinstein released the following statement:
As of today, The Weinstein Company is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future. We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far.
I have been through many of these appeals, but this one vote loss is a huge blow to me personally. Alex Libby gave an impassioned plea and eloquently defended the need for kids to be able to see this movie on their own, not with their parents, because that is the only way to truly make a change.
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. The Cincinnati school district signed on to bus 40,000 of their students to the movie; but because the appeals board retained the R rating, the school district will have to cancel those plans.
I personally am going to ask celebrities and personalities worldwide, from Lady Gaga (who has a foundation of her own) to the Duchess of Cambridge (who was a victim of bullying and donated wedding proceeds) to First Lady Michelle Obama (whose foundation has reached out to us as well), to take a stand with me in eradicating bullying and getting the youth into see this movie without restriction.
Tomorrow morning, BULLY director Lee Hirsch will participate in a Q&A session with students at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, following a screening of BULLY at 9:00am. Approximately 150 students from grades 9-11 are expected to attend. Said Hirsch, "Tomorrow's screening means even more to me in the wake of the decision by the MPAA today.
To say that I am disappointed and distressed would be a grave understatement. It is my great hope that BULLY reaches the audience for whom it was made: kids, the bullied and the bullies and the 80% of kids who can make the most impact by becoming upstanders rather than bystanders. I am gratified that Harvey Weinstein and TWC share my commitment to getting BULLY into America’s schools, where it most needs to be seen."
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Safe and Drug-Free Schools estimates that over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. In the new documentary BULLY, award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch (AMANDLA! A REVOLUTION IN FOUR-PART HARMONY) brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy "kids will be kids" clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.
ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as SCREAM, SPY KIDS and SCARY MOVIE. Together TWC and Dimension Films have released a broad range of mainstream, genre and specialty films that have been commercial and critical successes, including Tom Hooper's THE KING'S SPEECH, winner of four 2011 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture.
Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as GRINDHOUSE; I'M NOT THERE; THE GREAT DEBATERS; VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; THE ROAD; HALLOWEEN; THE PAT TILLMAN STORY; PIRANHA 3D; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; A SINGLE MAN; BLUE VALENTINE; THE COMPANY MEN; MIRAL; SCRE4M; SUBMARINE; DIRTY GIRL; APOLLO 18; OUR IDIOT BROTHER; I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT; SARAH'S KEY; and SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D. Currently in release are MY WEEK WITH MARILYN; THE ARTIST; THE IRON LADY; CORIOLANUS; W.E.; and UNDEFEATED. Upcoming releases include BULLY and THE INTOUCHABLES. Recently wrapped was SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and currently in production is DJANGO UNCHAINED.
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Watch Oscar Etiquette -- Mike Myers Has Never Been This Funny in Recent Years! With Help from Kevin Kline!
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As if it's a big surprise, but the winners of last year's Academy Awards in the best performance categories will present this year's winners. (For my full Oscar predictions, click here)
Christian Bale aka Batman who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar last year for his brilliant performance in "The Fighter" is returning this year and he's bringing his fellow winners with him.
Melissa Leo from "The Fighter," Natalie Portman from "Black Swan," and Colin Firth from "The King's Speech."
Bale, Leo, Portman, and Firth will join this fantastic list of previously announced Oscar presenters:
Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog
Hollywood's biggest night is this Sunday, February 26 live from the Kodak Theatre!
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Is Sacha Baron Cohen set to pull off his biggest stunt in Hollywood's biggest night? The Hollywood Reporter is exclusively saying that the "Bruno" star wants to attend the Academy Awards dressed up as his character in "The Dictator." But the big question -- will the Academy let him?
I think they should!
The comedian is invited to attend the Oscars for his role in the Academy Award-nominated film "Hugo" where he played a train station agent. Truth be told, just alter his "Hugo" outfit just a bit and it will look like his costume for "The Dictator."
Paramount, the Academy, and Cohen's reps declined to comment, but you can read the whole story right here.
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Amanda Seyfried has gone from a musical ingenue in "Mamma Mia!" to a hapless woman looking for her sister's abductor in the female-centric thriller "Gone." She plays Jill, a normal student whose life turns for the worse when her sister is taken by a serial killer. The problem is, Jill thinks he's the same serial killer who abducted her before but no one wants to believe her, not even the police. They all think she's crazy. Tan dan dan...
I sat down with the actress to talk about:
*** her attraction to making "Gone"
*** the script by Allison Burnett
*** what attracted her to Jill
*** women as natural nurturers
*** driving a real mean SUV -- and doing her own driving stunts
*** "Lovelace" and her throat! HA!
*** her excitement to work as Cosette in "Les Miserables"
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