The star-studded movement to reduce the ratings of “Bully” from R to PG:13, including shout outs from Justin Bieber, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep, has failed. But the whole campaign was a sham to begin with, a shrewd marketing ploy meant to take an obscure documentary and give it a fighting chance at the box office.
Can’t blame The Weinstein Company, the studio behind the movie, for taking such a path. Press is press, and the studio got oodles of free publicity that should enhance the film’s bottom line. But the media’s unquestioning stance toward the film is pathetic, as is the core argument behind the ratings imbroglio.
The film’s director stands by TWC’s decision to release the film as unrated:
MPAA spokesman Howard Gantman says that the filmmakers needed “a slight alteration” to edit out the swear words in order for the film to be rated PG-13. And the organization points out that other worthy films, such as 1993’s Schindler’s List, received an R rating yet still have been shown in schools….
Hirsch says he didn’t want to cut anything from the sequence.
Hirsh plays the “Artiste” card here in disingenuous fashion. He’d rather let the film hit theaters with no rating, which means some theaters will refuse to show it, than bleep a few cuss words from the film.
That’s only part of the campaign’s transparent flaws. If Streep, Depp and Bieber really wanted more kids to see the film, they’d reach into their pockets and pony up for some free movie screenings. Depp’s earnings from the “Pirates” franchise alone make him an absurdly rich fellow. Surely some of those doubloons could help teens see the movie without denting their allowances.
And The Weinstein Company could do its part by scheduling free public screenings to help more kids see it.
That is the whole mission – right?