Usually, when a film is released without a rating by the MPAA, it’s because it contains so much mature content — usually sexual in nature — that it was going to get an NC-17. In turn, major theater chains have traditionally treated unrated films as if they have an NC-17 rating, and won’t screen the film for any audience.
AMC Theaters, however, is making an exception for the documentary Bully, which the Weinstein Company announced yesterday would be released this Friday unrated after the MPAA refused to lower its R rating for the film. Today, AMC decided it would allow ticket buyers under the age of 17 to see Bully — with permission. “AMC will be presenting Bully…as not rated,” said the theater-chain in a statement. “Guests younger than 17 can see the film if they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian, or if they present a signed parental permission slip.”
That permission slip will be available on Wednesday at this link on AMC’s website. The film opens at the AMC Lincoln Square 13 in New York, and the AMC Century City 15 in Los Angeles on Friday, and expands into other theaters nationwide over the coming weeks. (A rep for the company declined to comment on the Parent’s Television Council’s statement that screening Bully at AMC’s theaters “threatens to derail the entire ratings system.”)
Bully will be released with a rating, however — just not from the MPAA. TWC will use Common Sense Media’s rating of “Pause 13+” on its ads, posters, and other promotional material for the film. It is the same rating CSM — an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan group — gave The Hunger Games, and it stresses that parents should know their child’s ability to handle strong material. This is the first time CSM’s ratings have been used by a production studio to promote a film; they will look like the color and black-and-white images below:
You can read CSM’s full review of Bully here.