Releasing a theatrical film without an MPAA rating is a challenge, to say the least. Many major theatrical chains will not screen unsanctioned films, so it was a shock to many when The Weinstein Company elected to release Bully, its heartwrenching and critically lauded documentary about the timely issue of teen bullying, as an unrated film rather than submit to the MPAA’s R rating. TWC argued that the R rating — presumably applied for the film’s repeated profanity — would exclude the very audience that most needed to see this documentary — high-school teens. Their end-around, buttressed by a national online campaign and celebrity support, has been labeled a threat to the industry’s ratings system by the right-leaning Parents Television Council, which called on all movie theaters to ostracize the unrated film. But some theaters have refused to bow to the pressure: Bully will open Friday in five theaters, and TWC has plans to expand to as many as 150 theaters in coming weeks.
But what exactly are the financial prospects for an unrated documentary? READ FULL STORY »