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Controversial Documentary Bully Will Hit Theaters Unrated

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Mar. 26 2012, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

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The upcoming documentary Bully will be released without a rating, meaning individual theaters owners can decide not to show the film or not.

The Weinstein Co., which produced the controversial documentary, announced the unusual move on Monday to forgo a rating, after the Motion Picture Association of America refused to budge on the R rating they previously gave it.

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Because there is no rating for the movie, theaters -- if they do show it -- could follow the protocol they would with an NC-17 movie, meaning no one 17 and under would be let in.

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Bully earned its R-rating because of the repeated use of the word f*ck in one scene. The MPAA automatically gives films an R-rating if they contain more than two F-words.

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The crusade to get the MPAA to change the rating to PG-13 drew support from countless celebrities, including Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and Justin Bieber, to name a few.

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Seventeen-year-old Katy Butler collected more than 476,000 signatures on an on-line petition to get the R-rating lowered to PG-13.

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Director Lee Hirsch said he didn’t edit out the offensive language, as it would have watered down the blunt reality “the children who are victims of bullying face on most days.

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"The small amount of language in the film that's responsible for the R rating is there because it's real,"  Hirsch said in a statement. "It's what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we're grateful for the support we've received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it's up to the theaters to let them in."

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Weinstein Co. marketing head Stephen Bruno said Monday, "We believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what's right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves.”

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Bruno added that teachers, parents and students would have access to the socially-fueled film. 

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The documentary follows a group of five kids, who are victims of bullying, over the course of a year. The film was shot on location in Georgia, Oklahoma and Mississippi and Iowa.

The 90-minute film hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.



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