[W]hile the MPAA board pretends to be a source of neutral and non-ideological advice to parents, it all too often reveals itself to be a velvet-glove censorship agency, seemingly devoted to reactionary and defensive cultural standards. In the "Bully" case, the board has ended up doing what it usually does: favoring the strong against the weak, further marginalizing the marginalized, and enforcing a version of "family values" that has all sorts of unspoken stereotypes about gender and sexuality and race and other things baked into it. In short, the MPAA has sided with the bullies and creeps.
How a PG-13 rating can make or break a movie:
Seven out of the nine films nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars were rated PG-13. Eight of the Top 10 grossing films of last year in the U.S. sported that rating. … Movies rated PG-13 make more money on average ($42 million per picture versus G's $38.5 million, PG's $37 million and R's $15 million). Getting blessed with PG-13 ensures that the odds are ever in your favor.
Cynthia Hawkins looks for a better way:
While Weinstein ponders Bully’s eventual level of accessibility, Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey, inspired by the whopping box-office profits of The Hunger Games (which, by the way, had little trouble finagling a PG-13 despite its gritty kid-on-kid violence) parses how and when the majority of us see our films – in theaters, on demand, online, etc. Big-budget "event movies" such as The Hunger Games, Bailey points out, are pretty much the only sort of movies we’ll go see en masse in theaters anymore. So why not side-step the ratings issue altogether and make Bully, with its potential to enlighten and empower parents, teachers, and students, "available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country" as possible and focus its distribution online?