The film, which documents the lives of several students who have been victimized by bullies, was recently given an R-rating due to several curse words.
In order to thwart the MPAA's underage restriction, the Weinstein Company decided to release the film as unrated. Unfortunately, that plan may have backfired. Several theaters are refusing to show an unrated film, and those that are may require a permission slip from viewers under 17.
According to the LA Times, the National Association of Theatre Owners is advising theaters to restrict entry, despite the fact that the film doesn't officially have an R-rating. "If [theaters] choose to play the movie, we have recommended to them that they treat it as an R-rated movie, because it was rated R originally and the content hasn't changed," NATO chief John Fithian told the Times in an email.
A spokesman for AMC, one of the nation's biggest theater chains, said it will allow those under 17 years old into the film, but only if they have a signed permission slip from a parent. As the Times states, AMC executive Gerry Lopez has two teenaged children and has been vocal in his support of the film, so this is an approach designed to appease both the MPAA and the audience.
Although several chains (including Cinemark and Carmike, the third and fourth-biggest in the country) won't be showing the movie at all, the film continues to stay in the 24-hour news conversation. The MPAA rating has only raised awareness, with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Ryan Seacrest tweeting their support.
The movie opens in limited release this Friday, then expands to more markets on April 13.
[via LA Times]