Weinstein Co. wins MPAA appeal to overturn R-rating for ‘Philomena’

This time, Harvey Weinstein seems to have gotten what he wanted.

It was less than a week ago that his Weinstein Co. declared war -- yet again -- on the Motion Picture Assn. of America, slamming the organization for assigning the studio’s upcoming release “Philomena” an R rating. Now, just a few days later, the MPAA has downgraded the rating to a PG-13 -- prompting the Weinstein Co. to send out a news release touting its victory in the appeal.

“Philomena,” which stars Judi Dench as a woman trying to locate a son she was forced to give up for adoption 50 years earlier, was initially given an R because it included two utterances of the F-word. To speak out against the MPAA’s decision last week, Dench filmed a FunnyorDie video assuming the character she played in the James Bond series, MI5 chief M.

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The clip went viral, scoring publicity for a low-profile film and perhaps contributing to the rating change. At least, that’s what Weinstein seemed to think, on Wednesday crediting the “victory to Barbara Broccoli, producer of the James Bond series, Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes who because of their relationship with Judi Dench gave permission to spoof the ratings system using the M character.”


Weinstein, of course, is no stranger to ratings controversies. In 2011, he unsuccessfully tried to appeal an R rating -- again for language -- for his eventual best picture winner “The King’s Speech.” After the movie won the Oscar, the studio re-released a PG-13 version of the Colin Firth picture so that younger audiences could see it.

Meanwhile, last year Weinstein generated much publicity for his documentary “Bully,” which was also given an R-rating for language even though it was a movie aimed at teenagers. That film also never saw its rating changed.

“Philomena,” which has earned strong reviews, will debut in limited release on Nov. 22.


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Judi Dench, as Bond’s M, takes on MPAA over ‘Philomena’ rating