MPAA Gives Blue Valentine a (Questionable?) NC-17
An Oct. 8th, 2010 article in indieWire discusses the surprising decision by the MPAA to award the new Ryan Gosling / Michelle Williams film, Blue Valentine, the most restrictive rating of NC-17. Acquired by The Weinstein Company after a strong showing at Sundance 2010, Blue Valentine was scheduled to open wide on December 31st. Let's see what happens next. Will the Weinsteins appeal the rating at the MPAA or will they recut to earn an R? The answers are vital because many theaters flat-out refuse to screen an "adult" film, big chains (like Walmart) won't stock an NC-17 DVD, and even cable deals evaporate for films with the most restrictive rating.
UPDATE: On Oct. 14th, 2010 The Weinstein Company announced that it would appeal Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating.
UPDATE #2: The Weinstein Company has announced that Bush v. Gore alumnus David Boies, inveterate Hollywood pit bull Bert Fields and high-end litigator Alan R. Friedman are preparing to appeal the NC-17 rating for Blue Valentine. This is about to get good.
UPDATE #3 The pressure from the Weinstein Company (from high-priced attorneys to a relentless publicity campaign) worked! On December 8th, 2010, with only a few weeks before the end of awards eligibility, the MPAA relented - reducing the NC-17 rating for "Blue Valentine" to an R. This move (which gives the Weinsteins a much better chance at being a major player in this year's awards season) came at a price: The Parents Television Council (a conservative advocacy group) lamented the change - made behind-closed-doors and without any changes to the film - saying: "the entire integrity and legitimacy of the MPAA ratings system has been compromised."