The movie studio lost its appeal to have the Motion Picture Association of America rate the film PG-13 instead of R due to its inclusion of expletives.
The documentary's producers and its growing number of supporters said the language demonstrated the abusive behavior of bullies and argued rating the film R prohibits kids under 17 -- who will benefit from the movie the most -- from seeing it.
"The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and 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. We're working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country," TWC Marketing President Stephen Bruno said in a statement.
"The small amount of language in the film that's responsible for the R rating is there because it's real," "Bully" director Lee Hirsch said. "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."