The Weinstein Co. enlisted Dench's character, with the permission of Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, to appeal to the MPAA's R rating and successfully got it reduced to a PG-13. Harvey Weinstein went into the MCAA's appeal meeting Wednesday armed with a spoof video, featuring Dench as M, to help make his case.
“We owe this 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 said after the victory. "We know that went a long way into shedding light on the themes of the movie and the fact that the PG-13 rating was correct."
"We are glad the MPAA has a good sense of humor and with the cooperation of Barbara and her team it was proven once again no one does it better than James Bond," he said. "And my sincerest congratulations to Steve Coogan, who went to the MPAA and defended the case personally.”
Philomena is based on a true story, adapted from a book written by journalist Martin Sixsmith -- Steve Coogan's character in the film -- of his efforts working with Irish-Catholic woman Philomena Lee -- Dench -- to find the illegitimate child she put up for adoption years before.
The film was given an R rating due to its two non-sexual uses of the f-word. The Weinstein Co., which believes the film could be a contender for awards, needs to reach a wider audience that might be turned off by the stronger rating.
The ratings board automatically gives an R rating to any film with more than one instance of the f-word, but does occasionally offer exemptions, such as last year's Bully.
[The Hollywood Reporter]