The controversy over The Weinstein Bros.' Bully could "turn out to be a pivotal chapter in the battle to overhaul the Motion Picture Assn. of America's ratings system," Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein wrote today (Thursday). Goldstein noted that although John Fithian, head of The National Association of Theatre Owners, had warned that theaters would treat the movie as if it were an NC-17 film -- no one under 17 allowed even if accompanied by parents -- if the Weinsteins released it without a rating, three major film chains, Regal, AMC, and Carmike, each has said that they would screen the movie and treat it as an R-rated film, with at least one advising that it would allow underage kids to see it if they brought along a note from their parents. Goldstein also claims, without attribution, that "there are now mutterings of discontent from top executives at the major studios" with the ratings system. Some, he said, "are privately expressing concern that the board's rulings [in cases such as Bully ] could cause widespread public disenchantment with the ratings system."