I found this column on Hollywood-Elsewhere. This ticked me off and I felt I had to share. So much for living in a tolerant world.
Brokeback Lockouts – by Jeffrey Wells
Brokeback Mountain is having another good financial weekend, but it’s running into conflicts with the moral guardians in Rubeland.
Ang Lee’s film was abruptly pulled on Friday, 1.7, from the Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons in Salt Lake City, Utah. The decision was reportedly made late Thursday, 1.5, although the word didn’t get out until Friday.
The reason appeared to be moral indignation, either on the part of the theatre’s Mormon owner, Larry Miller, or…let’s be imaginative …on the part of local rightie bigwigs who put political pressure on Miller.
Regal Cinemas reportedly took the film off the bill on Thursday after it had heavily marketed the movie in the local media. Regal has said that the decision was simply an error and isn’t about censorship, but there’s been some skepticism about this.
“The Regal multiplex movie theater ran ads for Brokeback Mountain in Thursday’s edition of the local Kitsap Sun newspaper and was promoting pre-sale tickets at the theater,” 365gay reports. “But posters at the theater disappeared on late Thursday, and further ads in the paper were cancelled.”
The Salt Lake City situation centers around Miller, known to be an auto dealer, entrepreneur and Utah Jazz owner. He has been described in a news story by Sean Means as “the Louis B. Mayer of Mormon Cinema.”
If Brokeback‘s opening-day business in Salt Lake City was in any way similar to how it was described by readers in St. Louis and Portland, it was probably pretty good. I’ve been told that shows were sold out in advance in SLC, but I don’t know.
Here’s an oddly written local report that ran Friday about Miller’s pulling the Ang Lee film from his theatre.
There’s an IMDB posting claiming that when Miller was asked for comment during a news segment on Fox News 13, he said he wasn’t up for comment or criticism, but added that “immorality is immorality, any way you look at it.”
Reader Mandy Bartels said that “what surprises and disappoints me is that the theater bought the film in good faith, promoted it and sold tickets to eager patrons. Then along comes the owner who pulls it when the queues were already forming to watch it. And then gives a totally lame reason as to why it was pulled.
“This sounds like the 1950s, not the 21st century. It underlines why Brokeback Mountain is so relevant today, despite people thinking we live in a more tolerant society. It seems we haven’t moved on from when the film was set in the 1960s.”
I’ll be nosing around for more reports about this. I suppose I’ll try to call Miller myself this weekend. If anyone was at Miller’s theatre on Friday and can fill in any details, please write in.
Brokeback Mountain added 215 theatres for this weekend and did $1.7 million Friday night. It’s expected to earn about $5.7 for the weekend, and by the end of this weekend the film will have made $22 million.
The cultural impact is obviously spreading, but the initial brushfire has cooled down a bit. It’s doing extremely well in some areas but only fair in others. The per-screen is still strong, but it’s more like $12,000 a print than $24,000 or thereabouts.
I realize that I’ve made my opinion on this subject very clear and very biased. And you’re just going to have to forgive me for it. I just wish that people could step outside of their comfort zone and give something new and different a chance. I’m not attacking anyone’s values but the only way we are ever going to get anywhere in this world is if we start accepting people for who they are and look past what you or I may consider immoral. That is why Brokeback Mountain is a culturally significant movie and why it is important for people to see it. Is that too much to ask?