Monday, June 28, 2004

Fahrenheit 'incendiary' at box office

From today's WP:

"Fahrenheit 9/11," director Michael Moore's scathing attack on President Bush and the administration's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was the hottest film in America over the weekend. If early estimates are correct, the movie instantly became the top-grossing documentary in the nation's history.


Initially, Hollywood analysts predicted only a modest $10 million opening for the Moore film. The documentary was dumped by Disney, its distributor, despite winning the top award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. But as the pro and con buzz built, $15 million was the sum bandied about. After the movie had sold-out premieres at two theaters in Manhattan on Wednesday, upward of $20 million was considered likely.


Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate, joined Moore on the conference call. "The film played brilliantly this weekend in the 'red states' and the 'blue states,' and the big towns and the small towns," he said. "We played in Peoria. We literally sold out Peoria, Illinois."


The distributors say they plan to add a couple of hundred theaters this coming weekend, and additional theaters the following weekend. By then the competition will include one of the summer's anticipated blockbusters, "Spider-Man 2." "We look forward to joining with 'Spider-Man' to bringing truth and justice all across America," Moore said.


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