Film and TV

Utah Theater Nixes Brokeback

Brokeback_still_18A movie theater owned by auto magnate and Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller pulled Brokeback Mountain from its line-up Thursday, advising news media to remove showtimes for the film from its ads.

Miller told a radio reporter, "[Booking a movie like Brokeback is] something that I have to let the market speak to some degree. I don't think I'm qualified to be the community censor."

It would have been a good business decision for Miller, as the movie was pulling in approximately $3,500 per screen over the weekend, more per screen than the weekend's #1 film Hostel, and double the average of Spielberg's Munich.

Yet two hours later, after the reporter had filled Miller in on the plot of the film, the schedule was changed. A sign at the theater's ticket window read: "There has been a change in booking and we will not be showing 'Brokeback Mountain.' We apologize for any inconvenience."

The bigots at Utah Eagle Forum, that state's offshoot of the pro-family organization founded in 1972 by Phyllis Schlafly, were giddy over the censorship. Said President Gayle Ruzicka: "I think it sets an example for all the people in Utah and, like I said before, [Miller is] my new hero. It's such a terrible show, and it is such a horrible message. I just think (pulling the show) tells the young people especially that maybe there is something wrong with this show."

Focus Features called the theater's decision to dishonor their licensing agreement "deplorable."

ALSO: Poulsbo, Washington theater reneges on Brokeback as well. Activist: "I'm suspicious about what was really behind this, but there's no way to really know. Why didn't this theater fight to get its share? Did they say, 'Well, that's a gay movie, let's get another copy of the penguin movie?"

Utah Theater Cancels Brokeback Mountain [ap]
Utah Theater Balks at Brokeback Mountain [kutv]
Theater Pulls Brokeback From its Schedule [ksl]

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  1. for their sake, i hope ignorance does lend bliss; it's all they've got.

    Posted by: CriticalRN | Jan 8, 2006 12:40:55 PM

  2. I can understand Utah’s issues. It’s rough enough, explaining to one wife that, no, you’re not like Jack or Ennis, honest. But all six or seven? Your whole weekend is shot to hell.

    Posted by: Jacko | Jan 8, 2006 12:49:26 PM

  3. I think that all of the stink surrounding Brokeback Mountain is so very helpful. It's important that straight people see sometimes that GLBT people are still subject to irrational and hateful treatment by otherwise subdued members of their own community, and that they have a choice whether to support equality or bigotry. It really is that simple.

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 8, 2006 12:56:37 PM

  4. Oh fine...this only hypes the film further. What's really behind the agenda in pulling this film from theatres is the religious zealots realizing this film depicts an honest struggle of love and the binds that some sects of society put on it. I can't sit still just knowing that "Brokeback" is the little "indie" film that could.

    Posted by: Matthew | Jan 8, 2006 1:06:21 PM

  5. The theater in Poulsbo, Washington that pulled the showing has been reported to be planning to show the film. They ssy there was a misunderstanding with the distrbutor and that it hadn't actally been scheduled for shipment to this theater until later.

    Posted by: John Wilkinson | Jan 8, 2006 1:34:22 PM

  6. "I can understand Utah’s issues. It’s rough enough, explaining to one wife that, no, you’re not like Jack or Ennis, honest. But all six or seven?"

    Since the women probably have sex with each other on a regular basis maybe they'd be more understanding?

    Obviously they married to be with the other wives, why else would the women be so anxious to join into such a marriage?

    If it's okay for seven women to marry one man then why can't seven men marry one woman and the men enjoy sex with each other?

    Posted by: HisHolynessDPope | Jan 8, 2006 2:52:08 PM

  7. "The bigots at Utah Eagle Forum, that state's offshoot of the pro-family organization founded in 1972 by Phyllis Schlafly, were giddy over the censorship. Said President Gayle Ruzicka: "I think it sets an example for all the people in Utah and, like I said before, [Miller is] my new hero."

    Why is it these bigots who like to inject themselves into these made up controversies always look like this?,1249,270019390,00.html

    Posted by: Targetdog | Jan 8, 2006 2:58:23 PM

  8. They are only helping us in the long run. People are naturally inquisitive. By pulling it from theatres, it just makes more people want to see what all the fuss is about.

    On a side note, I've noticed a lot of younger gays here seem to not really 'get it'. That's refreshing in a way. To grow up not knowing the constant fear of being discovered makes for a powerful statement on it's own. For all the work still ahead of us, we've already come a long way.

    Posted by: moby | Jan 8, 2006 3:36:51 PM

  9. I think it's hard for America to see that freedom of expression in thretened by religious extremists. (sorry for my bad english)

    Posted by: aelred | Jan 8, 2006 4:59:42 PM

  10. The same theater in Utah that refuses to show Brokeback IS showing Hostel. Once again, violence and gore is fine as long as there's no sex involved.

    Posted by: Glen | Jan 8, 2006 6:45:19 PM

  11. No biggie. I'm sure will have an enormous amount of "Brokeback Mountain" DVD sales shipping to Utah once the film is available on DVD and video.

    Posted by: Patrick | Jan 8, 2006 7:09:29 PM

  12. Glen, actually the movie Hostel has a ton of sex in the two main characters spend a big part of the movie in Mexico going from whorehouse to whorehouse...but that's all straight sex, so it's ok in Utah.

    Posted by: Patrick | Jan 8, 2006 7:13:50 PM

  13. Makes you realize the extent to which BBMtn is based on reality, even 20 - 40 years later. Very sad. Sadder too that someone actually believes that this "sets an example for all the people in Utah."

    I love the fact that this film is making an impact even in suburban areas and smaller cities.

    I know it's been said before, but don't people get it? Don't they realize what this film is about?

    Good commment Moby... Our hope for the future is the young people who none of this controversy makes sense. It is a non-issue. Because of that, I still have hope that things are changing, albeit very slowly.

    Posted by: randy | Jan 8, 2006 7:31:33 PM

  14. Patrick, thanks for the correction.

    Posted by: Glen | Jan 8, 2006 9:16:04 PM

  15. I didn't know Utah had electricity, much less a movie theater.

    So all twelve people in Utah won't see the movie. That's a shame. I'm sure they're still waiting for the Three Stooges to get back together. Meanwhile, there must be an Audie Murphy movie they haven't seen yet.


    Posted by: Jay Croce | Jan 8, 2006 9:16:18 PM

  16. The producers of Brokeback should be thanking Larry Miller right about now for all the free publicity. (It's headline news all over the country that he yanked the film.) Hell, the guy just sold a whole buncha tickets for them with his pulling the movie shenanigan.

    Same thing happened in Salt Lake a couple of years ago with the film "Latter Days." Touchstone Theatres pulled it from their lineup because of pressure from the Mormons. A brouhaha ensued and the little indie film that could did gonzo business in Salt Lake when another theatre showed it.

    The far-right Christians decided to stay quiet with Brokeback because they didn't want to sell tickets to it with their protests and boycotts. Apparently the Mormons are slow-learners.

    So here's a big thanks to Larry Miller and his sycophantic fan Gayle Ruzicka of the Eagle Forum for generating ticket sales for Brokeback Mountain. You guys rock!

    Posted by: Tom Clark | Jan 8, 2006 9:39:34 PM

  17. Sick and pathetic is what it is, pulling the film. But I agree with the commentators here that it will only bolster the film in the end. Censorship won't work!

    Posted by: Tony R | Jan 8, 2006 10:34:25 PM

  18. Hey, let's all move to Utah and rent homes for about 8 or 9 months. After about a year and a half it will have become a mecca drawing gay tourism and pilgrimage from all over the world. That'll show 'em and sex with a married mormon guy is HOT! Trust me....

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Jan 8, 2006 11:06:45 PM

  19. As yuss orl know Australia is ther 51st state of America (for the moment! believe us!). But we is hangen out not ter be dickheads like UTAH. Hey! bet they has sheep in UTAH!

    Posted by: bazza | Jan 9, 2006 12:31:16 AM

  20. This is big news in Canada too. You guys are right, it is free publicity.

    Posted by: Lady Heather | Jan 9, 2006 9:26:25 AM

  21. On an unrelated subject, has anyone else noted how much smoking there is in BBM? I haven't seen that many cigarettes in a single movie since "All About Eve".

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 9, 2006 9:40:13 AM

  22. You may want to check your numbers on Brokeback's screen average for the weekend. It actually averaged around $11,881 per screen (according to E Online).

    Posted by: Travis | Jan 9, 2006 9:57:49 AM

  23. It's doing great numbers. My report was from an early weekend box office - they'll always be changing, but the good news is, it's doing very well.

    Posted by: andy | Jan 9, 2006 10:16:35 AM

  24. I think the problem in the numbers is just a misplaced comma. The per-screen averages for BBM were $3500 more than for HOSTEL, not "$3500, more than for HOSTEL".

    Posted by: Len | Jan 9, 2006 10:40:47 AM

  25. Here's what has to say about it:

    "A movie theatre in Utah canceled its screenings of Brokeback Mountain this weekend, fearing that the movie's "controversial" subject matter would be a bad influence on young men in the area and their multiple wives."

    made me laugh...

    Posted by: basis4insanity | Jan 9, 2006 11:04:30 AM

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