Friday, February 17, 2006

�Brokeback Mountain�: A Hit With Red State Women - Arts Extra - Newsweek -

�Brokeback Mountain�: A Hit With Red State Women - Arts Extra - Newsweek - "By Susanna Schrobsdorff
Updated: 11:16 a.m. ET Jan. 20, 2006
Jan. 20, 2006 - If you think discussions about �Brokeback Mountain� are winding down, think again. The story of a doomed love affair between two cowboys in 1960s Wyoming has become a surprise commercial success, as well as a critical hit. On Tuesday, one day after its best-picture win at the Golden Globes, Ang Lee�s film based on an Annie Proulx short story hit No. 1 at the box office, topping the mainstream sports drama �Glory Road,� which was showing on about three times as many screens. With a nationwide take of more than $33 million, it has already earned more than double its production costs.
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This weekend the Focus Features film, which stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as hunky star-crossed lovers, will move to about 1,200 screens (up from 684) and reach even more suburban markets. But don�t necessarily expect �Brokeback,� which has a fairly explicit sex scene with the two men, to ignite widespread heartland protests. So far it has played relatively well outside the traditional coastal city areas where somber indie hits usually rise and fall. Producer James Schamus explains: �What�s driving the gross now is the gigantic numbers from the small and medium-sized cities, not New York and Los Angeles.� He attributes its success to lots of advance, Internet-driven buzz and near-universal critical acclaim.
Ben Fritz, a box-office reporter for Variety magazine, says that Focus has had a deliberately cautious strategy in distributing the film. 'They've been very judicious in letting it build,' he says. 'By the time it reaches these small cities, there's been s"


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