Friday, September 10, 2004

Fahrenheit 9 11 to Hit South Africa in a Fortnight

Cape Argus (Cape Town)
September 10, 2004
Posted to the web September 10, 2004

Disappointed movie-goers who were outraged when Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was put on hold for its South African release earlier this year, can now breathe a sigh of relief.

The film was initially scheduled for a much-awaited release on July 30, but was then removed from the schedule "until further notice", with the distributors giving January as the earliest possible release date.

But, after much ado, it will come to the big screen on September 23 - less than a month after its former scheduled release date.

While talk was rife that political reasons lay behind the earlier postponement, the reason was much simpler: every film has a certain number of prints made based on the expectations of its commercial potential.

Documentaries usually do not draw as large an audience as blockbuster action films and therefore do not usually warrant a large print run.

In the case of Moore's Bush-bashing movie, however, the box office coffers in America surprised everyone, with the film raking in $21.8 million in its first three days. This also made it the first documentary to be the largest grossing film on its opening weekend - subsequently prompting Moore to hold it back from the best documentary category for the Oscars, in the hope that it will be nominated for best film instead.

As a result of this early success in the US, the prints that were available were kept on in that country longer than expected, causing a delay in their reaching countries such as South Africa.

Local interest in the film, however, has not waned, and with the date of the American presidential election growing nearer, the significance of the film has been enhanced, even for audiences at the tip of Africa who show a keen interest in the fate of the world's greatest power.


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