ContraCostaTimes.com | 06/18/2004 | Cinematic squabble
In the Bay Area, where 'Fahrenheit 9/11' is booked in more than a dozen locations, theater owners had varying reactions to the debate.
At Brenden Theatres in Concord, a spokeswoman said officials haven't had a chance to screen the movie, and for that reason, haven't decided whether to go ahead with scheduled showings.
But Allen Michaan, owner of Renaissance Rialto group, said no one has asked him to cancel screenings at Lafayette's Park or Oakland's Grand Lake theaters.
'My basic attitude is that the more they would call me and harass me, the more I would want to play this picture,' he said. 'The very concept of a group like this trying to stifle information and political dialogue is absolutely contrary to what America is supposed to be all about. It's appalling.'
Michaan believes debate about the movie will actually drive ticket sales -- in fact, he's taken the unusual step of offering advance tickets for the Lafayette showings via the Orinda Theatre, which he also owns, because it has the necessary computer system.
In the San Francisco office of the Landmark Theater chain, Steve Indig said tickets are already selling for the opening-night screening at Berkeley's California Theater.
"In general, we believe in free expression, from whatever direction that it is," he said. "We've played many controversial films, and this is in a top percentile of controversial films, but we're not shying away from it ...
"We know there's a lot of interest in it, and frankly, we expect to do tremendous business on it."
By Sara Steffens
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