‘Brokeback’ cleared way in movies

first_imgDistributor TLA Releasing will expand “Gay Movie” to San Francisco, Philadelphia and Pasadena this weekend, then to 10 other cities on Aug. 11, with the hope that good word-of-mouth will lead to an even wider release. Writer-director Todd Stevens, who made the movie for $500,000, is hoping for box office success but isn’t counting on much crossover appeal. “I didn’t even try to cross over with this film,” Stevens said. “I just went all out with the raunchiness and the gayness of it. I didn’t want to hold back for the audience that I made it for.” In contrast, the gay love story “Adam & Steve,” which TLA Releasing distributed earlier this summer, was not at all sexually explicit. Even the kisses between its two openly gay leading men, Craig Chester and Malcolm Gets, were rather tame compared with the “Brokeback” smooches. “Adam & Steve,” out on DVD on Tuesday, earned $320,000 during its theatrical run. The film also co-starred indie-favorite Parker Posey and former “Saturday Night Live” star Chris Kattan. “We had more of a mainstream approach for that film due to the talent involved,” said Lewis Tice of TLA Releasing. “We opened in 11 markets out of the gate, and that gamble really paid off because the first few weeks, it did gangbusters.” Regent Releasing, which is distributing “Shocked” and will release “Poster Boy” next weekend, also has the gay comedy “The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green” still in theaters. “Unfabulous” is now in its eighth week of release and had grossed $113,153 million as of Sunday. But many gay films have trouble being booked anywhere except at art house theaters because they lack backing such as that “Brokeback” got from Universal Pictures’ specialty film division Focus Features. “The average multiplexes at the neighborhood malls are making their decisions pretty much on supply from major studios,” said Regent Releasing founder and chairman Paul Colichman, producer of “Gods and Monsters,” “Tom & Viv” and other indie films. “If major studios are marketing a film with major stars, they’ll probably take it. They take what is given to them, more or less. For a gay indie film theatrically, the art houses are critically important.” Maria Maggenti, whose first lesbian film, “The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love,” had a successful theatrical run 10 years ago, is hoping her second big-screen directorial effort, “Puccini for Beginners,” will have similar good fortune. But she is anything but overconfident. “I think society at large has become more accepting in a lot of ways in terms of mainstream media. But the film business, in terms of distribution outlets, has shrunk, so it’s a lot harder,” she said. Still, Colichman said any kind of buzz from a theatrical run or film festival can set a movie up well for ancillary markets as DVD and video on demand. Regent Releasing will debut “Shocked” simultaneously on its Here! pay television channel and in its limited theatrical run. “As long as people are seeing the product, it doesn’t make a difference if they are seeing it on their computer, cell phone or cable or satellite feed for TV,” Colichman said. [email protected] (818)713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.“There was a huge fear or belief that you couldn’t tell a story with a gay hero and have it make money. A well-made movie with a good story trumps everything. It’s not just a victory for gay rights; it’s a victory for humanity.” “Brokeback,” which received an Oscar nomination this year for Best Picture, did something no other same-sex love story had ever done before: It crossed over to the mainstream and grossed $83 million domestically. The question now is when, or if, another gay film will achieve similar commercial success. As executive director of Outfest, one of the largest gay and lesbian film festivals in the U.S., Stephen Gutwillig has seen the fortunes of the genre ebb and flow since he began in 1999. But he sees an upswing on the horizon. “I’m optimistic because `Brokeback Mountain” is no harder to replicate than any other great movie that Hollywood has produced,” he said. “No one really knows how to do it, but they will never stop trying and will succeed every now and then. This particular film has simply broadened their definition of what a great American film can be and what a highly profitable film can be.” Where “Brokeback” aimed high artistically, the raucous “Gay Movie” aims strictly for “American Pie”-type laughs. It opened in just two theaters last Friday – one in Los Angeles and one in New York – and made $16,000 per screen. After Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboy lovers in “Brokeback Mountain,” there has been no shortage of gay characters on the big screen this summer. This weekend alone, Robin Williams plays a gay man in “The Night Listener,” opening wide Friday, and gay characters are front and center in the limited releases “Quinceanera” and “Shock to the System: A Donald Strachey Mystery.” In addition, the rowdy indie comedy “Another Gay Movie” begins the second weekend of its run, and the gay love story “Vacationland” opened in New York on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the indie films “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Groomsmen” feature Steve Carell and John Leguiizamo, respectively, in major gay roles central to the plot. “`Brokeback Mountain’ broke down barriers that have existed for a long time,” said actor Chad Allen, the openly gay actor who stars as a gay detective in “Shock to the System.” last_img