Originally written in 2005 during the early cinematic release of the Oscar-winning film, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, I look back at this event as just
another example of the kind of in-your-face ignorance and prejudice that, sadly, continue to exist across our so-called “Land of the Free.” The
BROKEBACK financials shown below represent but a fraction of the film’s world-wide box-office gross. Though obviously, Larry Miller’s
decision to ban BROKEBACK from his megaplex screens wasn’t motivated by money, but rather, by his archaic and blatant prejudices.
Democracy. Freedom. Core foundations of our fledgling nation. Yet it seems like every day we’re confronted with examples that contradict
these basic principles on which our country was founded.
Today in Utah, the management of the Megaplex Theatre at Jordon Commons pulled BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN from its screens, mere hours
before it was about to open. I was distressed to learn about this. Not because I’m a fan of the film. I haven’t even seen it. So I can write these
words without personal bias for or against the movie.
Why, I wonder, was the film pulled? Could it have been the personal bias of Larry H. Miller, owner of the Megaplex Theatre chain and the NBA’s
Miller is a powerful and influential figure. That he or the management of his theatre company would exercise personal bias to determine what
filmgoers can and cannot see is censorship plain and simple. But, you may argue, perhaps Megaplex had second thoughts about the film’s
money-making potential. Let’s look at the numbers and let logic dictate the answer:
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN box office history* (cumulative gross):
Week 1: $547,425
Week 2: $3,474,311
Week 3: $7,888,312
Week 4: $15,102,297
*Source: IGN Entertainment, Inc.
Hmmmm. I’m no accountant, but it seems to me this film has been quite profitable. So I have to wonder why the film was pulled? The Associated
Press reports that Cal Gunderson, manager of the Jordon Commons Megaplex, declined to comment. Big surprise. So one must form one’s own
opinion. Here’s mine:
Miller's Megaplex Theatre chains boast a total of 36 screens that are playing a variety of films including HOSTEL (MPAA Rating: R for brutal
scenes of torture and violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use) and GRANDMA'S BOY (MPAA Rating: R for drug use, strong
language throughout, strong crude and sexual humor, and nudity). Apparently brutal torture, drug use, and crude and sexual humor are fine on
Miller's Megaplex screens, but award-winning (top honor at the Venice Festival; most nominations by the Screen Actors Guild) gay western
romances are the stuff of the devil and must be stopped.
Anyway, Megaplex Theatres website offers the public an online forum to voice opinions. I would encourage you to voice yours by clicking on
the link below:
Perhaps I should applaud Miller’s actions. After all, history has shown us that that which is banned, be it music (e.g., The Beatles, The Rolling
Stones, Nirvana), literature (e.g., Orwell’s 1984, Heller’s CATCH 22), or film (e.g., A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE),
often becomes the thing that people most desire to see, hear, or read. No doubt the residents of Sandy, Utah, who really want to see
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN will do so by driving to the next county to a theater not under Miller's prejudicial control. Unless, of course, Miller uses
his NBA-fueled power and influence to ban all driving throughout the Beehive state. In a country where money talks, and whose leaders
advocate spying on each of us, I guess anything is possible.
Thank you, Mr. Miller, for making us believe that, in your case at least, looks and mentality seem to go hand in hand.
M a k i n g a M o u n t a i n O u t o f a, u m, M o u n t a i n
d a v i d y u r k o v i c h