Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 by Hunter Stephenson
Twenty-three days into the month of January, Michael Moore is getting proactive about his New Year’s resolution: he wants one screen in every multiplex in America reserved for foreign films and documentaries. So, how’s your newly implemented exercise regime going so far, everybody? Here’s Moore…
“People want to see documentaries, but there’s a disconnect between that desire and the exhibitors out there,” Moore tells the Hollywood Reporter. “We’re not asking for charity. …This could be on the 15th screen of a multiplex that would otherwise have the sixth showing of the new Harry Potter movie. Some of these films make $200 or $300 per screen.”
If you’re saying to yourself, “Well Michael, I’d like to see that too, and I’d also like to see my college loans turn into Ferraris,” you should know that Moore says he’s spoken to board members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as unnamed documentary directors, industry publicists and marketers in hopes of setting his resolution in motion. His next step is to sit down with the heads of theater chains to get down to what a QT character might call brass tax. No word on whether he’ll sit down with a video camera on his shoulder, but I’d say one of his trusty hats is a lock for a cameo.
And hey, if the theater chains’ top suits won’t give him one screen per cineplex, he says Mondays, which draw reliably weak box office, are ideal common ground. Who else sees Mark Cuban getting involved in this shortly, because I’m getting visions like The Dead Zone? Moore’s ultimate goal is to see foreign films and documentaries unleashed from the “art house ghetto” and into the glorious pits of suburbia, where Diablo Cody once wrote the script to Juno inside a Starbucks nestled inside a Target (or so she says, I’ll go ahead and save you the comment, thanks).
Now, I think Moore’s mission is commendable. My mom needs something to do on Monday nights besides calling me up to fuss over election coverage and personally I don’t give a damn what Hollywood Elsewhere spews, Americans are more open to indie films and foreign films than ever. Unfortunately (but semi-fortunately), the torrent boom plays a huge part in this, but I’ll save that aspect for another post that is a longtime coming. But, yes, the distribution is out-of-whack, too. If Sicko, Moore’s doc about the health-care crisis in America, can gross $25 million, his ideas on documentary and indie distribbing deserve to be heard and pondered. Imagine Tony Kaye’s Lake of Fire playing five miles away from you next Monday.
There is nothing like walking out of a movie into the night and hitting an aloof stride on the parking lot with a wedgie in your ideologies. To adjust or not to adjust. That is the question we need more of.