Story by: Jack Foley
CONTROVERSIAL film-maker, Michael Moore, has declared that if
his new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 can ‘inspire a few of that
50 per cent that did not vote in this country to get back involved,
to re-engage, then the movie will have accomplished something
The comments came as the movie premiered in Washington in front
of an 800-strong audience of mostly Democrats on Wednesday night
(June 23, 2004).
The politically-sensitive movie, which became the talk of Cannes
when it debuted, alleging links between President Bush and Saudi
families, including Osama Bin Laden, and which is said to contain
the first footage of abuse by US soldiers, was applauded by many
of the viewers, including actress, Sally Field.
The screening looks to have heightened interest ahead of the
full release of the film, on June 25, well in time for the upcoming
Commenting after the screening, Democratic National Committee
chairman, Terry McAuliffe, reportedly told reporters at the Washington
screening that he thought the film would play an important role
in the Presidential election.
He remarked: "This movie raises a lot of the issues that
Americans are talking about, that George Bush has been asleep
at the switch since he's been president."
The film has already created a political
storm, in light of claims, by Moore, that Disney attempted to
stop its release, and that the White House had tried to intervene
in its production.
But while the director eventually won his fight to get the film
released States-side, he was dealt further blows by the censors
decision to award it an R rating, and by a claim from author,
Ray Bradbury, whose book the film’s name is derived, that
Moore had not asked to use his title for the documentary.
Bradbury declared, ‘that's not his novel, that's not his
title’, and insists that the film should now be renamed,
and although he is keen to avoid litigation, has hinted that he
would be willing to pursue it if a gentlemen’s agreement
cannot be reached.
Moore remains most upset about the film’s rating, feeling
that it has deliberately been done to keep people away - and he
even urged children to steal into cinemas, so that they could
form their own opinions of it.
There was some more good news, however. The film's limited release
in New York broke single-day box office records, grossing $49,000
(£27,000) alone at the Loews Village 7 cinema, easily beating
the theatre's previous record, of $43,435 (£24,000), set
by Men in Black in 1997.
Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate Films Releasing, added
it had taken more than $30,000 (£16,500) at the Lincoln
The documentary has already won the prestigious Palme
d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival, where head judge,
subsequently came out to defend its selection as the number one
It is now in the hands of the US public, as it is due to open
in 868 screens across the US on Friday - although critics
have, thus far, been largely positive.