Filmmaker Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” scored $21.8 million in it’s opening weekend June 25-27, becoming the very first documentary to rank #1 in Hollywood’s top weekend grosses. It has also attracted large following of young people who generally don’t go to the movies to watch documentaries. In Los Angeles for example, where scoring tickets last weekend meant hours of waiting in lines, those lines were comprised of a high percentage of 15-25-year-olds. And in President George Bush’s hometown of Houston, TX, the same weekend, young people attending the opening dates of the Vans Warped Tour were as likely to wear stenciled “Bush is Not My President” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” T-shirts as they were to wear the apparel of their favorite band.
“The protests [to this administration] in terms of shirt designs, graffiti, and political sentiments among young people attending the Vans Warped Tour this year is astounding,” reported Tom Wallace, President of Label Networks, on Sunday from the tour. “We’ve been the official marketing intelligence and research company for Warped for 4 years, so we’re tracking the trends and one of the major ones going on is anti-war, anti-Bush sentiment among America’s youth,” continued Wallace. The Warped Tour, which covers 49 cities across North America, attracting more than 700,000 young people each summer for the past 10 years, has often been a barometer for discovering new trends, attitudes, styles, and opinions among the youth marketplace.
The research team for Label also reported that many young people were looking forward to checking out “Fahrenheit /11” because it’s a movie that from their perspective, “explains the truth about what’s really going on with this Presidency.” Many young people also talked about “Bowling for Columbine,” Moore’s Academy A ward winning documentary in 2002, which takes on issues of gun control and gun violence and the Columbine High School shootings, which for some, have left scars as indelible as the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"Fahrenheit 9/11," is Moore’s latest documentary covering President Bush’s actions after the 2001 terrorist attacks. It won the top honor at last month's Cannes Film Festival and has attracted attention from both sides in the presidential campaign.
According to David Germain from the Associated Press, the movie has been embraced by left-wing groups, which mobilized members to see it during the opening weekend. Conservative groups sought to discourage theaters from showing it and asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to examine its ads for potential violations of campaign-finance law regulating when commercials may feature a presidential candidate.
"I want to thank all the right-wing organizations out there who tried to stop the film, either from their harassment campaign that didn't work on the theater owners, or going to the FEC to get our ads removed from television, to all the things that have been said on television," Moore said in the AP article. "It's only encouraged more people to go and see it."
Lions Gate and IFC came on board after Disney refused to let subsidiary Miramax release "Fahrenheit 9/11" because of its political content. Miramax bosses Harvey and Bob Weinstein bought back the film and went looking for independent distributors.
Top movies for the weekend included:
1. "Fahrenheit 9/11," $21.8 million.
2. "White Chicks," $19.6 million.
3. "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," $18.5 million.
4. "The Terminal," $13.9 million.
5. "The Notebook," $13 million.
6. "Harry Potter (news - web sites) and the Prisoner of Azkaban," $11.4 million.
7. "Shrek 2," $10.5 million.
8. "Garfield: The Movie," $7 million.
9. "Two Brothers," $6.2 million.
10. "The Stepford Wives," $5.2 million.