Director Ang Lee's cowboy love story rambled into three locations in New York City, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco and rustled up the highest per theater average on record for a live action movie.
Brokeback Mountain corralled $547,425 over the weekend, or a potent $109,485 per site. The average ranks ninth overall among the top weekend averages since 1982, behind animated features including The Lion King and Pocahontas. Adjust for ticket price inflation, and only Evita and Edward Scissorhands inch ahead among live action pictures, although each played at two venues where high averages were easier to achieve.
From The Washington Blade:
The New York Film Critics Circle today named "Brokeback" the year's top film, and picked Ang Lee as best director. The group also named Heath Ledger best actor for his role in the film.
"Brokeback [Mountain] was an old-fashioned romance that also fulfilled the group's impulse to be daring and original," Gene Seymour, film critic for Newsday and president of the New York Film Critics Circle, told the AP. "It combines the best of both these elements."
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association named 'Brokeback' as the best picture of the year on Saturday. Director Ang Lee won best director.
After I saw the film last month, I worried that audiences wouldn't connect with the story or that the brief kissing and (Gay) sex would repel audiences. I still remember the audience reaction when Tom Selleck kisses Kevin Kline in In & Out (1997) -- a lot of "Eew!" However, I knew the critics would love it.
I attended a second public screening last night at the Uptown Cinema and was delighted to find that the audience 'got it.' The story line appeals to audiences -- both Gay and straight. The audience had empathy for the characters and displayed an appropriate level of maturity. Hopefully, it is a sign of things to come for Brokeback Mountain and Hollywood.