I have some great news to share with you.
"Bowling for Columbine" has set the new all-time opening weekend box office record ($27,000 per screen avg.) for a documentary in the United States! Thank you SO MUCH -- all of you who stood in those enormous lines in Los Angeles and New York trying to get in but couldn't. The unprecedented outpouring of support for this film sent a shock wave through Hollywood. An astounding 18 films opened last Friday in NYC and L.A. -- so, for a documentary to do this well in such a crowded field, it was the last thing anyone expected. And? to break the record set nearly 13 years ago by "Roger & Me" -- it was the only way it should have happened!
Here's a sample of one of the thousands of e-mails I received this week:
"A group of us went to see 'Bowling for Columbine' tonight -- to a completely packed house in the big theater at Loews 19th St. Besides laughter overriding scenes, tears, and applause throughout, there was a spontaneous cheer -- quite loud and sustained -- with the applause at the end of the film. I have never seen that kind of thing in a theater in New York. But I understand. I couldn't keep myself from laughing out loud and crying throughout. And folks didn't rush out, as New Yorkers do. Almost everybody sat through to the end of the credits and left the theater talking furiously. The audience was blown away by the film. It was clear everyone in that room was. This film will do well. It needs to."
Well, now, the true test comes tomorrow -- will the film survive as it expands to the next 20 cities this weekend? I hate how the Hollywood movie distribution system works for independent films -- a week at a time and, depending how well it fares each weekend, that determines if people living farther out from the largest urban areas will get to see the movie. But that's the way it is and I am confident you will help me beat it.
So, if you live in or near any of the following areas, this weekend is your chance to see what I believe may be my best work to date:
NEW YORK CITY AREA
Lincoln Plaza Cinemas - Manhattan
Landmark Sunshine Cinemas - Manhattan
Loews 19th St. Theater - Manhattan
Jaco Bam Rose 4 - Brooklyn, NY
Roosevelt Raceway 10 - Westbury NY
Nam Island 16 - Holtsville NY
Nam Sawmill 10 - Hawthorne NY
Fine Arts - Scarsdale NY
Jacob Burns Film Center - Pleasantville NY
Jaco Bethel - Bethel CT
Garden 3 - Norwalk CT
Montgomery Center - Rocky Hill NJ
LOS ANGELES AREA
Regent - Westwood CA
Laemmle Sunset 5 - Los Angeles CA
Laemmle Town Center - Encino CA
Landmark Rialto South - Pasedena CA
Regal Edwards University ? Irvine CA
Laemmle Westlake Village 2 ? Westlake Village CA
ESP Los Feliz 3 - Los Angeles CA
AMC Rolling Hill - Torrance CA
AMC Media Center 8 - Burbank CA
AMC Promenade 16 - Woodland Hills CA
Westlake Village 2 - Westlake Village CA
Pipers Alley 4 - Chicago IL
Century Cinearts 6 - Evanston IL
Landmark Renaissance Place - Highland Park IL
Ritz at the Bourse - Philadelphia PA
Ritz 6 - Voorhees NJ
Landmark Embarcadero 5 - San Francisco
Landmark Aquarius 2 - Palo Alto CA
Camera One - San Jose CA
Landmark Piedmont 3 - Oakland CA
Landmark Act 1 & 2 - Berkeley CA
Century Arts Sequoia 2 - Mill Valley CA
Copley Place Cinemas 11 - Boston MA
Landmark Kendall Square - Cambridge MA
Landmark Embassy 6 - Waltham MA
Coolidge Corner Theater - Brookline MA
DuPont Circle 5 - Washington DC
Shirlington 7 - Arlington VA
Bethesda Row Cinema 8 - Bethesda MD
Landmark Egyptian - Seattle WA
Landmark Hillcrest Cinema 5 - San Diego CA
This weekend, the film also opens in Canada, starting in Toronto and Vancouver. I will send a separate email this weekend to all my friends in foreign countries about when the film (and other goodies) will be coming your way.
But for those of you who packed the theatres in New York and Los Angeles this past week, I want you to know that your attendance at my film has resulted in me having a much larger forum in which to speak out against the war on Iraq and the other misdeeds of the Bush administration. After being virtually banned from the airwaves during the release of my book, that wall has been broken down by this film's success. I've been able to be a "stand-in" for all of you and say the things on prime time TV that never get said. Mainstream publications like People Magazine (whose critic called the film "provocative, entertaining and maddening -- a must see!") are running feature stories, and this weekend I'm spending the entire hour with Tim Russert on his CNBC show.
But the thing I'm looking forward to the most will happen on Monday night when Phil Donahue will broadcast his MSNBC show LIVE from Flint with an audience of Flint residents and myself. I'll be sure to remind you of this on Monday.
Last night we had the DC premiere of the film amidst a very tense atmosphere as people came into the theatre (a block from the Maryland border) looking both ways and then some. We raised over $50,000 for various groups fighting the Bush agenda. Similar benefit screenings of the film are taking place in cities all across the country this week.
One other piece of news: 81 House Democrats and 29 Senate Democrats last week sided with Bush in his resolution to attack Iraq. They, like all the other Democrats, received the petition that many of you signed vowing not to vote for them if they supported the war. Within 72 hours of posting that petition on my website, over 50,000 of you signed it. It was an awesome response, and the Republicrats are now on notice: If we can't get rid of you on November 5th, we suggest that you start perusing the want ads or monster.com because we promise that you will soon be serving your last term in Congress. As for the 126 Democrats in the House and the 21 others in the Senate who heeded the will of the people, we commend you for your courage. Thank you.
Finally, my apologies to those who have had a hard time getting on my website this week. The server blew out several times from all the heavy traffic. Last January, I was getting 70,000 hits a month. In September, my site got 17 million. In just six hours last Friday, we registered 3 million hits before the server cried "Uncle!" Things are fine now, so check out some of our new stuff, including the weekly missions from Mike's Office of Homeland Security.
Thanks again everyone -- and see ya at THE movie this weekend!
Writer, Director, Inhabitant of a No-Fly Zone
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