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June 29, 2004

Moore and More Deception

How much dishonesty is packed into Fahrenheit 9/11? So much that it is spilling out into coverage and opinions about the movie. Here's "film historian and former Journal reporter" Bob Leddy writing in the Providence Journal:

Conservatives hope that the whole Michael Moore business will dissipate in the national atmosphere of short attention spans. And anyway, the film will be seen only by those who already hew to Moore's politics, right? "There's only a very small percentage of Americans that are going to go and see this movie," said David Bossie, head of a conservative group called Citizens United.

Well, maybe. ...

As a movie event, Fahrenheit 9/11 is the real deal, the likes of which were not equaled even by Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. On the first day of its national release (on fewer than 900 screens), Fahrenheit 9/11 took in $8 million. The figure had tripled by the close of the opening weekend.

Note that, grammatically, it is the "movie event" that was "not equaled even by" The Passion. Naturally, the reader wonders what the measure of realdealdom is, and most writers will satisfy that curiosity by offering explanation in the subsequent sentence. At first glance, one might believe Leddy to have done just that, but if his measure is first-day gross, Moore's film would have made the top 10 list, because Passion currently sits at #10, with $26,556,573. That number, by the way, puts Gibson's film at #3 on the list for films that opened on a Wednesday. (Fahrenheit opened Friday.) As for Moore's movie tripling in revenue — well, almost tripling, to $23.9 million — for opening weekend, well, so did Gibson's (and then some), which took in $83.8 million, Friday to Sunday.

The best I can figure, giving Mr. Leddy (an expert, after all) the benefit of the doubt, and seeing how oddly impressed he is that Moore could rack up those figures "on fewer than 900 screens," he might have been comparing Moore's $27,558 per-theater average to Gibson's $27,554. Or something.

Posted by Justin Katz at June 29, 2004 3:56 PM
Liberalism vs. Conservatism