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The gay Western romance Brokeback Mountain continued its winning spree at the box office in its second weekend, which saw the film expand past the gay enclaves of New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Premiering in theaters in St. Louis, Miami, Atlanta, and elsewhere, the film grossed $2.4 million, making it the first since Disney's Pocahontas to make it to the weekend Top 10 while showing on fewer than 100 screens. The Los Angeles Times reports that exhibitor Focus Features was particularly gratified by Brokeback's strong opening at the same theater in Plano, Texas, where Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ reported some of its highest grosses. Focus distribution head Jack Foley told the Times that the film's strong opening at the Cinemark Legacy in the Dallas suburb of Plano "was a revelation about the accessibility of this movie. This is not gay-dependent. Attendance at those theaters indicates the film has the attention of suburban moviegoers." Brokeback Mountain has taken in an estimated $3.3 million in its first 10 days of release.
In other Brokeback news, Ang Lee's film took Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, working from the novella by Annie Proulx) at the 2005 Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards, which were announced Monday. The group--which includes 42 members in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia--also honored Philip Seymour Hoffman as Best Actor for his portrayal of gay author Truman Capote in Capote. Heath Ledger was the Best Actor runner-up for Brokeback; Ledger's costar and companion, Michelle Williams, was the runner-up for Best Supporting Actress, behind Amy Adams for Junebug, and Dan Futterman's Capote screenplay was the runner-up in the Adapted category. SEFCA's top 10 films of 2005 were Brokeback Mountain; Good Night, and Good Luck; Capote; Crash; A History of Violence; The Constant Gardener; Syriana; Cinderella Man; King Kong; and Walk the Line.
Also, the Human Rights Campaign announced that Lee would be presented with the HRC's Equality Award at the organization's Greater New York gala dinner on February 11. "Ang Lee's vision is changing hearts and minds," said HRC president Joe Solmonese in a statement. "Ang Lee's career has been defined by bold artistic choices, and Brokeback Mountain is no exception. Through his moving directorial work, Ang Lee proves the old adage 'Love is love is love.' We are honored to be awarding Mr. Lee with the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Award." (Advocate.com)