film version of writer Annie Proulx's cowboy love story,
Brokeback Mountain, opened December 9 to long lines of moviegoers
in three cities. By the end of the weekend it had
broken box-office records and carried home some of the first
major prizes of the year-end season.
Open only in New
York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles--five theaters
total--the Focus Features film raked in more than half
a million dollars, for an average of $109,000 per
location, the highest per-screen average for any movie
released in 2005. That was more money in three days than
the grand total grossed by such gay-inclusive 2005 films as
Cote d'Azur, The Dying Gaul, and Gus Van Sant's Last Days. Van Sant was one of the directors who tried
to get Brokeback made in the late 1990s and
early 2000s, without success.
"This is an
astonishing accomplishment and a real testament to how
this film is connecting with audiences," said Neil G.
Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation. "Brokeback Mountain is truly a
remarkable event, and its journey and impact are just
Directed by Ang
Lee (The Wedding Banquet, Crouching Tiger Hidden
Dragon), the film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath
Ledger as cowboys who meet on the titular mountain in 1963,
where they spend a summer together herding sheep and
discovering a mutual attraction they can't resist. The
film covers the subsequent 20 years of their lives as
they continue their secret affair through marriages, long
distance, and fear of societal condemnation.
reception to the movie has been glowing since its debut in
September at the Toronto Film Festival, where it won the top
prize, and on Saturday the Los Angeles Film Critics
Association named it the best film of the year. The
group also gave Lee the Best Director prize.
Gyllenhaal and Ledger did not win acting honors from the Los
Angeles critics; that went to another actor in a gay
role, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in the
film Capote. (Advocate.com)