High Time for Fine Line To Light Up More Theatres

High Time for Fine Line To Light Up More Theatres
Posted by FoM on September 02, 2000 at 11:57:37 PT
By Josh Chetwynd & Andy Seiler, USA TODAY
Source: USA Today
Saving Grace is flying high. Not only has the comedy about a woman who is forced to grow marijuana in her greenhouse after her debt-ridden husband dies made $3.4 million in limited release since opening Aug. 4, but now the film is going to become the second-widest release in Fine Line Features history. (The broadest: the Oscar-nominated Shine.)This weekend Grace, which stars Brenda Blethyn (Secrets & Lies) and Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show), expands to 870 screens -- an increase of more than 600 theaters. 
That's a broader release than The Player, one of the company's biggest hits. Not bad for a movie that Fine Line, New Line Cinema's specialty division, never expected to go beyond 500 screens.''The testing scores were higher than we had on Shine,'' Fine Line distribution chief Steve Friedlander says. ''We originally opened Saving Grace in 15 art-house theaters and 15 commercial theaters. Normally, a film like this will play best in the art-house theaters, but this movie was playing just as well in commercial theaters.''What particularly has pleased Fine Line executives is the broad following the movie has attracted -- despite the light approach to the drug-related topic.''We've had blue-haired old ladies coming out of the film giggling, and people with tattoos and dyed-blue hair enjoying the film,'' Friedlander says.Some 75% of Grace audiences thought the film would appeal to both art-house patrons and regular moviegoers, according to Fine Line polling. Usually, 75% of audiences for such small films believe that the movie will appeal exclusively to art-house crowds, Friedlander says.Although general audiences have embraced the film, one special group -- supporters of marijuana legalization -- has had surprisingly mixed opinions.Fine Line approached the publication High Times about doing a promotion for the film but was rebuffed.''The interesting thing with High Times is they have a very pure stance about marijuana and the use of marijuana,'' says Marian Koltai-Levine, Fine Line's executive vice president of marketing.''They thought that the way the marijuana was raised and grown in the film wasn't authentic and opted to not do anything.''But Kris Krane, chapter coordinator for National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says that while the group won't be out campaigning for the film, he's happy that it's doing well.''It portrays marijuana in a more positive light than usual,'' Krane says, ''showing that it isn't a harmful substance, showing people smoking and having a good time.''  Published: September 1, 2000 Copyright 2000 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.  Related Articles & Web Sites:NORML Times Grace Your Garden Grow Movies About Marijuana Are Sprouting Like Weeds Grace Delivers Delightful Comic High
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