The two biggest exhibition chains who are saying they won’t play Gabriel Range‘s controversial Death of a President — Phillip Anschutz‘s Regal Entertainment Group and the Texas-based Cinemark USA — are run by people who’ve expressed support for Republican causes and/or the Bush administration. For whatever reason, Nicole Sperling and Anne Thompson‘s story about Newmarket’s difficulties in booking the film fails to mention this.
Death of a President; Regal Entertainment chief Phillip Anschutz
Death of a President, which I saw in Toronto, begins with an imagined, recreated asassination of President Bush in Chicago. It’s mostly about the response to the shooting. It’s obviously anti-Bush to some extent but it’s mainly against people rushing to judgment. Righties, naturally, have accused the film of trying to incite notions of violence against the president. And once the righties decide on a position, the rank-and-file marches precisely to the same beat .
It’s no secret that Anschutz is a big Republican contributor, and in at least one instance Cinemark contributed to the campaign of a Republican candidate for Congress — the late actor Noble Willingham. Cinemark’s corporate headquarters being based in Plano, Texas, suggests some kind of affiliation/accomodation with the Bushies has probably manifested in some form.
Sperling and Thompson’s story says that “several major theater chains are refusing to play the film” but it only mentions Regal and Cinemark as having declared this absolutely. A spokesperson for Sumner Redstone‘s National Amusements is quoted as saying “we’re currently in discussions with the distributor of the film…our film department does consider all films, and we’ve run controversial films in the past.”