Contradicting predictions by commentators that Brokeback Mountain would not attract ticket buyers in red-state strongholds like Montana, the film has actually performed strongly in many of those areas, distributor Focus Features has maintained. (Fox News commentator John Gibson remarked: "I think most people do not want to go into a darkened room with a tub of popcorn and munch away watching two guys get it on." His colleague Bill O'Reilly has opined that the film has received critical praise because the media "want to mainstream homosexual conduct." And he predicted, "They're not going to go see the gay cowboys in Montana.") However, the online magazine Salon today (Thursday) quoted the manager of the Wilma Theater in Missoula as saying that the film grossed $33,006 in its first four weekends there -- "one of our best starts for a movie we've ever had." In the conservative town of Kalispell, the film opened last Friday with $3,656. In the town of Whitefish, it took in $2,312 and beat out the three top national draws, including the No. 1 film, Big Momma's House 2. Salon indicated that the film is also a hit in Great Falls, Bozeman, and Helena, where it also opened at No. 1. Meanwhile, L.A. Weekly entertainment columnist Nikki Finke has observed that Brokeback Mountain could be passed over at the Oscar ceremonies. "That's because this year's dirty little secret is the anecdotal evidence pouring in to me about hetero members being unwilling to screen Brokeback Mountain. For a community that takes pride in progressive values, it's shameful that Hollywood's homophobia may be on a par with Pat Robertson's," Finke wrote.
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