Despite an aggressive attempt by its distributors Lions Gate Films, a division of Lions Gate Entertainment and IFC Films and former New York Governor, Mario Cuomo, who was retained as a legal expert to overturn the R rating for the upcoming release FAHRENHEIT 9/11, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has retained the rating it initially applied to the film, it was announced today by Tom Ortenberg, President of Lions Gate Films and Jonathan Sehring, President of IFC Films. The film is set to open in 800+ theaters across the country this Friday.
“Teenagers should be able to see this film and see it on their own,” declared filmmaker Michael Moore. “Older teenagers are being sent to Iraq, some never to return. To say that teenagers shouldn’t see this movie means that the truth should be kept from them. I encourage all teenagers to come see my movie, by any means necessary. If you need me to sneak you in, let me know.”
Tom Ortenberg, President, Lions Gate Films Releasing stated, “We are beating back the effort of a small minded few to suppress the film and feel that now is the time for less censorship, not more. The film will open in all 50 states on Friday, and the ‘R’ rating will not deter the tremendous anticipation and enthusiasm that we see building for FAHRENHEIT 9/11 as more and more people learn about it.”
“IFC is disappointed and strongly disagrees with the MPAA’s ruling, but we do respect the process and appreciate that the MPAA listened with open minds to our appeal,” said President of IFC Films, Jonathan Sehring. “IFC Films, The Fellowship Adventure Group and Lions Gate remain committed in our support of the film and getting it to reach the largest audience possible. As anyone who has read a paper, watched TV, surfed the web or chatted by a water cooler this week can attest, the interest in FAHRENHEIT 9/11 has grown to mammoth proportions. It is a shame that FAHRENHEIT 9/11 will become inaccessible to a segment of the American population to whom this film has a great deal of relevance.”
This year’s winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, FAHRENHEIT 9/11 opens nationwide on June 25th. The film is being released by a coalition of companies that includes Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s Fellowship Adventure Group, a newly created special-purpose company; Lions Gate Films, the motion picture production and distribution arm of Lions Gate Entertainment (AMEX and TSX: LGF); and IFC Films. Pay TV rights will be handled by Showtime, Lions Gate’s Pay TV partner.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11 is Michael Moore’s first feature film since BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, which won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. FAHRENHEIT 9/11 brought Moore his first Palme d’Or and his second major award from the Cannes Film Festival, following the 55th Anniversary Prize he received at the 2002 Festival. Moore is the first documentary filmmaker in cinema history to be honored twice at Cannes.