'Love Is Strange' Is Undeterred by R Rating, Opens Strong in Limited Theaters
Ira Sachs' "Love Is Strange" is making a buzz as the gay romantic drama opens strong at specialty box office. The Sony Pictures Classics release debuted to an estimated gross of $126,550 in five New York and Los Angeles theaters, for a strong per-screen average of $25,310. It was a top theater average of the weekend of any film.
Starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, "Love Is Strange" follows a newly-married gay couple who is forced to live separately with relatives after experiencing a financial set-back. Molina was a Catholic school teacher who was fired from his job when news of his marriage reaches the archdiocese.
A little controversy followed the film before its release when Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R Rating for language. MPAA was later accused for being homophobic because two other new movies "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" and "Jersey Shore Massacre" feature violence and adult themes but received the same grading. "Love Is Strange" features no nudity or violence.
"If there's an equivalence among these three films, and their equal unsuitability for anyone under 17, it's lost on me - and, I suspect, on anyone but the censors at the MPAA," Stephen Whitty of the New Jersey Star-Ledger commented. "Not only is there nothing violent in 'Love Is Strange', there's not even anything explicit. It is about as mild and mainstream a portrayal of gay life as you can imagine."
An MPAA spokesman later released a statement to defend the rating, saying, "The descriptor that accompanies the film's rating notes that it is rated R for language - as is any film that includes the same level of strong language, regardless of subject matter."
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