‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ coming to S. Korea
July 19, 2004
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Base theaters might not have plans to show “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Michael Moore’s controversial documentary, but soldiers and civilians will get their chance to see the film when it debuts in South Korean theaters this week.
Monday, legislators from the Democratic Liberal Party will host two free screenings at the National Assembly in Seoul, as part of their opposition to the planned dispatch of some 3,000 additional South Korean troops to Iraq.
The film opens at regular theaters throughout South Korea on July 23.
According to DLP members, the free screenings — scheduled for 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. — are meant to build on anti-dispatch momentum that rose after a South Korean civilian was taken hostage and beheaded in Iraq last month.
“By showing the movie that proves the absurdity of Iraq war provoked by Washington, we want to accelerate the anti-dispatch movement in the country through cultural means,” said Kim Sung-hee, a DLP spokesman.
While screenings are open to the public, U.S. military officials routinely warn U.S. Forces Korea personnel to stay away from overtly political events in South Korea.
“Fahrenheit 9/11” has shattered box office records for a nonfiction film in the United States. According to Exhibitor Relations, a box-office tracking firm, the film had brought in nearly $85 million as of Wednesday.
The previous record, set by Moore’s last film, “Bowling for Columbine,” was around $20 million.
Officials at AAFES, which run theaters at most Pacific bases, have said they are pursuing prints of the film. But, “Fahrenheit 9/11” is not on any base theater schedule through the end of July.
AAFES is seeking prints from Lion’s Gate Films, one of the movie’s distributors, said Judd Anstey, an AAFES spokesman in Dallas. Officials have said that — controversy aside — whether or not a film is shown on base depends entirely on its popularity.
Earlier this year, “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the last hours in the life of Jesus Christ, had lengthy runs at base theaters. That film grossed more than $200 million in the United States.
“AAFES’ motion picture policy is to screen films that are popular in the private sector,” AAFES Vice President of Food and Theater Richard Sheff said via e-mail.
“AAFES’ position will not change based on a single feature. If ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ proves popular in the private sector and prints are available, the movie will be shown.”
— Jennifer Kleckner and Pat Dickson contributed to this report.