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Death of a President movie opens to widespread boycott in US

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Friday October 27, 2006

Los Angeles- The faux-documentary movie Death of a President, which depicts the fictional assassination of President George W Bush, opened in limited release in US cinemas Friday despite a boycott from some of the country's largest theatre chains and advertisers. The British-made movie uses real-life news footage and flawless computerized special effects to create a chilling approximation of the assassination of Bush as a jumping-off point to examine America's response to threats and terror.

It sparked outrage when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won the International Critics' Prize.

Critics charged that the movie appears to encourage attempts on the life of Bush. Nevertheless it was picked up for US distribution by Newmarket Films, the same outfit that previously handled the release of the controversial Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ.

However, Regal Entertainment Group, the largest movie theatre operator in the US, is not screening the movie on any of its 6,300 screens.

"We do not feel it is appropriate to portray the future assassination of a president," Regal's Dick Westerling told the San Jose Mercury News.

Other large chains like AMC and Cinemark have also declined to show the movie, which is screening in only 120 theatres.

To further strangle interest in the film, media outlets like CNN and National Public Radio have refused to carry advertisements for the movie, citing "the extreme nature of the movie's subject matter."

"There have been a lot of concerns about the film's subject matter from across the spectrum. We felt that a sponsorship was inconsistent with what our listeners expect of us," NPR said in a statement.

Newmarket blasted the boycott decision.

"To refuse to accept ads for a movie is tantamount to saying it shouldn't be seen, and this runs counter to everything we are supposed to believe in as a free society," co-founder Chris Ball said in a statement.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency