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Fahrenheit 9/11 in Japan: Sold Out

August 14th, 2004

The day’s tickets, sold out by noon.

Well, I wanted to see F-9/11 again today, and planned to go with a colleague from school. It was playing today at the Ebisu Garden Cinemas, on both screens. My colleague and I agreed to meet at the theater at 2:30 so we could see the 3:10 show. But when I went, I figured I would be smart: I would get there at 2:00, a half hour early, so I could be sure to get a ticket.

Well, you can guess what happened. I was too late. By about four hours. Apparently, when the tickets went on sale at 9:30 am, there was already a big line, which eventually stretched out to longer than a city block. The whole day’s tickets were already sold out before noon, and the tickets to the 3:10 show were gone well before that. Lauren Shannon, who went very early to get tickets for the 11:30 show, couldn’t get anything before the 3:10 show, and eventually wound up giving her tickets to a couple who came all the way from Chiba and found the day sold out.

It may be the first day, a special showing and all–but the fact that so many people came, so early, and some from so far away, are all suggestions that this film will be a very big hit in Japan. Already this film has grossed $114 million in the U.S. and $32 million overseas as of a week ago–with Japan it will without doubt break the $150 million mark–and it still hasn’t been released in Russia, Italy, Greece, Scandinavia, and a dozen other countries; receipts from Mexico, Egypt, Switzerland and a dozen more have still not been tabulated into that total. And then there will be DVD sales, often matching or exceeding domestic ticket sales. For a documentary, this is beyond extraordinary.

And the audiences are… sometimes interesting, as evidenced below. As many of us sat outside (having arrived early, I was waiting for my colleague, and others were taking care of a get-out-the-vote drive), we noticed two gentlemen in robes–clearly monks–talking to reporters outside the entrance. I would’ve loved to know what they were saying about the film…

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