An explicit sex scene involving two men and a woman in Canadian director Atom Egoyan's latest movie is expected to earn the film a prohibitive rating in the U.S. that, if sustained, will "severely limit" its box office there, Mr. Egoyan predicted yesterday. . . .
. . . given what Mr. Egoyan calls "the very conservative climate in America," he and the film's North American distributor, Toronto-based ThinkFilm Inc., "strongly suspect" it will be rated NC-17. This means no one 17 years of age or under in the U.S. will be allowed admission, even if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
While "Where the Truth Lies" has some tough violence, nudity, lesbian encounters and drug-taking, it is a sex scene involving stars Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon and the film's female lead, 29-year-old Rachel Blanchard, that seems to be giving U.S. adjudicators trouble -- something U.S. observers told Mr. Egoyan he might expect after the movie's world premiere in May at the Cannes film festival.
"I guess I'm naive; I really had no idea it would be a problem," the director said at that time. . . .
But besides restricting the audience, an NC-17 classification likely would limit the marketing potential of the movie in the United States. . . . As a result, "that severely limits the commercial opportunities of the film," Mr. Egoyan said.
Break me a fucking give. This is Atom Egoyan we're talking about here, not Rob Cohen. An NC-17 rating is not going to hamper his box office performance because his movies never make any money!
Egoyan's last four full-length feature films have done the following business:
Ararat - $1.5 million
Felicia's Journey - $820,000
The Sweet Hereafter - $4.3 million
Exotica - $5.1 million
That's not opening weekend, that's total domestic gross. In real, constant dollars, the economic impact to Egoyan of an NC-17 versus an R will be about $3.75. If he's really broken up about it, I'll treat him to a Venti Frappuccino and we'll call it even.
Pile on top of this Egoyan's theatrical fretting that an NC-17 will keep the lucrative teenage demographic away from his movie, as if the crowd that goes to see Bad Boys II was really looking forward to Egoyan's precious art film.
And let's not even touch Egoyan's ludicrous worry that it's the "very conservative climate" in George Bush's fascist police state that's contributing to the MPAA's rating. (We all know that the MPAA is just another one of Karl Rove's puppet organizations.) I'll just say that, without having seen Mr. Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies, movies with tough violence, nudity, drug-taking, and graphic sex are precisely why the NC-17 rating was invented.
Of course Egoyan must know all of this. But how could he be expected to pass up a chance to preen and play the martyr.