Courageous to put 'Brokeback'
on screen? Not really, says Westates official
By Aaron Falk
February 6, 2006 | With Brokeback Mountain
earning eight Oscar nominations, the film has
lassoed as much acclaim as it has controversy.
But the decision to bring the film about a secret
love between two gay cowboys to Cache Valley was
simple for Westates Vice President T.J. Rudman.
It all comes down to numbers.
"It's a controversial subject matter, but there's
a demand too see it and people are mature enough
to decide what movies they watch," he said. "I
don't agree with chopping off heads with a saw
or cutting off fingers with bolt cutters, but
we played Saw 2 and Hostel.
"If there's a market, and if we have a screen
available and can get a print, we'll show it.
. . . Brokeback is not going to set any
records in Logan, but if people want to see it,
we're going to do what we can to get it to them."
The film first made its way into the Providence
Stadium 8 theater a few weeks after it hit Salt
Lake City. Rudman said this is simply because
the film's distributor, Focus Films, had not made
enough prints of the movie available for a smaller
market such as Cache Valley.
The Brokeback Mountain poster
hangs outside a theater in Providence.
/ Photo by Shannon Gibbs
Rudman said many films distributed by small companies,
such as Focus, are hard to get. But he said he tries
to secure as many prints as he can for Cache Valley.
"It's one of the misconceptions that we have a list
of films we're going to show," he said. "But distributors
decide how many prints they're going to make and where
it's going to play."
Rudman said Focus recently released and additional
500 to 600 prints of Brokeback Mountain, which
allowed Westates to show the film. He said he has also
been trying to get prints of Capote and The
Squid and the Whale.
"I think we've done quite well in Logan, getting a
whole bunch of films that were not very widely released,"
he said. "We've played Fahrenheit 9-11, Supersize
Me, Passion of the Christ, New York Doll, every
limited-release film that I could get."
While Rudman said many of these limited-release films
are the most critically acclaimed, and even top his
favorites list, they are not big money makers for his
"For the most part, they don't do very well," he said.
"I can't put Brokeback Mountain on four screens,
because at the end of the day, I have to ask how Harry
Potter grosses against Brokeback Mountain.
Rudman said he has received some complaints about
the film and even more thanks for bringing it to Logan
and St. George.
"I got a thank-you note from someone in Providence
who said it was heroic and courageous," Rudman said.
"There's nothing heroic or courageous about it. All
we do is show a movie."