A movie theater owned by Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller abruptly changed its screening plans and decided not to show the film “Brokeback Mountain.”
The film, an R-rated Western gay romance story, was supposed to open Friday at the Megaplex at Jordan Commons in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Instead it was pulled from the schedule.
A message posted at the ticket window read: “There has been a change in booking and we will not be showing ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Cal Gunderson, manager of the Jordan Commons Megaplex, declined to comment.
The film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, is about two cowboys who discover feelings for one another. The two eventually marry women but rekindle their relationship over the years.
The movie’s distributor, Focus Features, said that hours before opening, the theater management “reneged on their licensing agreement,” and refused to open the film.
Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Utah Eagle Forum, said not showing the film set an example for the people of Utah.
“I just think (pulling the show) tells the young people especially that maybe there is something wrong with this show,” she said.
Mike Thompson, executive director of the gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah, called it disappointing.
“It’s just a shame that such a beautiful and award-winning film with so much buzz about it is not being made available to a broad Utah audience because of personal bias,” he said.
I happen to disagree with Ruzicka. I am doubtful this shows young people that there’s something wrong with the film. Maybe if they never agreed to play it in the first place, they would have been portraying that ideal. Unfortunately, all they’re saying is that they are hypocrtical and are willing to go back on business contracts. I wonder if they cancel other R-rated shows after agreeing to play them.