Check this out. It's from today's Salt Lake Tribune. For the last week, the city has been roiled in this whole Brokeback Mountain thing. Larry Miller, prominent (LDS) business man pulled it from his theaters at the very last minute when heard what it contained, and the whole city/country is talking about Utah as this wonderful Quaker State, where nobody does anything that might detract from some pristine communal set of values... gimme a freakin break. Then, last night on the news, I hear that one of the two local CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOLS, Juan Diego Catholic High School, took their seniors to the movie. They interviewed the school's principal on the news last night, and he said that ALL the parents supported the activity, and then he said, get this, "seeing a movie like this promotes acceptance and tolerance in our communities, and it makes people better Christians, and therefore better Catholics." Good for him. Why couldn't "another" major religion in this fine "community" see that light??? Hmmm, maybe I should be a catholic. Interestingly, both my wife and I have said that if it were up to us, our kids would be going to that school. This event just goes to show that that comment is still valid, and well-supported.
Miller's move: shrewd or rash?Views: Some say it's smart, but a PR expert says it's fiery Larry of old
By Steven Oberbeck The Salt Lake Tribune
Family values activists gathering in Salt Lake City this weekend will urge supporters to steer their dollars to Larry H. Miller's businesses because the auto and movie-house magnate yanked the critically acclaimed gay romance ''Brokeback Mountain'' from his Sandy theater complex. Miller's move will provide plenty of fodder for this year's meeting of the conservative Utah Eagle Forum, according to the group's president, Gayle Ruzicka. "I for one will certainly be trying to support his businesses," Ruzicka said. "And I'm sure that others who already have done business with his companies will be supporting them even more." "Brokeback Mountain" is based on a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx and is about a 20-year romance between two Wyoming sheepherders. The Utah Film Critics Society named "Brokeback Mountain" the year's best movie, and also gave top honors to director Ang Lee. The movie has received similar honors from critics' groups nationwide, as well as seven Golden Globe nominations, four Screen Actors Guild nominations, and nominations for Directors Guild, Writers Guild and Producers Guild awards. Miller initially told a radio reporter he would not act as a censor and would let the market decide whether the movie was worthy of its billing. Then, two hours later, he pulled the show from his theater's lineup. The decision drew national and international criticism and once again made Utah the butt of numerous jokes poking fun at the negative stereotypes surrounding the state's predominantly Mormon population. But even members of Utah's gay and lesbian community concede that, given the overwhelmingly conservative nature of the state's residents, Miller may have scored a marketing coup and could end up attracting a lot more customers to his auto dealerships, professional sports teams and restaurants than he has driven off. "If you want to look at it strictly from a playing the numbers standpoint, it probably wasn't too bad of a move," said Valerie A. Larabee, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Community Center of Utah. "At the same time, he's certainly increased interest locally in what is a very beautiful movie." From a marketing standpoint, Miller appears to have read his audience well, although it would have been better for his businesses had there been no controversy at all, said Russell Belk, a professor at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. "You have to assume he was expecting more support than backlash," Belk said. "And considering the demographics of Utah, he probably wasn't too far off." Miller continues to remain silent about the reasons behind the decision. But one public relations professional, Politis Communications' president David Politis, doubts that Miller's decision was a calculated move. "I believe it was the result of a spur of the moment decision, a passionate reaction that came about after he learned what the movie was about," Politis said. "We've seen him make split-second decisions in the past when things have upset him." In October 1994, Miller canceled a Delta Center appearance by shock rocker Marilyn Manson, the scheduled warm-up act for industrial-rock band Nine Inch Nails. Miller said Manson's stage show was too offensive. At the concert, Nine Inch Nails frontman, Trent Reznor, invited Manson to the stage anyway, where the rocker ripped pages from The Book of Mormon and threw them to the audience. Five months earlier, Miller, fed up with verbal assaults from a Denver Nuggets' fan, punched him and later apologized in a tearful news conference. Since then, Miller's outbursts have been aimed at his own players, usually after lackluster play. Another observer suggested that the decision to cancel "Brokeback Mountain" will neither hurt nor help Miller's businesses. "My guess is that most people probably aren't that aware of all of his business holdings anyway," said Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank in Salt Lake City. "Considering the conservative nature of our population, I'm sure a lot of people think: We'll, it's his business and he's entitled to do with it what he wants."