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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 30, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Open wide . . . time for “Milk”

One of my favorite movies of last year is finally getting a wider release — more than two months after its initial opening. “Milk,” starring Sean Penn as pioneering gay politician Harvey Milk, opened quietly in just a handful of theaters back on Thanksgiving weekend. Since then, it’s been slowly gathering buzz and winning awards (most recently, Penn took best actor at the Screen Actors’ Guild award). This weekend, reports Anne Thompson at Variety, distributor Focus Features will jump the film from its current 300-screen release to 882. “Milk” opened here at the Egyptian and Lincoln Square only; it’s still at the Egyptian, but now can be viewed in Tacoma (Grand Cinemas), Bainbridge Island (Bainbridge Cinemas), Redmond (Gold Class Cinemas — but beware the high ticket cost), Puyallup (Longston Place 14) and Port Orchard (Orchard Theater. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out showtimes here.
The platform release strategy (i.e. opening in just a few selected cities, on one or two screens each, with a later expansion planned) is a common one, particularly to build buzz before awards season. It’s frustrating for moviegoers, particularly those who don’t live near a downtown theater: Readers in outlying areas are always asking me if they really need to drive all the way into town to see a particular movie, or if it’s safe to wait and hope that it will come to their area. (I always try to find the answer, but sometimes even the distributors themselves don’t know the next step — some platform-release movies flop on their initial weekend, and never get to expansion.) By now I’m guessing most of you who wanted to see “Milk” have gotten to it — two months is a long time — but better late than never.
“The Reader” also expands this weekend, with a handful of new theaters including Tukwila (Regal Parkway), Lynnwood (Alderwood Mall 16), Federal Way (Century Federal Way) and Port Orchard (Orchard Theater). “Frost/Nixon,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (the only best picture contender to open wide) continue at multiple theaters. Or you could just stay at home and watch “The Dark Knight” on DVD again.

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