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Gauls reopen an old ‘Gate’

Distrib Carlotta believes Cimino pic will generate decent biz

As well as the usual holiday tentpoles, Gallic cinemagoers who aren’t in a hurry have another option this summer — the 3-hour, 40-minute director’s cut of “Heaven’s Gate.”

Michael Cimino‘s epic, which famously precipitated the demise of United Artists a quarter of a century ago, bowed at Paris’ luxury 600-seat Max Linder arthouse theater July 6, after a master class by the filmmaker and female lead Isabelle Huppert.

Sporting his trademark Stetson and dark glasses, Cimino gazed out at the packed theater and gushed, “I’m so excited. I can’t believe there are so many people wanting to see a film we made so long ago. For me it was like yesterday.”

For his many Gallic fans, Cimino’s notorious budgetary excesses don’t count a jot — and they consider “Heaven’s Gate” to be a masterpiece. Hence specialty distrib Carlotta’s optimism that the restored pic could garner decent ticket sales. It’s also screening in Bordeaux.

“There is a generation who know ‘Heaven’s Gate’ by reputation, or they’ve seen it on video. But they’ve never seen it on the bigscreen,” says Carlotta’s Vincent Paul-Boncourt, who thinks the pic could generate ticket sales of 20,000 to 30,000.

“I know it is different in America,” he says. “But here in France the United Artists business is anecdotal. The film is all that matters.”

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