TORONTO — Canadian distrib Maple Pictures is mounting a newspaper ad campaign in Buffalo, N.Y., and contemplating doing the same in other northern U.S. cities to entice American moviegoers to venture north to see “Death of a President.”
The ads will run in Buffalo newspapers on Friday, the day the film opens on 50 screens across Canada and an unknown number of screens in the U.S.
The faux documentary/thriller has raised hackles across the U.S. for a fictional scene in which President George W. Bush is assassinated. Directed by British filmmaker Gabriel Range, pic won the Fipresci prize at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
Three of America’s largest exhibitors — Cinemark USA, Regal Entertainment and AMC — have refused to screen the film, and others may follow. Both CNN and National Public Radio have said they will not run ads promoting the film “because of the extreme nature of the movie’s subject matter.”
It appears the film will not screen anywhere in Buffalo, so Maple Pictures is suggesting Americans drive an hour to Hamilton, Ontario, to see it.
“We are committed to making ‘Death of a President’ available to as wide an audience as possible so that they can establish their own informed opinions about the film,” said John Bain, Maple’s senior VP, distribution.
Maple is waiting to see the availability of the film in cities such as Seattle and Detroit before it decides whether to widen its ad campaign.