Israel warms to ‘Munich’

Spielberg pic bows well despite crix

While critics in Israel weren’t wowed by “Munich,” the film opened well at the box office.

Steven Spielberg pic, nominated for five Academy Awards on Tuesday, bowed last week in the No. 1 slot, with 25,000 admissions — more than double its nearest rival. That translates to $107,000.

“It’s exceeded our expectations. It’s a public interest issue. It is already the talk of the day,” says Dorit Ishay of Globus Group, which is handling the pic in Israel.

“Munich” opened wide with 30 prints, the same number as family blockbusters “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “King Kong.”

Some Hollywood blockbusters have bowed to 35,000 admissions in wide release. But the tallies are good, and even the shock victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections days before the film’s release hasn’t deterred the Israeli public from attending.

The critics haven’t deterred them, either. The conservative Jerusalem Post complained that the thriller was muddled and boring, while Haaretz, Israel’s leading liberal daily newspaper, griped, “There is something slovenly about the way in which Spielberg constructs the film, a slovenliness that leaks into the directing style itself.”

Still, Haaretz defended Spielberg against charges that the film alters the facts: “Cinema has no obligation to chronicle history, even if by its very existence the film becomes part of history, often representing it or even replacing it in our memories,” it said.

(Wire services contributed to this report.)

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