Movies’ David & Goliath

While Sony is celebrating the returns ($224 million from its 6,000 global playdates in the first week of its “The Da Vinci Code,” Paramount Vantage Films is readying its two-city (N.Y. and L.A.) openings Wednesday of its one million-$ budgeted film of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Reached Monday night at dinner in Cannes, Vantage President John Lesher told me, “We are sticking to our plan — to open slowly and see how the first week goes. I feel we have a really good film and reaction here (in Cannes) has been really good — let’s make sure. I fought like crazy to get this film. Al Gore is the greatest partner and friend anyone could have I feel lucky with all the attention we’ve been getting — massive breaks on the internet. And in his appearances, he (Gore) has been great — humorous, really funny!”

Producer Lawrence Bender chimed in to me, “I have never seen anyone like him. He’s larger than life. He’s like a rock star. He got a standing ovation at the black tie evening at the Grand Palais just as he had at the L.A. Directors Guild premiere last week.”

After this week’s bow, the following expansion dates will be June 2-June 9 and on July 4 (appropriately) goes wilder.

Bender said the filmmakers laugh at a commercial by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) backed by oil companies. It denies and decries theories of global warming, pollution and the evidences of disappearing glaciers and land masses.

Simultaneous with the film’s bow is the initial appearance Wednesday of Gore’s book version of “An Inconvenient Truth” (Rodale Books, $21.95). A second printing is in the works to follow the initial 105, ooo copies.

Gore completed the book two weeks ago, working around the clock. It will be in every major book store — like Barnes and Noble. But so far, not at Wal-Mart.

In his book’s introduction, Gore says, “In 2000 I ran for  President. It was a long and hard-fought  campaign that was ended by a 5-4 decision in the Supreme Court to halt the counting of votes in the key state of Florida. This was a hard blow.

“Right now,” he warns, “we are facing a planetary emergency and it is time for action, not for more phony controversies designed to insure political paralysis.”

He says he’s not running for office.

Too bad.

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