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The reverse-‘Passion’ effect

Conservative groups take aim at Oscar hopeful

Some conservatives are having aneurysms over “Kinsey,” Bill Condon‘s movie about the inconoclastic sex research pioneer.

And its distributor and financier, Fox Searchlight, is anxiously watching for what could be dubbed a “reverse ‘Passion’ effect.”

Groups like Focus on the Family and the Concerned Women of America have blasted the pic’s “homosexual agenda” and blame it for furthering the erosion of the country’s morals.

“Religious conservatives have been highly organized,” says Steve Gilula, distrib prexy of Searchlight. “They were responsible for getting tens of millions of people to turn out for ‘The Passion of the Christ’ and tens of millions of people to vote for Bush. Whether their call for a boycott works remains to be seen.”

But Fox Searchlight marketing prexy Nancy Utley stresses that while “we talked about opening only in ‘blue’ states,” the concept was quickly abandoned; while conservatives made a splash by getting behind “Passion,” their absence isn’t expected to hurt “Kinsey” because they’re not frequent-enough moviegoers to be counted on in the B.O. equation.

Not surprisingly, Searchlight is counting on open-minded urbanites, in both Blue and Red States, to fill “Kinsey’s” coffers.

Besides, there isn’t money to tailor ad campaigns to various states’ political climates as the pic platforms across the nation.

“We don’t have the money right now to do one ad for New York and another for Georgia,” says Gilula, “We’ll have to wait and see.”

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