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Love Is Strange Is a Box Office Standout

By Daniel Reynolds

Love Is Strange was embraced by audiences last weekend.

The film, which stars Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as longtime partners, screened in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles, where it drew packed crowds.

The Hollywood Reporter reports it grossed $126,552, which averages to $25,301 per venue — the highest average for any movie last weekend.

Directed by Ira Sachs, Love Is Strange debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to critical acclaim. It has currently received a 96 percent "fresh" rating on review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com. Out called it a "post-gay landmark in cinema."

The plot centers on the relationship between the characters played by Molina and Lithgow, gay New Yorkers who marry after being together for nearly 40 years. In a twist ripped from headlines, however, Molina is fired from his position as a Catholic school music teacher after news of the wedding spreads to his superiors, and the loss of income forces the men to sell their apartment and temporarily part ways to seek housing with friends and relatives, among them Cheyenne Jackson and Marisa Tomei.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave Love Is Strange an R rating, which has been the subject of controversy among some critics, as the film has no nudity, sexual situations, or violence. New Jersey Star-Ledger writer Stephen Whitty recently pointed this out as an example of an apparent double standard by which the Motion Picture Association of America judges films with gay subject matter.

In a recent interview with The Advocate, gay filmmaker Ira Sachs also spoke out against the rating, stating: “I have a strong feeling that many of those same people — mostly men — are still on the MPAA board today, making these arcane decisions very out of step with our times.”

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