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Al Gore film "An Inconvenient Truth" now third highest grossing political documentary of all-time

www.sfgate.com:

JULY 8, 2006

Since the Al Gore global warming film, "An Inconvenient Truth," opened in the Bay Area five weeks ago, approving audiences have left the theater murmuring a similar refrain: "I hope the people who need to see it, see it."

In the region's politically blue vernacular, that translates as "red state audiences." And so far, those audiences are seeing it. The film is playing in the nation's top 185 markets, getting off-the-chart audience recommendations in conservative bastions like Plano, Texas, and Orange County. "Truth" is the third-highest-grossing political documentary of all time, behind Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" (which grossed $119 million) and "Bowling for Columbine" ($21 million).

So far, the science in the movie has survived scrutiny. In June, as the film opened to a wider audience, 19 climate scientists who had seen the film or read the accompanying book told the Associated Press that "Truth's" depictions are accurate.

Artistically speaking, the Web site www.metacritic.com compiled the weighted average of 31 reviews from national critics and gave "An Inconvenient Truth" "generally favorable reviews" -- a score of 74 out of 100, 15th-highest among films in theaters.

More critical to the film's continued theatrical run: 87 percent of the respondents said they'd recommend the film to a friend; the industry average for a successful film is 47 percent, he said.

"For people who are motivated to see the film, they're saying that it is entertaining and inspirational," Schulze said. "We're very enthused about its performance and see it staying in theaters all summer."

But last summer, Guggenheim and Gore realized the challenges behind the phrase "for people who are motivated to see the film" -- especially, as Guggenheim termed it, "a movie about a slide show on global warming that features a man who was at the center of a highly charged political election."

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