On just about any day this week, large crowds of moviegoers, mostly Armenian, form lines around the block on Maryland Avenue anxiously waiting entry to a theater.
But this isn’t just any movie. This one has the Armenian title “Ararat.”
“Ararat” is the most anticipated and talked about film in the Armenian community. It is a movie that tells the story of the Armenian Genocide, in which roughly 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Turks in 1915 and 1916, at the beginning of World War I.
Written and directed by Atom Egoyan, the film is a movie within a movie about the genocide and how it has affected the lives of Armenians today.
“I’m trying to represent a different generation of people’s approach to this topic,” said Egoyan.
The movie was released Nov. 15 and was scheduled to play on six select screens for three days only.
Most theaters had reported sell-outs before the movie had even been released.
Among one of the selected theaters was the Mann 10 at the Exchange in Glendale. By Nov. 14, the theater had posted signs warning moviegoers that tickets for the Nov. 15, 16 and 17 showings were sold out. As a result, the theater extended the dates for the movie until Thursday.
“To a certain extent I’m proud to see a movie of this caliber playing in a theater such as this,” said Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian.
The movie was also moved from a smaller theater to a larger one to accommodate more people.
“Ararat” will be showing in wider release Nov. 29 in 11 American cities and at more theaters in Los Angeles. Miramax announced the release of the film in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The film ranked at number 27 out of 111 movies playing in theaters last weekend. Comparing the number of dollars earned per theater, “Ararat” was in the lead, taking in an average of $35,188 per theater compared to “Harry Potter,” which generated about $24,000 per theater. The movie made a total of $211,130 as of Tuesday.
In the 87 years since the genocide, this is the first time that a film about the genocide is not just being produced, but distributed and played in theaters.
“I felt victorious that we were finally able to get this on the screen and share the story,” said GCC Board of Trustees member Armine Hacopian. “My grandparents were killed during the Turkish genocide and my father was left an orphan, so I could really identify with some of the stories shared.”
“It’s about time they made a movie about it [Armenian genocide],” said Frank Martinez, a Pasadena City College student. “I have a lot of Armenian and Turkish friends, and this is just the history of it.”
For more information about “Ararat” or for theaters and
show times visit www.miramax.com/ararat.