"Fahrenheit" breaks UK record

Moore documentary smashes box-office records on opening weekend.

Published July 13, 2004 12:55PM (EDT)

Fahrenheit 9/11, director Michael Moore's unflinching satire on George Bush's administration and the American right, has broken box office records in the UK.

It had the best ever opening weekend for a documentary, grossing more than #1.3m. Its nearest rival is Moore's earlier documentary, Bowling for Columbine, which took #157,898 in the equivalent period.

In the US Fahrenheit 9/11 has become the first documentary to reach the number one box office spot. Moore said after its first week in cinemas that he was "knocked for a loop". Whether the film fulfils his ambition of toppling the Bush administration is another question.

The film traces alleged business links between the Bin Laden and Bush families and contains some particularly biting and witty material on Mr Bush's apparently casual attitude to his presidential responsibilities before September 11 2001.

At its emotional heart lies the bleak notion that the Iraq war saw the ruthless exploitation of the American working class, particularly its ethnic-minority working class, as cannon fodder.

The film was the surprise winner of the Palme D'Or at the Cannes film festival in May, but even before then had been controversial, with Disney  parent company of Miramax, which made the film  saying it was too political for it to distribute in the US.

Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the brothers behind Miramax, bought back the rights and a distributor was found at the 11th hour.

By Charlotte Higgins

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