News - May 1996

"Birdcage" surpasses $100 million mark

LOS ANGELES -- For the first time in history, a film featuring gay characters has broken the $100 million mark, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced April 24. According to Variety, the United Artist release "The Birdcage" the domestic box office gross topped $105 million.

"The success of 'The Birdcage' further dispels the myth that gay-themed films are box office poison," says Tamra King, GLAAD's Entertainment Media Director, "What audiences want to see when they go to the movies are great stories with characters they care about. Given the right mixture, gay-themed films not only do well, but they can produce blockbuster figures."

Within its first six weeks of release, "The Birdcage" has even surpassed the highly successful major studio film "Philadelphia," which grossed approximately $78 million domestically. "La Cage Aux Folles," the 1979 French film on which "The Birdcage" is based, grossed $17 million in the U.S.

In spite of the overall gay positive scene, many in the lesbian and gay community feel that the main characters played by Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are still too stereotypical. In order to address these and other issues surrounding the exploding number of gay themed films, GLAAD will be hosting entertainment industry forums "Beyond The Birdcage" in New York and Los Angeles in May. For more information, please call Tamra King at (213) 658-6775.

GLAAD is a national organization that promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

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