Will 'Mel factor' keep moviegoers from film?
LOS ANGELES -- When Mel Gibson's Mayan-history epic "Apocalypto" opens next Friday, all of Hollywood will be waiting for the verdict: whether filmgoers will have forgiven the actor's indiscretions.
The film's distributor, Walt Disney Co., is waiting to discover whether American and world audiences will separate the man from the movie.
"If you have a great film, people will go," said producer Lynda Obst, who has a production company at Paramount.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly for next week's cover issue, the Australian-reared actor said he's confident his movie will not be hurt.
"It's primarily entertainment," Mr. Gibson told the magazine. "An 18-year-old college guy, out with his buddies, he's going to get into the chase. The movie will stand on its own, regardless of any unfortunate experience I may have stumbled upon."
Disney got such "an enthusiastic response" at an exhibitor screening Monday that it gave "Apocalypto" a vote of confidence by deciding to open it on more than 2,500 North American screens, up from the previous 2,000, according to Daily Variety.