Thursday, December 20, 2007

After Delay, 'Kite Runner' Released
The Book Standard December 19, 2007

It has been several days since the limited release of DreamWorks and Paramount Vantage's The Kite Runner, based on the bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini, and viewers still have a few more days until the film opens in a total of 350 theaters nationwide.
But among other book-to-film adaptations, including Atonement and No Country for Old Men, Kite Runner has been causing the most controversy.In October, the film made headlines after the production companies decided to push back the release date to mid-December amid fears for the safety of the two boys who star in the film, and their connection with a controversial rape scene in the movie. The boys waited to finish out the school year and were then moved out of Kabul.
"There were never any threats," Hosseini said in an interview with New York magazine's Vulture blog. "Nothing ever actually happened, but the family of one child did feel that there may be chances of reprisals against them if the film is shown in Afghanistan—or if the film is released and makes its way to pirated DVD.

The studio wisely took that seriously instead of dismissing it and took steps to make sure the kids were out of Afghanistan before the film is released.""It's a book that sold 8 million copies around the world, and what makes me sad is it's the first time I felt that it's a story which doesn't deal with violence and terrorism in that part of the world," said director Mark Forster, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It deals with healing. It deals with forgiveness. So I really didn't think there would be a controversy. And when I cast the movie, Kabul was a much safer place. There was this feeling in the air of a new beginning, a start of democracy. Now, the situation in Afghanistan has become much more dangerous, which is why the studio wanted to take the precaution to get the kids out. There have been no threats so far. They are fine."

Over the weekend, The Kite Runner, which is filmed in Farsi, a language spoken in Afghanistan, earned $450,970 in 35 locations, for $12,885 per engagement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The nationwide release this weekend will expand the film to 350 runs."[Screenwriter David] Benioff's faithful if necessarily condensed screenplay adaptation handles well the book's complex narrative and is particularly effective in its sensitive middle portrait of its culturally dislocated characters," writes Frank Scheck in his review for The Hollywood Reporter. "If the melodramatic final section, in which Amir personally encounters the violent horrors of the Taliban regime, feels rushed and not entirely convincing, the sheer dramatic force of the events compensates for its contrived elements."

While The Kite Runner has always been a popular book, the movie has bumped up sales and even pushed up the prices of the book on websites such as In 2005, the most expensive copy of The Kite Runner on Abebooks was sold for $51. In 2007, a copy sold for $1,500. Early signed editions are currently priced at $2,500 on Abebooks.

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