November 20, 2002

Hollywood, CA – Canadian Armenian director Atom Egoyan’s long-anticipated film “Ararat” which focuses on the topic of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 premiered this weekend in the United States to much acclaim and a strong showing at the box office. Anticipating the film’s release the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) has publicized and encouraged members of the Armenian community and the non-Armenian community to see the movie. One of the ANCA-WR’s major programs, the “Take A Friend to Ararat” campaign, helped contribute to a successful turnout for “Ararat’s” opening weekend. The turnout was so overwhelming that even though Ararat was showing in only five theaters, its gross theater box office intake average was almost $10,000 more than “Harry Potter’s” opening weekend theater average.

“Ararat”, spent a little over $15 million in its production, compared to over $100 million for “Harry Potter”. Also, “Harry Potter” is estimated to have spent a whopping $35 million on advertising and marketing alone, overshadowing the much smaller figure Miramax spent on advertising and marketing for “Ararat”. This feat, which surprised many in the movie industry, is an extremely positive sign and will have a tremendous impact in determining how many more theaters “Ararat” will be shown in.

Commenting on the movie’s opening weekend success, Ardashes Kassakhian, the ANCA-WR Government Relations Director, stated, “We are extremely pleased to see how well the community is responding to the ANC’s program. The ANCA-WR’s ‘Take A Friend to Ararat’ campaign was enormously successful and we helped sell out almost every single showing for this weekend’s premiere in all three Los Angeles area theaters. We’re estimating a little over one thousand people saw ‘Ararat’ because of the “Take A Friend to Ararat’” campaign alone.”

Steve Dadaian, Chairman of the ANCA-WR, remarked on the success of “Ararat” by saying, “The ‘Take A Friend to Ararat’ campaign started and started big. There’s just an incredible amount of excitement in the community and the public at large about this movie; we hope that our message will get out to the mainstream American public, and onward to 4,000 theaters nationwide…”

“Ararat” has received wide acclaim from numerous critics and newspapers. The Los Angeles Times called the movie, “a triumph of strategy”, and went on to say that, “Egoyan interweaves the strands of his plots and themes so tightly that the elusive yet haunting presence of the Genocide hovers over everything while he explores the complexities of redemption and forgiveness, the parent-child relationship, the relationship between art and reality, and the moral imperative to remember the past.”

Ensuring that this film reaches as wide an audience is as possible is still the number one priority for the ANCA-WR.

“We need every Armenian in Los Angeles and the surrounding area’s to go see ‘Ararat’, not just once but twice even three times, and we want to encourage people to start taking their non-Armenian friends. The films financial success in the initial opening weeks is paramount in determining a wider release not to mention the importance of getting the general public to look at the facts of the Armenian Genocide and ask why Turkey continues to deny this crime,” added Kassakhian. “We’re working with numerous Armenian American organizations in this project and we’re ecstatic at the support we’re seeing for the film.”

The “Take A Friend to ‘Ararat’” campaign has been extremely successful in the first week of the film’s release and has had a significant impact in theaters where the film has been released.

For more information on the ANCA-WR’s “Take A Friend to Ararat” campaign please call the ANCA-WR office at (818) 500-1918. The ANCA-WR will also be able to provide the names of movie theaters showing “Ararat.” For additional information on “Ararat”, please visit the ANCA national website at www.anca.org.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian
Email / Tel: (818) 500-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
Western Region
104 N. Belmont, Suite 200, Glendale, CA 91206 * Tel. (818) 500-1918
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