'It's only a movie'
Rumored Scientologist protests over ‘The Master’ never materialize
By Carl Kozlowski 09/20/2012
Despite fears that the new movie “The Master” would spark protests from angry Scientologists at the film’s New York premiere on Sept. 10, there was far more commotion raised by patrons clamoring for tickets than by members of the often-controversial religion.
Opening last Friday at just five theaters in Los Angeles and New York City prior to a wide release this weekend, the film broke earnings records by grossing $730,000, or a whopping $146,000 per screen.
The film was made by writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic writer and founder of a human-potential movement called The Cause, which bears numerous similarities to Scientology and its founder, science-fiction novelist L. Ron Hubbard.
The movie-industry trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter claimed that the film’s distributor, The Weinstein Co., had been hit by numerous phone calls from church members protesting the film’s release, but no street demonstrations ever materialized.
“’The Master’ is a Hollywood movie,” Eden Stein, president of the Church of Scientology in Pasadena, said Monday. “There are no protests. This is not about us. It’s only a movie.”