Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours Puts the Gross into Grossing

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James Franco and Danny Boyle arrive at the premiere of "127 Hours"

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The British film maker hasn’t exactly made the most easy-going of movies: even in the recent Oscar winning, heart-warming Slumdog Millionaire, there was plenty of Slumdog before you got to the Millionaire. But did Danny Boyle really expect viewers to vomit and faint during 127 Hours?

Boyle’s film tells the true story of climber Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) whose arm became trapped by a boulder in a canyon in Utah. And — spoiler alert! —  worried that he’d die alone after being trapped for five days,  Ralston decided to use a penknife to cut off his right arm.

(See pictures of Danny Boyle.)

Reports on both sides of the Atlantic have taken an almost gleeful pleasure in noting the upset this has caused the movie-going public (Britain’s the Sun tabloid even juxtaposed the grim scenes being portrayed with pop-culture by revealing that, “the celeb-packed audience recoiled at the horror.”)

And Movieline.com has gone one further, taking the trouble to put together a timeline of everyone who’s fainted (or worse) during the screenings, which dates back to early September.

(See the top 10 post-Oscar busts)

You can’t help but feel Boyle (and/or studio Fox Searchlight) must be positively giddy with the publicity. Anyone who is the slightest bit familiar with Boyle’s back catalog has already sat through heroin addiction (Trainspotting, which was also memorable for Ewen McGregor diving into a toilet), zombies (28 Days Later) and poverty in the aforementioned Slumdog.

(See pictures of slumdog entrepreneurs in India.)

As for the movie itself, it opens today in the U.S., got a rave review from A.O. Scott in the Times (as well as our very own Richard Corliss) and is perceived to be in the hunt for Oscar nominations. But it might end up being remembered as the first film since The Exorcist to make people genuinely nervous about making it through unscathed.

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