Back in May, when the rave reviews of Shortbus (James' included), John Cameron Mitchell's follow-up to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, were coming out of Cannes, I posted about the difficultly of arranging American distribution for a clever, charming movie that also just happens to be filled with real, explicit sex. At the time, my point of reference (as well as that of many others) was a film like The Aristocrats which, despite the fact that it consists entirely of endless retellings of a filthy joke, was a box office success for ThinkFilm. They supported the NC-17 film with a clever marketing campaign and wooed a relatively large audience, considering the number of theaters that will even book a movie with that rating. The hope at ThinkFilm, clearly, is that lightning will strike twice, because they just took the plunge and bought North American theatrical rights to Shortbus. (According to Mitchell, he had a dozen offers for the film's rights, including from big indie names like Magnolia and IFC Films.)

While the lack of familiar names in Shortbus will deny it one of The Aristocrats' major selling points (Bob Saget, swearing? Sign me up!), the presence of real sex is sure to appeal to a different, equally eager audience. Plus, the fact that it's a good movie should help, too. ThinkFilm plans to begin rolling the film out this summer; I can't wait for the advertising campaign.