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Re-enactment update given

September 04, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

About 6,000 people have purchased tickets for the 140th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam, about the same number of people who bought pre-sale tickets before the 135th anniversary event, organizer Dennis Frye told the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday.

"We are doing very well with our advance ticket sales," he said.

The event runs from Sept. 13-15.

It is hard to estimate total attendance based on the early ticket sales because this region is known for buying tickets at the last minute, he said.

The weather could play a big role in attendance, he said.

About 70,000 people attended the reenactment in 1997.

Frye also told the council, during Tuesday's meeting, that only about 300 of 2,600 tickets are left for two Sept. 12 showings of a 22-minute sneak preview of the Civil War movie "Gods and Generals" at the Maryland Theatre.

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The theater is hosting the exclusive preview of the movie before the full-length version hits movie screens early next year, said Frye, a local Civil War historian and an associate producer for the movie.

There are 200 tickets left for the 6 p.m. showing and 100 tickets left for the 8:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $10 each.

The showings kick off the 140th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam, Frye said.

There will be surprises at the movie premieres but he would not reveal details, Frye said.

"The audience will be surprised and pleased by what they see and experience," he said.

Director Ronald Maxwell and actor Stephen Lang, who plays Gen. Stonewall Jackson in the movie, are scheduled to appear at the showings.

The city of Hagerstown spent $6,000 from this year's budget to be a sponsor for the movie's sneak peek.

Much of the filming took place in and around Washington County last year. Before Turner agreed to make the $54 million movie, the Hagerstown and Washington County governments loaned Maxwell money to get the project off the ground.

The date of the movie's release has been delayed from December to February 2003 because Maxwell wanted to ensure there was careful editing and that the finished product was the best possible, Frye said.

A premiere of the movie will be held at the Maryland Theatre in late January or early February, he said.

The movie has been shortened from a 51/2 hour "director's cut" to a version that runs between 3 hours, 15 minutes and 3 hours, 30 minutes.

The film has been shown to test audiences in three locations, he said.

"Gods and Generals" follows the life of Stonewall Jackson through the early part of the Civil War. It is a prequel to Maxwell's 1993 epic "Gettysburg."

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