This image released by Polk & Co. shows James Franco, left, and Chris O'Dowd in a scene from "Of Mice and Men," in New York. (AP Photo/Polk & Co., Richard Phibbs)
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A new James Franco flick hits movie theaters this week with all the stuff you want in a gripping drama -- a pretty girl, some scary dudes, a murder or two and Franco holding a gun.But hold onto your popcorn: It's not really a movie. To be more precise, it's a play acting like a movie.A high-definition broadcast of Franco starring on Broadway in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" -- the $3.8 million, record-earning show at the Longacre Theatre -- will compete with the movies "Interstellar" and "Nightcrawler" at the box office, and it marks an important milestone.The Event Cinema Association predicts broadcasts will grow to 5 percent of the overall global cinema box office by 2015 and pull in $1 billion by 2017 . Some movie theaters already say that event cinema is responsible for as much as 18 percent of their box-office revenue.It had stars -- in addition to Franco, the play had Chris O'Dowd and Leighton Meester -- and it is a classic American story by a classic American author.Many people took notice this September when two special broadcasts of "Billy Elliot" outdid every other film in Britain over the Friday-to-Sunday period, including multiple showings of the Denzel Washington action thriller "The Equalizer".
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