Monday, December 03, 2007


Anti-War Movie Box Office Report

The anti-American, anti-Gulf War II or anti-Afghanistan war or anti-War on Terror movies haven't been doing too well domestically. Here's what Box Office Mojo reports from last weekend about their paucity of paying viewers.

Lion for Lambs is at #18 in its 4th week, having grossed domestically $14 Million on a star studded $35 Million budget. That's not a successful movie.

Redacted is at #62 in its third week and is playing in less than a dozen theaters. The site doesn't list its budget (although I believe it was a modest $5 Million) but its domestic gross is truly pathetic at $54 Thousand. That's thousand, with a T.

In the Valley of Elah, which has been around almost a quarter, is at #72 with a very pathetic $6.7 Million domestic gross.

Two earlier films, Rendition and The Kingdom, are apparently no longer being shown in theaters, and topped out with domestic grosses of 9.7 Million and 47.5 Million respectively. The latter, which was a somewhat apolitical action flick, was merely a disappointment at the box office rather than the serious disasters the other movies were and are. And I'm barely aware there was an earlier anti-war film late last year, Home of the Brave, which vanished without a trace with a domestic gross of next to nothing, $25 Thousand, a worldwide gross of a quarter million dollars and a $12 Million budget. Ouch, that one hurts.

Even the unpopular wars in Korea and Viet Nam had a few good movies come out of them.

I'll research the foreign grosses in the next few weeks.



Right #s but let me offer another explanation. Mind you I am not saying any of these films are good.
It is impossible to make a commercially successful film regarding the war in Iraq and probably impossible to make a commercially successful film about any subject related to current U.S. foreign policy.

There are several reasons for this but I will identify two of them. We have been at war in Iraq for four and a half years and despite the reduction in violence, there is no end in sight. Whether you supported the invasion or opposed it, we are all weary of the endless war in which our troops have become more of a police force than a conventional army.

So when I call you this week and say: "Roger, let's catch a movie this weekend," whatever flick is showing about the war or any related theme is not going to get my 6 bucks ar whatever it costs.

Secondly, as insulated as most of us are from the war in Iraq, the war is real; movies are not. We can talk about art but it is impossible to make a transcendant film about a subject whose intrinsic nature is not transcendant. I am not saying war cannot be a transcedant subject. I am saying that this war, given its equivocal moral underpinnings, cannot be rendered transcendant by the art of film at the present time.

What is more real than this war? Nothing. At its best, film is like poetry: "It should not mean but be." In time perhaps, this war may be the subject of worthy films. Right now, it is impossible to fantasize or idealize the nitty gritty of the daily news.

OK, but I was reasonably sick of the Viet Nam war in 1972, certainly in 1975, but I went to see them all, starting in about 1977. Is there a 5 year delay?

Perhaps, but I think there must be a connection w/ the popularity of the war. There were some good films made about WW I during the war.

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