October 28, 2006

Do you think we can predict what's going to happen in the election...

... by looking how certain movies are doing this weekend?
Newmarket's very controversial Death of a President (91 theaters) did only $.06 mil Friday with a pathetic per screen average of $673 for should be a $0.21 weekend. The Weinstein Company's Dixie Chicks documentary Shut Up & Sing (4 theaters) took in $0.01 mil Friday and a disappointing $2,867 per screen average for what should be a $.04 mil weekend.

55 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, people want to be out with friends and family... watching "Saw."

Derve said...
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VICTOR said...

Funny, I haven't seen a single ad for either one of those movies.

Do people even know they're out?

I think this could cut the other way as well. F911 does booming business, dems loose. Similarly lame caricutarized lefty positions didn't do so well this year. Maybe the result will be different . . . .

Fenrisulven said...

Horror movies, I think, are still big "date" movies for friends.

I think movies like "Saw" are noting but porn for sadists. Very disturbing.

I think Ann's point was about blowback from all the BDS stuff out there. GOP stats have been rebounding in the last few days. Bloggers talking about "net time" vs "legacy media time" - how the MSM is always a week behind trends. We'll see.

Dems shouldn't break out the champagne just yet. I'm with Rove - prediciting that both House and Senate remain in GOP hands.

ntodd said...

Geesh. Law of Small Numbers.

Fenrisulven said...

This political vetting of movie ads by the Big Media who decide what we see on TV is rapidly becoming a trend and swings both ways.

They've been vetting what information you are exposed to for some time now. This is no different.

LuteLib said...

no, but we can predict what happens when studios release awful movies.

Ann Althouse said...

If you haven't seen ads, it's because you don't live in the few cities where they are released. (I've seen the ads in the NYT!) The point is that the per screen average is terrible, that with a small, focused release in the places that are expected to be most receptive, the movies have been big disappointments. This isn't a question of the competition with the widely released, highly commercial movies.

Derve said...
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VICTOR said...

I guess my point is that the fact that even the faithful doesn't come out to see these movies means that they are becoming wiser!

The movies sound terrible and probably should not have been released to begin with.

VICTOR said...

Also, you should take into account two other movies:

Talladega, which fared pretty well at the box office: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=talladeganights.htm

and Borat, whose pre-release buzz has sparked a bidding war:

http://www.eonline.com/news/article/index.jsp?uuid=723d67f8-d64b-44ab-8c5d-16fd0dac70e4

Both of those films comedically smash everything red (including gratuitous shots at Bush in both). They did (and in the case of Borat will probably do) pretty well.

Daniel said...

Even here in ultra liberal land of Monterey California, I believe it is only on one screen between here and Santa Cruz, and it is in the art movie theater that maybe has a 100 seats or less.

Christy said...

How well did the Sean Penn movie about the assassination of Nixon do? I really think its a subject with little or no interest.

The filming for a Dixie Chicks documentary began before Natalie Maines' remark and would have ended up as a special on CMT if not for the controversy. Fact is, their core audience still hasn't forgiven them, and the audience that embraced their last album just doesn't like and isn't interested in country music. Too bad, because they really are very good. And I, too, have not forgiven them.

George said...

It's a downer movie season....

"Flags of Our Fathers?" Patriotic? Hah! We live in a racist, Indian hating land that lies about its "heroes." It crassly exploits them to raise money for the war machine. But in the end, buddies fight for buddies, and that's swell! Great. Clint should have used John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth" on the soundtrack.

"Marie Antoinette"? With the housing bubble popped flatter than sidewalk gum, this brain-dead fash-rag fave has gotten massive press. Unnerving.

"Talledega Nights?" I took my kids thinking it was a Jerry Lewis-type romp. We walked out after watching scenes in which the parents simulated intercourse on the dining room table in front of their children, Christianity was mocked, and two gay guys kissed and fondled each other. I have no problem with the above in a movie for adults, say, 'Shortbus,' but not for little kids.

'Flicka?' The Wyoming rancher complains that his family has 'to do without' to send his daughter to a gothic prep school (in Laramie!). The man has two iMacs, a giant pickup, a wife who looks like Sheryl Crow, dresses like a million, and serves creme fraiche with the pancakes. Yeah, he's hurtin'!

"Borat?" Watch a man drink from a toilet? I'd rather go to a Warren Beatty film festival.

"Jackass?" See a leech applied to a woman's eye! Watch a snake try to bite a man's penis! Why not legalize pit-bull fights? Bring back public executions! Open the asylum doors on Sundays so we can laugh at the loonies!

Last but least, Scorsese. His new movie? So bad I've forgotten its title. A stale cinematic Milk Dud under the broken balcony seat of life. What a dispiriting waste of three hours of my life. It reminded me of Georges Franju's laugh-fest 'Blood of the Beasts.' In both movies, all the characters fall down, if you know what I mean.

The fall season: Nihilistic.

Elizabeth said...

Christy,

I remember when country music wasn't in lockstep with the establishment or a political party. Go back and listen to some Johnny Cash, some Porter and Dolly. I'm a longtime country listener--since birth, basically, and I'm a big fan of the Dixie Chicks. There's nothing to forgive in my view. They're not the only Texans who disavow George II.

On the other hand, I also have zero interest in seeing the assassination movie. I haven't talked to anyone who's even vaguely interested in it.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe movie goers are sick of politics.

Dave said...

I'm seeing the Dixie Chicks movie just because I find them hot.

If you think that's pathetic, have at it.

Healthier than porn, no??

Logipundit said...

Does anyone remember when we had a decent movie season...I would hate to think our political state could ever be congruent with what Hollywood is or isn't putting out or making money on.

Ditto about Flags of our Fathers. I heard the author of the movie interviewed on a radio show.

I wanted to fly to California and choke Clint Eastwood myself for directing such trash, careful not to finish him off completely since it could be considered euthanasia, but just to incapacitate him enough where he could stop putting out STUPID movies (Million Dollar Baby--Oscar?--ARE YOU BLEEDING KIDDING ME?).

Basically this guy--the author--the son of a WWII vet honors his father's memory by selling out his war history, giving Hollywood free reign to jump on it and do its best to make WWII into Vietnam.

Disgusting.

fosterlink said...

Living in NYC as I do, I can tell you that these people don't have the least bit of interest in the Dixie Hicks, er, Chicks. NYers wanted to vomit just buying their album to make a political point, to actually have to listen to those redneck babes would cause any self-respecting West Side New Yorker nauseated for weeks. I wish the Hicks would wake up and smell the bacon grease loaded with artery-clogging fat and remember where they came from. But they won't, they're idiots.

Gahrie said...

The problem with the Dixie Chicks wasn't Maines' statement. That could have been forgiven. It was the totally classless way they acted afterward they killed their careers.

Mr. Snitch said...

"Yeah, people want to be out with friends and family... watching "Saw.""

The family that slays together, stays together.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Hollywood is always crazy. This is not necessarily bad. But Hollywood is going through a bad crazy spell right now.

Hollywood went through a good crazy spell in the 70s. But the spell it is going through now is bad crazy.

Christy said...

Elizabeth, I grew up in Knoxville on country music and remember Dolly before she moved to Nashville and joined Porter Wagoner. It has nothing to do with being anti-establishment and everything to do with going out of town and entertaining people by telling them how ashamed one is by some of the people back home, a place the audience already believes is full of brain-dead hicks. It just isn't done. Statements against government policies are fine. Personal attacks against any people back home are not.

downtownlad said...

Well let's hope Republicans think that simplistically.

I'm looking forward to seeing them in shock on Nov. 7th about how many seats they've lost. They need to see how out of touch they are with this country.

Anonymous said...

I know political orientation plays a part in some of this, but the fact is that I haven't seen anything that can drag me into a theatre for 3 hours. I've got two little ones, and when I get out with my beautiful wife, I don't want to deal with politics. The only thing I'm looking forward to is the 300 coming out next year. I've got the trailer at http://www.lapeerliving.blogspot.com - now this looks like a movie I'll spend my money and time on.

AST said...

I guess it shows that people really can tell simulated blood and gore from the real thing. We pay 8 bucks a seat for the former, but can download Zarqawi sawing off an American's head for real from the internet. Funny, though, how the Hollywood crowd keeps making ultraviolent films while contributing to anti-war causes. It's hard to see them as "pacifists" when they turn out dreck like
"Saw N".

I think that the teen gore genre is fueled by men and boys who like being grabbed by their girlfriend during the scary scenes.

The only thing the Chicks and Death of a President receipts show is that people are really sick of politics, especially the kind that reeks of hate.

The former is typical of cranks who aspire to be avant-garde but are only in bad taste. The latter is just a case of silly whining. They're Barbra Streisand times 3.

TallDave said...

Speaking for ~70% of Americans:

What's this about an election?

dave said...

"It was the totally classless way they acted afterward they killed their careers."

Yeah, they've had a number one album since and make millions... you should have such a "killed" career, you fucking loser.

Meanwhile, that "boot in the ass" guy can't get a gig as a janitor in Branson. Oh, well...

John Tabin said...

Meanwhile, that "boot in the ass" guy can't get a gig as a janitor in Branson. Oh, well...

Umm, the "boot in the ass" guy, better known as Toby Keith, had a new album this spring that hit #2 on the Billboard Country Charts, with over a million copies sold.

Revenant said...

Umm, the "boot in the ass" guy, better known as Toby Keith, had a new album this spring that hit #2 on the Billboard Country Charts, with over a million copies sold.

He's also got a disturbingly popular restaurant/bar at Harrah's casino in Vegas.

ShadowFox said...

The till does not seem to point in any direction. Who cares about the "Death of a President"--it sounded pretty stupid when it made waves with its initial release and it does not appeal any more now. The conservative talking heads tried to claim--with absolutely no substantiation--that this crap would appeal to liberals. Clearly, it did not. Besides, it's not a major production, so the numbers may or may not be disappointing.

As for the Dixie Chicks, I don't understand the appeal that this could possibly have. First, it's a documentary, which pretty much means that it's a dud. Aside from the March of the Penguins, the Al Gore spectacular and, to a lesser extent, the Michael Moore releases, there has been no success among documentaries. This one sounds like a turkey from the start. Dixie Chicks do not appeal to the kind of viewer who would be intelligent enough to care and they no longer appeal to the idiots who are too dumb to uderstand the message. Besides, the latter would not be caught dead at a documentary.

So, it seems that these films are lost without a niche. This has nothing to do with politics.

I think movies like "Saw" are noting but porn for sadists. Very disturbing.

Fenrisulven, is Red Dawn, then, porn for rednecks? If you mean that this kind of horror films have no redeeming qualities other than a very narrow one-off sort of entertainment, then there is a parallel with porn here. However, you specifically mentioned sadists, which is puzzling--given the success of this crap, there must be a lot of sadists in the good ol' USA, and most of them are Republicans.

The Mechanical Eye said...

To answer the post's question...

Absolutely not. There's no evidence that October election-year box office figures reflect election results. Farenheit 9/11's excellent grosses were cold comfort to John Kerry's campaign headquarters in 2004. The fact that no one wanted to watch a leaden, self-serious film about a dead veteran's parent killing the president has no bearing on the GOP carrying the House next month.

As for the artistic merits of "Assasination" and the Dixie Chicks film, most reviewers quickly rejected them. Aping various political tropes doesn't help if a film amounts to a two-hour collection of trite, self-satisified cliches designed for cheap amens from 3/4-empty art theater sceenings.

chigalum said...

You've got it backwards Shadowfox.

Dixie Chicks no longer appeal to the kind of viewer who are intelligent enough to care and they never did appeal to the idiots who are so dumb they only want to hear messages that feed their hate.

Ricky West said...

Yeah, they've had a number one album since and make millions... you should have such a "killed" career, you ******* loser.

Meanwhile, that "boot in the ass" guy can't get a gig as a janitor in Branson. Oh, well...


Actually, their album made them little since they already had a contract with the label. Artists primarily (not always, though) make their dough from the deal and then touring. Apparently, you atriettes bought the album, left it still in the wrapper when you got home and then ignored their pleas to come see them in concert...unless you live in Canada or the like. That's what the numbers say. Conversely, estimates show that they've lost around 10 million bucks due to lost revenues from concerts.

But, hey, you've got a great paperweight to use.

Toby Keith can use one of his "Entertainer of the Year" (the top award in country music) for that purpose, I understand.

Both had albums/cds released in '06 and both went platinum. The Chicks' tour was a flop and they've lost millions while Keith's concerts bag him mega millions. Not that it has any real meaning, other than their career is on the downward spiral and you know little about anything in the industry, but would rather trol web sites posting insults. I'm sure daddy's proud.

THIRD WORLD WAR said...
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Derve said...
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Pogo said...

The failures of these two movies does say something rather important about the voters, or at least those that vote with dollars.

F911 had a very good take, but fairly well limited to big cities, mirroring the Kerry vote. Gore's eco-monster movie was quite the same. The dismal showing for the two new films in these key locales suggests that the market for BDS is waning. The remainder bins at the bookstore tell a similar story.

The races are going to be close, no wipeout either way, but I see less success for the BDS crowd.

P.S. I am so disappointed to read the comments about Eastwood's flick, I am not going to see it tonight. Rats.

NSC said...

The Dixie Chicks are country - did country ever sell well with elitist liberals? Nope.

They lost their base and like someone said before, anti-Bush types who never liked country types were only capable of buying maybe one CD and attending one concert at most to prove a point. After that, they left. Now the Chicks are heading to the bargin shelf and the casino circuit.

And how about Air America? It just failed so is that another indicator of how the election is going to go? If so it doesn't bode well for the Dems taking too many seats back.

Finally, if you want to hear a great country music song that involves politics about the war, do a search for Australian artist Beccy Cole and check out her "Poster Girl" video. It is a fantastic song that presents a reasonable message on the war and politics - not that angry Dixie Chick tripe.

Derve said...
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Mary said...

Pogo, my son is at camp Pendelton doing his OCS training, he enlisted and a proud Marine. He saw Flags this weekend and he loved it. Said it wasn't pro war or anti war, it was about the lives of the people after and what they went through. He was never reflectively pro war and always insists on remembering the sometimes not pleasant realities. His Dad and I have not seen the movie yet.

Derve said...
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George said...

50 Years Ago....

Films of 1956...

The Searchers
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Ten Commandments
Written on the Wind
Forbidden Planet
The Man Who Knew Too Much
High Society
Moby Dick
The Wrong Man
Godzilla
Giant
Davy Crockett and the River Pirates

and

Plan Nine from Outer Space

P.S.--How can a war movie not be "pro war or anti war?" Impossible. In "Flags," the soldiers who are not brutally slaughtered on the battlefield in lovingly graphic detail are exploited by fast-talking government sharpies and either die drunk in a barnyard or live out their days as a mortician or janitor. A very grim and dispiriting movie.

This film, like most of today's Hollywood 'product', is made by post-post-post modern transnational millionaires who believe that us poor proles no longer need mythic tales of greatness to cement our sense of national unity and purpose. Why? In part because you can't sell US patriotism to moviegoers in Japan, China, or India. Barring some national catastrophe which impels the media industry to promote patriotism, no will will make "Sands of Iwo Jima" again, much less "Rambo."

Richard Fagin said...

"All the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, 'Boo Hoo!' Now that", said the Grinch, "is a sound I simply MUST hear!"

Nice to see such well deserving people get a financial boot in the rear end.

TMink said...

I think that the problem with many polls is that they are agenda driven rather than information seeking. I mean, who trusts the NYT to seek the facts? Seriously!

So the way that movies sell MIGHT actually be a valid means of inferring the public's mood and this MIGHT yield some decent predictive data.

In regards to the Dixie Chicks, I enjoy the couple of their records that I have. (Yes, I have the records!!!! Not small and silver but big and black.) While we disagree on our politics, I expect entertainers to be self-absorbed ninnys so while I listen to their music I do not care one whit about their politics. Just as I am not interested in Dick Cheney's thoughts on songwriting.

Now, some entertainers are so obnoxious and vapid that they become repugnant: See Alec Baldwin. Others become hilarious: See Sean Penn. Then there are those that become sad: See Mel Gibson.

Trey

rcocean2 said...

Hollywood would actually make more money if they made a *patriotic* film. Any monies lost from overseas would be made up by the increased USA Boxoffice.

Hollywood doesn't make patriotic movies because they aren't patriotic.

"Passion" made a billion dollars, so why isn't the market now flooded with pro-Christian movies? Answer: because Hollywood wants to make anti-Christian movies.

Rowena Hullfire said...


50 Years Ago....
Films of 1956...
The Searchers
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Ten Commandments
Written on the Wind
Forbidden Planet
The Man Who Knew Too Much
High Society
Moby Dick
The Wrong Man
Godzilla
Giant
Davy Crockett and the River Pirates
and
Plan Nine from Outer Space


Let Hungary burn in hell...we're too busy going to the movies!

Re: the Dixie Chicks
They forgot what their product was. They bore the market consequences. Life is a great teacher.

Re: Toby Keith
I like his James-Taylor-style song about the Taliban. Just googled and found out it's on the Shock'N Y'All album. (I'm not generally a country music fan, although I do have some Dixie Chicks!) Frequently requested and played on Bob and Tom.

Kev said...

Make of it what you will, but "Death of a President" isn't showing in Dallas yet. The theatre owners say it's a shortage of screen space, but there are still some people here who are pretty sensitive on the subject of presidential assassinations, as you might well imagine.

Fenrisulven said...

Hollywood would actually make more money if they made a *patriotic* film

The last good patriotic film I saw was "Tears of the Sun" with Bruce Willis.

These days, Battlestar Gallactica is the best thing on the tele. I wish Ann would follow it and blog - there are so many current themes running through it.

Joe said...

Downtownlad, when you wake up on Nov. 8 and find Congress is still in GOP hands, will you admit how out of touch you are with the country? I won't be holding my breath.

Fenrisulven said...

Shadowfox: is Roots, then, porn for niggers?

I know, I know - you actually said "is Red Dawn, then, porn for rednecks?" but I want you to understand that redneck is a bigoted expression, I want you to see how your comment reads to me.

Re the substance of your comment - Red Dawn is not an apt comparison. There is an appeal to "Saw" thats different from other horror films. If sadist-type wanted to live vicariously though a film, "Saw" is for them.

Fenrisulven said...

Downtownlad, when you wake up on Nov. 8 and find Congress is still in GOP hands, will you admit how out of touch you are with the country?

He's expecting a rout but doesn't have the confidence to post his predictions in numbers. How many House seats dtl?

Conventional wisdom amoung the GOP is that the House will be lost but the Senate held. So I don't see where he gets that Conservatives will be "shocked". If anything, the burden is on the Dems to meet expectations.

Thomas said...

Hollywood is indeed capable of making patriotic and/or military-friendly movies. They just only do it during Democratic administrations.

See, e.g., "Independence Day," "Air Force One," "Behind Enemy Lines," etc. Stupid movies all, but the Americans were the good guys. And can you imagine a President being portrayed as heroically as was done in the former two movies, with a Republican in the White House?

I think I'll vote for the donks in 2008 just so my screenplay will have a snowball's chance in Miami of getting made.

Joel said...

The dixie chicks insulted the president in front of a foriegn crowd in an attempt to "bond" with them.

This was not some brave political statement, it was a bunch of money grubbing singers trying to sell a few more albums at the expense of American foriegn policy.

I could care less what the dixie chicks think or say, but I find it extremely offensive when someone tries to feed me a line of bs and call it cheddar cheese.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think movies like "Saw" are noting but porn for sadists. Very disturbing.

I agree. I'm also of the perspective that a person doesn't have a true appreciation of film as a art if he cannot appreciate the artistic value of movies across all genres. In the case of "Saw," however, I think there is a point at which the director is simply abusing his audience. And then I'll do this, and that will be grosser than anything they've ever seen! I don't go to movies to have a director vomit a bunch of meaningless sick imagery into my head. This new strain of horror movies seeking to do just that are lazy. It's easier to focus on sick than on story.

ShadowFox said...

Fen,

The comparison between "nigger" and "redneck" is certainly not apt. Sure, you can find both of them in contexts where they are meant as anti-insults (mostly the "in" crowd). However, I have a number of friends--and know others whom I do not generally consider "friends"--who have no problem with the word "redneck". I suppose, one could say that "redneck" is an insult if you mean it as such, but not otherwise.

As for your point, I suppose, you are suggesting that Roots has no artistic merit. I find that hard to understand. Red Dawn was blatant propaganda even when it was made, let alone now. It has no redeeming artistic or literary qualities (at least, no more so than Turtle Diaries).

As an aside, I noticed that a number of posts have been removed "by the administrator". I find it interesting that yours was not among them (although I don't think you meant any offense). I also find it ironic that a Con Law professor finds it necessary to censor her blog. Of course, this necessity is more of a condemnation of the posters than it is of the blog owner.

...the idiots who are so dumb they only want to hear messages that feed their hate.

Given the number of false and misleading election ads by the RNC this season (including what amounts to "You can't let them take Congress because they will investigate us! Oh, no!!!"), this seems to be a very accurate description of today's self-described Republicans. But that was not the target of my initial comment. I was talking about the book/music burning crowd that gathered in response to hate-mongering by talking heads. Some of them might have been Republicans, but that was not what they had in common--they were all easily led by demagogues. That's how Hitler came to power.