24 AUGUST 24, 2012 | the boston phoenix | Thephoenix.com
Are we voting at the box office? _ by pete r ke o ug h The accompanying chart classifies various big-budget releases over the past 15 months according to their political leanings based on my interpretation of the film, with “red” being right wing, “blue” being left wing, and “purple” being undecided. Since studios don’t like to alienate people from buying tickets, and also because genre films tend to reconcile opposing sides of political and cultural conflicts, the purple films — The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers — have racked up the biggest grosses. They’ve made over a billion dollars for an investment (not including advertising, marketing, and other post-production costs) of $470 million. Next would be the “blue” films — The Lorax, The Hunger Games, and The Campaign (which is still active at the box office). To date they have grossed $617 million on an initial investment of $204 million. They narrowly edge out the “red” films — Transformers 3, Captain America, and Battleship — which have grossed $587 million at a cost of $549 million. Moreover, the tide in recent months seems to be turning in favor of the blue and purple films. Conclusions? That if the election were a movie, a slim majority would buy the Democratic ticket? That red films, like the Republicans, spend a lot but don’t necessarily see a big return on their investment? This is where someone points out that Hollywood is run by liberals or that “it’s only a movie.” Fair enough — and I haven’t even factored in the extra cost of 3D.
K E Y
Bin Laden killed.
Romney enters race.
Same sex-marriage in NY.
Obama’s approval rating hits new low, 40% .
Rep. Peter King calls for a Pentagon investigation into access to secret files by Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers.
Bachmann wins Iowa straw poll; Perry enters race
Pawlenty drops out.
Occupy Wall Street.
Patriots lost to Giants in the Superbowl.
Romney, Santorum split Super Tuesday
The Hunger Games
Rep. Paul Ryan’s draconian budget passes the House, is doomed in Senate. Impasse continues.
Santorum drops out.
Obama’s approval at 47%, highest since Bin Laden killed.
Gingrich drops out, backs Romney.
Obama supports same sex marriage.
Facebook flops on Wall St. | Battleship
Romney hits “magic number” of delegates.
Scott Walker wins recall election in WI.
Supreme Court upholds Obamacare.
Aurora movie theater massacre. | Dark Knight Rises
Romney picks Rep. Paul Ryan as running mate.
Republican National Convention
Democratic National Convention
Zero Dark Thirty
Patriotic Individual superiority put in the service of the common cause, as demonstrated by Captain America. UN-AMERICAN The tyrannical elitism of a red-skulled Nazi Übermensch who wants to take over the world. FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING The outfit.
Patriotic = Virtues the film deems pro-American Un-American = Vices the film deems unpatriotic Flagrant Flag-Waving = Film’s most egregious expression of “patriotism.” Budget/Gross = How much the movie cost, and how much it grossed at the US box office (in millions USD)
Patriotic American know-how, individualism, and resourcefulness in the cause of liberty — and the god-like toys who share those values. UN-AMERICAN Dumb bureaucrats, big government, and evil alien toys (representing illegals? the Chinese?) who want to take over the world. FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING JFK saying:“Get NASA on the phone. We’re going to the moon!”
Patriotic Environmentalism as preached by the title orange homunculus. UN-AMERICAN Capitalist and consumerist excess as depicted by a villainous corporate mogul who looks like Kim Jong-il. FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING Excruciating “Let It Grow” number.
The Hunger Games
Patriotic Economic justice, socialism, and the right to bear arrows as demanded by the oppressed Districts.. UN-AMERICAN Exploitation of the common people by decadent elitists with bad haircuts. FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING Rebellion in District 13 on the Jumbotron.
Patriotic A melting pot that includes a narcissistic billionaire, a narcissistic Norse god, and a giant green mass of inarticulate rage and hate all joining together to save the world. UN-AMERICAN Partisan bickering when the world is theatened by alien forces led by an elitist, sissy Norse god. FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING Bloody trading cards .
Patriotic The traditional military values of discipline, dedication to duty, and clichéd, jargon-heavy dialogue. UN-AMERICAN Mostly unclear, since the hostile aliens look like feral hillbillies and don’t seem representative of anything in particular. But drunken pranks, hot-dogging, and embarrassing yourself in front of the Admiral, your girlfriend’s father, are definitely frowned upon. FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING Mobilizing the USS Missouri.
Dark Knight Rises
Patriotic Personal wealth used for the common cause, as demonstrated by Batman. Law and order enforced by honest cops like Commisioner Gordon. Occupy Wall Street-like social activism genuinely seeking economic justice. UN-AMERICAN Corporate wealth used to corrupt the government; anarchists like Bane pretending to be social revolutionaries. FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING Hundreds of cops rumble with nihilists in the ruins of Gotham.
c b y
P Patriotic Capra-esque political idealism as practiced by goofy, slow-witted, but honest folks like Republican UA candidate Marty Huggins. UN-AMERICAN The corrupted ideals of pols like Democratic candidate Cam Brady, who is bought off by billionaires resembling the Koch Brothers. FFW FLAGRANT FLAG-WAVING The “acceptance” speech.
$25/ $304* (*to date)