Sunday, September 30, 2012

HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTERS: THE SHAMING IS A MASSIVE BOX-OFFICE FLOP

Won't Back Down, the new teachers'-union-bashing movie starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, was released this weekend. So ... how did it do at the box office?
Won't Back Down ... could only muster a $2.7 million debut this weekend (good for 10th place). That's the second-worst opening ever for a movie in 2,500+ locations -- The Rocker holds the record at $2.64 million. Distributor 20th Century Fox clearly realized they had a dud on their hands a while ago....
You remember The Rocker, don't you?





Won't Back Down flopped almost as spectacularly.

But is this an underappreciated masterpiece? Um, no. It "is to school reform what 'Reefer Madness' is to drug policy" (Minneapolis Star Tribune). It "fears nuance, pushes an agenda and demonizes its opposition" (Newsday). Its "suggestions for improving K-12 education include having kids wish themselves into college using 'The Secret.' Yeah, that should do it" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). It imagines that if "greedy unions and soulless administrators" would "just get out of the way, we'd have joyously creative elementary schools where ukulele-wielding teachers (in this case, Oscar Isaac) would finally be able to put in unpaid extra hours to help our struggling kids succeed" (Detroit Metro Times). A ukelele? Seriously?

Salon's Andrew O'Hehir reminds us that "the whole project was financed by conservative Christian billionaire Phil Anschutz, also the moneybags behind the documentary 'Waiting for "Superman,"' which handled a similar agenda...."

There was a full-page ad for the movie in today's New York Times -- but I'm surprised the studio didn't just bypass the big cities and try to sell this to Fox-addled, liberal-loathing right-wing crazies in Podunk and Bugtussle. Didn't that strategy work for 2016, the Dinesh D'Souza "documentary" about Obama? But I guess Anschutz and the studio (Fox, naturally) assumed the general public had already reached the union-hate tipping point. Guess not.

7 comments:

Uncle Mike said...

I've been a public school teacher for over 20 years and I must say it sure makes me feel like a valuable asset to society when people who haven't been inside a classroom since high school tell me how to do my job.

Danp said...

Comment from Bugtussle: Most of us know our teachers. Most of us like at least some of them. We consider them important, too, unlike those union workers that do nothing but weld cars together in big cities. I suspect this propaganda, like most, needs an audience to see the criminals as somewhere else. I think that's why Bugtusslians are far more afraid of Muslims than people from NY or DC.

Victor said...

Good, I overjoyed it bombed!

What the hell is Maggie Gyllenhaal doing in this turkey?

Jonny G said...

To be fair, The Rocker was actually a pretty good movie, altho I am not surprised Rainn Wilson is not able to pull a big first weekend.

skippy said...

maggie gyllenhal? the question is, what was oscar-winner (and star of the egalitarian anti-rascist film the help) viola davis doing in this anti-union screed???

William Mercado said...

Maggie & Viola are two nice well meaning liberals who are "thinking about the children". Just not thinking particularly deep.
It is these types of liberals, like the DLC along with the centrists who are above party labels, and bloodless technocrats that will help the Republican Party to destroy what's left of the Unions in this country along with what's left of the New Deal and Great Society.

David in NYC said...

So, let's see...

$2.7 million in "2,500+" theaters? To make the math simpler, let's say that "2,500+" is 2,700. That means that each screen grossed (on average) $1,000 for the entire weekend. Let's say that there were (at least) 4 shows each weekend day (Friday is included in movie weekend grosses). Let's also make the math simpler by saying average ticket price was $10.00.

So, $1,000 for the weekend means 100 tickets sold for 12 shows which means that the average audience per show was... wait for it...

8 (as in eight).

Eliminating friends and family members of the cast and crew means that there were maybe a half-dozen moviegoers at each show.

Sure sounds to me like America is ready for some union-bashing propaganda. NOT.