Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Right-wingers are having a swell time right now chuckling over the fact that a few recent anti-war films have done poorly at the box office, and lamenting the dearth of pro-Iraq War films. But there's one movie in the theaters right now that, while it isn't about the Iraq War, is being vigorously championed by the right. How's that movie doing?

Bella is the story of a young woman who becomes pregnant and the man who takes her under his wing and talks her out of having an abortion. It won a big prize at the Toronto International Film Festival -- and now it's being promoted by the likes of Robert Novak, Chuck Colson, Brent Bozell (in a column called "'Bella' and the Pro-life Movie Trend"), the Concerned Women for America, and quite a few conservative Protestant and (especially) Catholic media outlets. Matt Barber, writing for TownHall.com and CNSNews.com, asked: "'Bella' the Movie: Next 'Passion of the Christ?'"

The answer to that question: no.

Last weekend, in its third weekend of release, Bella made less than a million dollars. It was on 90% more screens than the previous weekend, but it made 15% less money. It's done OK for a little movie without big stars -- $3,780,932 in three weeks of release -- but to hear right-wingers, you'd think the hunger for a movie like this was so great that audiences would be busting down the doors, ready to turn it into the next Bend It Like Beckham or My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a surprise smash.

It's risky to judge movies you haven't seen, but I wonder if Bella is really just a sermon disguised as entertainment -- and I wonder if that's also true of Lions for Lambs.

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