Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I saw that Newsmax was pushing this ridiculous story and wasn't sure it was worth a post, but now I see it's a front-page story at Fox Nation, so here's the ridiculousness:
'Butler' Box Office Sales Plummet by One-Third

The movie "Lee Daniels' The Butler" saw its weekend box office receipts plummet by nearly a third, from $24.6 million in its opening week to $17 million last week, after a storm of protests from Republican and veterans groups.

The film depicts a White House butler who served eight presidents, and has come under fire for its portrayal of former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy as being racially insensitive and for casting Jane Fonda as the first lady.

Supporters of President Reagan and veterans groups especially have criticized the film, with some calling for boycotts....
Oh, its box office plummeted? By nearly a third? And it's all because of boycotts by Reagan lovers and Jane Fonda haters? (Or, as the Fox Nation headline implies, because America has suddenly become tired of Oprah Winfrey?)

Nonsense. Every movie that reaches #1 at the weekend box office "plummets" the next week. Boycotts aren't necessary -- moviegoers just move on.

Yes, The Butler's box office dropped 33.0% in its second weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. But the previous #1, Elysium, suffered a 54.1% drop in its second week. Before that was 2 Guns: a 58.4% drop. Before that was The Wolverine: a 59.9% drop. Before that was The Conjuring: a 46.9% drop.

Do I need to go on? In fact, The Butler had the smallest second-week drop for a #1 movie since Identity Thief back in March.

This story is up at Fox Nation even though Rupert Murdoch runs a movie studio. It's not as if the moviegoing habits of Americans are unknowable to the Fox media empire.

But this is what I call the right-wing media's "ignorance arbitrage." The conservative purveyors of this nonsense know it's nonsense. But they know they can sell it to people who don't. And that's what they do.


Victor said...

Murdoch's media empire:
Video, audio, print, and internet, snake-oil.

And the rubes scream for more, more, MORE!!!

Murdoch's no fool.
Neither is Ailes.
Their 'customers' on the other hand...

aimai said...

I tend to look at this stuff more as a way that the right wing signals meaning to itself. Akin to the question "are you a glass half full or glass half empty" kind of person?

Basically: newsmax and fox infuse everything with a single set of meanings. We are always at war between liberals and conservatives. We are always both winning and losing. We are winning when we say we are winning (he glass is half full) and we are losing when we say we are losing (the glass is half empty and someone else drank my share!). Because there is no information that is out there that doesn't have meaning, isn't infused with a kind of significance, like a sign post pointing the viewer/reader towards action or a feeling.

And this goes back to the religious and hermaneutic roots of conservativism. Everything has a meaning, everything as signficance, in the bible and in religious interpretation. The number of petals on a dogwood, the "crown" of apple seeds at the center of the core, the color of a rose--these are all used as signs of God's existence. Similarly the entrails of sheep can be read to forecast the future and, of course, god can be placated by ritualized acts of sacrifice.

Not only do these guys still do this explicitly--like Rick Perry praying for Rain--but they do this implicitly by publishing pieces of pop cultural observation (box office scores) as though they were signs of the miraculous intervention of god to show his erring sinners the way, or a rebuke by the god of mammon to liberals.

In the paranoid and conservative world view nothing happens by accident. And the task that Fox news takes on is to explain to the viewer why what happens confirms their world view whether that is pessimistic/millenarian/eschatological or upbeat/jingoistic/nationalistic and happy.

Ten Bears said...

Only the chicken hawks have a problem with Fonda.

No fear.

Never Ben Better said...


Damn, I wish I were half as perceptive as you.

Victor said...

You do just fine! :-)

Anonymous said...

But I wonder if it will emulate James Bond in 'Free Fall' and go back up to the TOP of the American box office FOUR WEEKS after it opened? Probably not, but then, we Brits know how to make a decent film!

(Stand by for incoming!)

Dark Avenger said...

Yeah,and Hot Fuzz was demonstrating the usefulness of recycling old Laurel and Hardy routines. Very British.

aimai said...

I love Hot Fuzz. Also: Sean of the dead.

Jim Donahue said...

I actually laughed out loud when I saw that headline yesterday. I was going to leave a comment to this effect on NewsMax yesterday--but, of course, NM doesn't have comments.

Anonymous said...

"Hot Fuzz"? Somehow, I get the feeling that the world is passing me by . . .

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Some fool over at IMDB once announced that climate change didn't exist because Pixar's Cars made more money than An Inconvenient Truth.

But switch the conversation to the performance of Atlas Shrugged Pt II* and suddenly Hollywood homosocialist Jewspiracy Controls Everything!!

*Where's mah Pt III, chumps?