Hollywood Moviemakers Lack Business Sense; Instead, They Have "Conscience"

According to the Washington Post, numerous filmmakers are going ahead with anti-war films:

On Sept. 14, Warner Independent Pictures expects to release “In the Valley of Elah,” a drama inspired by the Davis murder, written and directed by Paul Haggis, whose “Crash” won the Academy Award for best picture in 2006. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones as a retired veteran who defies Army bureaucrats and local officials in a search for his son’s killers. In one of the movie’s defining images, the American flag is flown upside down in the heartland, the signal of extreme distress.

Other coming films also use the damaged Iraq veteran to raise questions about a continuing war. In “Grace Is Gone,” directed by James C. Strouse and due in October from the Weinstein Company, John Cusack and two daughters struggle with the loss of a wife and mother who is killed on duty. Kimberly Peirce’s “Stop-Loss,” set for release in March by Paramount, meanwhile, casts Ryan Phillippe as a veteran who defies an order that would send him back to Iraq.

So Hollywood is going to try to educate us how to think, again. I have a bit of advice, Hollywood: If you’re interested in how the heartland (read: your customers) thinks about their country and its military, perhaps some comparisons are in order.

Title Budget Box Office Difference
300 65,000,000 210,614,939 145,614,939
Jarhead 72,000,000 62,658,220 9,341,780
Rambo: First Blood Part II n/a 150,415,432 n/a
First Blood 15,000,000 47,212,904 32,212,904
Born on the Fourth of July n/a 70,001,698 n/a
Courage Under Fire n/a 59,031,057 n/a
Three Kings 75,000,000 60,652,036 14,347,964

I realize this is not a comprehensive survey of box office and really reflects my own taste as much as anything else, but the more, erm, message-driven reeducational sorts of films don’t seem to do so well as the patriotic or less nuance-principled films, at least domestically.

But maybe Hollywood isn’t making films for us any more; perhaps they’re focusing on the foreign markets or on impressing themselves and the Academy.

However, allow me to predict that this story will participate in next year’s “Box Office Revenue/Ticket Sales Continue to Decline” story. Followed, no doubt, with industry claims that piracy is causing it instead of disconnect between the moviemakers and movienotgoers.