No Minister

Woke Hollywood goes broke

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Well not yet, but they are not having a good year in what was supposed to be the rebound after the terrible C-19 years of 2020-21.

There have been multiple flops of expensive movies and not a lot of interest in smaller (lower-budget) movies that are supposed to be Oscar-bait.

I’ve only been to one movie this year and that was Top Gun: Maverick, which was excellent escapism, as movies are supposed to be. And it made a ton of money, just shy of $1.5 billion and counting.

But even with that, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and the other huge hit movie earlier in the season, SpiderMan: No Way Home (almost $2 billion), Hollywood struggled, with US revenue down to $6 billion compared to $11.3 billion in 2019 and one huge cinema chain going into bankruptcy.

There are any number of explanations as to why people are not going into the theatres, starting with the big one of streaming, which was already starting to hit them in 2019 but which took off during the lockdowns. It’s quite possible that people have got into a habit that they can’t be bothered breaking.

But that doesn’t really stack up as an argument in the face of those three blockbusters mentioned earlier. People obviously went out for them. Streaming has also been around for a decade, and especially doesn’t make sense when we’re talking about movies that are not intended to be blockbusters:

Here is the domestic box office for this year’s titles enjoying the most Oscar talk.

  • Till – $8.7 million
  • The Banshees of Inisherin – $7.9 million
  • TÁR – $5.1 million
  • She Said – $4.3 million
  • Triangle of Sadness – $4 million
  • Bones and All – $3.8 million
  • The Fabelmans – $3.5 million
  • Armageddon Time – $1.9 million
  • Aftersun – $756,000

The most shocking title on that list is The Fabelmans. Those of us of a certain age can remember when Oscar talk around a Steven Spielberg movie would have had people flocking to theaters, especially over Thanksgiving weekend (when Fabelmans opened). Spielberg guaranteed that magic cinematic experience we all crave.

While you could say those are “small failures” there have been big ones, and most of those have been Disney productions, starting with Lightyear and ending with the $100 million loss on Strange World (budget $180 million).

The reason is all the Woke bullshit in the storylines and the characters, as John Nolte explains by contrasting these modern movies with the stories and humans of a simple 1970’s movie like The Way of the Dragon:

Lee plays Tang Lung, and the movie opens with Lung, an unsophisticated rube from Hong Kong, arriving in Rome. At the airport, he’s treated rudely, gawked at, dismissed, laughed at… He’s not white. He wears funny clothes. He doesn’t speak the language. He’s an exotic Asian fish out of water, an obvious victim of prejudices, preconceived notions, and racism.

But how does Lee, who had complete control over the movie and his image, play it? Perfectly. Tang Lung doesn’t get angry, doesn’t lecture, and doesn’t demand respect. Instead, he’s humble, a little clumsy, funny, and utterly endearing. Not only does this approach make him relatable, but it’s also the perfect way to convey a message about prejudice and “othering.” Although Tang Lung is very different from us, we relate to him (who hasn’t felt outnumbered and out of place?) and come to respect him for his discipline, bravery, and restraint. Nothing is heavy-handed. No one lectures us. No one pounds their chest about how virtuous they are. No one shames anyone. It’s all done through good-natured humor, theme, and story.

By contrast, the modern movies preach, constantly, unsubtly, and in your face:

There’s no subtlety in woke, no subtext, no generosity. Instead, it’s smug, in your face, insufferable, and never believable. You can’t tell blatant lies about human nature and hold on to your audience. All of this takes us out of the story. It breaks the spell. Further, it insults us and our intelligence, which makes the moviegoing experience a negative one no one wants to repeat.

And so, like Disney, the Oscar brand is dead. Disney didn’t promote Strange World as a gay movie. Still, no one went to see it because we all know what Disney has become. Same with the Oscars. If there’s Oscar heat around a movie, it’s almost certain to be preachy garbage.

Americans have learned their lesson and now avoid this garbage. And it’s not just Red State America staying home. All these movies need to enjoy a respectable box office return is for ten percent of Hillary Clinton voters to show up. Most of these titles failed to attract one percent.

Yep, movies are so insufferable Hollywood has lost the left.

But there may be other things going on as well and they’re more to do with the general loss of trust in our institutions. Another recent flop was She Said, which is a drama about the downfall of the supreme POS and rapist Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. The movie apparently was not driven by Woke and actually sounded like it was pretty good. So why did it flop? Variety magazine gives a bunch of reasons for the failure but I think they’ve missed some because they don’t want to admit to them:

  1. People don’t want to go to depressing movies in this depressing environment. They want to be distracted, as people were by Shirley Temple in the Great Depression.
  2. People are not impressed by journalists any longer (two female reporters are the heroes of the movie). The age of All The President’s Men is dead.
  3. #MeToo proved to be massive exercise in double standards and hypocrisy, especially with the resurrection of Joe Biden, and was well dead before this movie hit the screens. It also became a bit of monster itself so people aren’t interested in seeing it celebrated on screen.
  4. Hollywood, including a number of A-Listers like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence, enabled this monster for two decades as he sexually abused his way through the place. People aren’t impressed by the same place now trying to tell the story as if it’s some sort of bystander.

Woke can probably be fixed, but trying to use institutions like the MSM, politics, police (the FBI – hahahaha), lawyers, judges and courts – even the military – as places of heroes in movie storylines increasingly does not work; Top Gun worked because it actually celebrated the military, but that’s the last institution with good standing in the US, and even it has slipped a lot recently.

Ironically that’s because the people writing, producing, directing and acting in these movies have done so much to smear those institutions and tear them down in the eyes of the public.

=========================

UPDATE

And here’s a good example of why Hollywood may not make it back. David Mamet (The Untouchables, Glengarry Glen Ross) is one of the greatest living American playwrights, with a huge catalog of famous and celebrated plays (he’s more Broadway than Hollywood), with many accolades for his stories, characters and dialog.

And he’s effectively been shunned by his own community since he wrote an article in 2008 called Why I am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal, published in the Lefty, Lefty, Lefty magazine The Village Voice, which had loved him for years, just for extra salt in the wound.

Read Tablet magazine’s Fuck David Mamet to find out why good writing is vanishing from American theatre and film.

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