This continues a pattern:
The two part movie "Che" has turned out to be one of the worst box office bombs in film history. How bad was it? Well, since opening last December, this movie has earned a grand total of just $1,432,057 as of the weekend of April 10-12.
Since the budget for this film was $40 million and at least half of those revenues went to the theaters screening this bomb, that means the total loss for 'Che' was approximately the entire budget cost.
Remember Oliver Stone's "W?" If you have forgotten it even existed, that is because it died a quick death at the box office immediately upon release last October. [It] suffered exactly the same fate as all the other leftwing movies produced in the past few years by Hollywood. Redacted?" DEAD! "Rendition?" DEAD! "Syriana?" DEAD! "Stop Loss?" DEAD!The lousy box office happens despite glowing reviews. A Star Tribune movie review, for example, was headlined "'Che' as complex and compelling as the man" and concludes with "the most engaging film experiences you are likely to have this year." Audiences had to discover otherwise on their own.
At the New York Times, Frank Rich tries his hand at explaining the problem (hat tip: Chris Jones) :
It would take another column to list all the movies and TV shows about Iraq that have gone belly up at the box office or in Nielsen ratings in the nearly four years since the war’s only breakout commercial success, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” They die regardless of their quality or stand on the war, whether they star Tommy Lee Jones (“In the Valley of Elah”) or Meryl Streep (“Lions for Lambs”) or are produced by Steven Bochco (the FX series “Over There”) or are marketed like Abercrombie & Fitch apparel to the MTV young (“Stop-Loss”). ....Notice how Mr. Rich avoids the obvious conclusion by pretending that the movies were diverse in their "stand on the war." They weren't: they were all anti-US.
Most Americans don’t want to hear, see or feel anything about Iraq, whether they support the war or oppose it. [emph. added]
Economists have found that not all businesses have the same risk-adjusted expected returns. In some businesses, like "socially-concious" mutual funds, the investors accept typically lower returns to gain psychic benefits. Those who invest in left-wings movies obviously are not doing it for the money: they are also looking for psychic benefits, maybe in the form of prestige at Hollywood dinner parties.
In any event, selecting a movie is more difficult: when a movie gets top reviews, that generally means the movie is either good or left-wing. The reader is left to guess which.
UPDATE Oct. 2009: Michael Moore's latest, Capitalism, tanks at the box office.