Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Mountain of Greenbacks? Maybe not.

There’s been a lot of hype and more than a few breathless reviews for the movie Brokeback Mountain.

I haven’t seen the movie but I have read several reviews and synopses that report the storyline thus: Two young sheepherders share a summer of homosexual love then move on to become cowboys, each eventually entering into a heterosexual relationship that results in marriage. However, each cowboy secretly pines for his summer-love and the two men eventually hookup again and again and again and realize their love and lust for each other will never die. This complicates then damages their married lives, their families and their work, etc., etc., etc. But, hey, you can't fight love.

Hollywood, the MSM glitterati, and movie reviewers have been falling all over themselves in their rush to praise and promote the film (and its underlying moral) - the film picked up several Golden Globes and garnered the most Oscar nominations (eight) this year, including Best Picture.

So what is the moral of the movie? The reviews would indicate it is this: No matter how many different partners you have, you’ll only ever have one true love (gay or straight) and it’s a beautiful thing and it transcends all other happenings in your universe... and there’s nothing wrong with being gay... and gays are unhappy because of the evil of homophobia and, and, and…

Anyway, I thought I’d see what moviegoers (you know, those people for whom films are supposedly made) think of the film – just see how Brokeback Mountain is faring at the box office.

Here are some statistics:

Films that have been out for same number of weeks as Brokeback.

Film wk's gross cum grosstheatersweeks
The Chronicles of Narnia $4,504,990 $277,867,308 21708
Memoirs of a Geisha $1,557,916 $53,819,92221708
Brokeback Mountain $6,542,081$51,024,34316548

The top five grossing movies for the week ending 1/29/06

Film wk's gross cum grosstheatersweeks
Big Momma’s House 2$27,736,056$27,736,05632611
Nanny McPhee $14,503,650$14,503,65019951
Underworld:Evolution $11,404,172$44,607,26432072
Annapolis $7,681,171$7,681,17132071
Hoodwinked $7,480,089$7,480,08932071

Here are the top ten grossing movies for the last 16 weeks (which seems to be the average cutoff point for yanking a movie whose box office has fallen precipitously)

Film wk's gross cum grosstheatersweeks
Harry Potter (Goblet)$538,126$286,301,03534011
The Chronicles of Narnia$4,504,990$277,867,30821708
King Kong$2,346,555$213,160,17013227
Chicken Little$101,136$133,533,895144813
Fun with Dick and Jane$3,503,874$106,218,18321326
Walk the Line$3,032,741$106,120,470120111
Cheaper by the Dozen$1,129,533$79,670,63911616
The Family Stone$363,543$59,209,6494067
Memoirs of a Geisha$1,557,916 $53,819,92210168
Yours. Mine & Ours$126,315$52,716,64813610

Here are the other four films nominated for the best picture Oscar
(all but one having a discernable "message")

Film wk's gross cum grosstheatersweeks
Munich $1,670,810$40,647,7859806
Good Night & Good Luck $181,307$25,134,58210517
Capote $695,441 $15,305,83732518

Here’s what happened as distribution of Brokeback Mountain expanded

Weektheatersgross/theaterweek’s grosstickets/show*

* - assumes $7.50 per ticket, four (4) shows a day in each theater

I recall a quote attributed, I think, to the Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer that went something like, “I’m in the entertainment business, when I want to send a message I use Western Union.”

When you compare the receipts for the entertainment films (however good or bad they are) with those from the "message" films, Mayer's admonition remains a good business model for movie industry stakeholders.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only problem is that Western Union no longer sends telegrams, only money.


2/06/2006 6:44 AM  
Blogger Cameron said...

I loved this movie and I'm not sure what the point of this particular post/blog is. It was not widely released in regular theaters and therefore can't be compared with anything that was. Most "MEN" aren't comfortable enough with their own sexuality to actually view a movie about this subject matter. Perhaps these same "MEN" would make the excuse that this plot is unrealisitic and stupid and that Hollywood is just being Hollywood. I disagree. This film picked up so many nominations for the Academy Awards because it has so much merit. The cinematography, acting and writing was incredible and the plot was engaging. It depicted a serious, honest and loving homosexual relationship during a historical period when it was NOT acceptable. Ledger became this character in a way I've seen no other actor do in recent memory. His relationship was volital, loving, impossible and evokes the deepest unrequited love theme that I've been privy to. This film deserves every Academy award nomination it received and I think it's a huge step for Hollywood to address this issue with such honesty and dignity rather than making a farse of being gay, as the TV and media usually do. Statistics and computation will not help you understand this movie; however, humility, acceptance and simply loving others for who they are, will. You cannot analyze love stories, ESPECIALLY without viewing or reading them first. Can you comment on a poem you haven't read? I would not expect a REPUBLICAN to understand.

2/12/2006 1:18 PM  

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