With America’s most epic election to date approaching so rapidly, and at least two major political films (W. and Body of Lies), hitting theatres this month, why are movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua blowing up the box office? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, currently standing at number two in the week’s top ten, Chihuahua made $8 million more in it’s third week than W. did in it’s opening weekend. Ouch. Are singing dogs really that endearing? Or would the majority of the American movie-going audience rather keep politics and entertainment in separate ballparks?
Late 2007, sparked the production of a slew of politically related films: Lions for Lambs, Stop-Loss, Rendition – and now – The Lucky Ones, Body of Lies, and W. All have proven to be relatively unsuccessful at the box office, some completely bombing. And we’re not talking little indie-films with no-name actors – these movies all sport the tops of the A-list: Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon, Rachel McAdams, Leonardo Dicaprio, Ryan Phillipe, etc. We’ve got poignant topics that aim to educate the American public AND star Hollywood’s elite, what could seem more appealing?
Let’s be honest, with the laundry list of hardships our country is currently facing, it seems as though America is completely riveted in November’s election. Whether it’s some teenager rocking a trendy “OBAMA” t-shirt from Urban Outfitters, or the table of business men recapping the week’s debate at the sushi bar – escaping politics is simply not in the cards. Filmmakers hope to make movies that will appeal to an audience because they’re sending messages people are interested in hearing, right?
Even though I’m all about mindless, light-hearted entertainment (and believe me, cartoon dogs belting high C’s certainly fits into that category), in today’s society, what theme could possess more relevance than one making a political statement? Should the political statements be left to the newspapers, debates, and occasional SNL skits? Perhaps those truly interested in politics would rather turn on NBC, than spend ten dollars at the movie theatre. The concept doesn’t seem too far fetched.
“Political thriller!!!!” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue when brainstorming what type of movie to see on a Friday night. According to The New York Times’ weekly top 10, people are more inclined to pay to see movies with stories that allow them to escape the everyday ups and downs of the American government, rather than be reminded of them.Should the Oliver Stones and Ridley Scott’s of the film industry take the hint?