2016/07/18

When Is a Movie Not a Movie?

When it's a cynical propagandistic cash grab.

Actually, we can scratch the last part now that Ghostbusters 2016 has failed to beat the opening weekend domestic box office take of Ghostbusters II.

Here are the numbers

Ghostbusters II: $29,472,894 (June 16, 1989)

Ghostbusters: $46,000,000 (July 17, 2016)

At first glance I seem to have contradicted myself, but look what happens when we apply the magic of inflation!

Ghostbusters II: $57,766,872 in 2016 dollars

That's over eleven million more than the Ghostbusters reboot.

A reboot that cost $144,000,000 to make, compared to its direct predecessor's $72,520,000 price tag.

In other words, Ghostbusters II, which is widely considered a failure, made back almost 80% of its budget on opening weekend, compared to only 32% for the reboot.

Hollywood will be quick to blame sexism. However, a glut of evidence IDs the real culprit of this commercial failure as artistic failure.

Ghostbusters 2016 Logo Shot in Crotch

Simpsons - Man Getting Hit by Football
The Simpsons did it better.
I must admit, the success of The Force Awakens dealt a serious blow to my faith in American audiences' judgment. Prior to reports of its opening weekend numbers, I'd expected the Ghostbusters reboot to top the box office and at least surpass the much-maligned Ghostbusters II.

The fact that many moviegoers are voting with their wallets against a film that epitomizes Hollywood's brazen contempt for them tempers my cynicism.

That's not to say that all is well in the world of pop culture.


If it sucks, don't go

There's no getting around it. TFA made a killing. And although it failed to meet expectations, Ghostbusters 2016 might still make its budget back and may even turn a profit.

If these later films were simply earnest but flawed products like the Star Wars prequels and Ghostbusters II, an argument for paying to see them could be made on the basis of "there's no accounting for taste".

Yet online and among gatherings of friends, there's no shortage of people who acknowledge TFA and GB 2016 for what they are: not movies meant to entertain, but crass propaganda. It's highly doubtful that either film would do as well as it did had people who know them for what they are simply not paid to be propagandized.

I've noticed a baffling phenomenon among my peers that can be summed up in one sentence: "Yeah, [Cynical Propagandistic Cash Grab X ] will suck, but I have to go."

No, you don't.

Otherwise rational people's willingness to pay companies who hate them for the privilege of having their personal beliefs, religion, and way of life mocked is a grim testament to how thoroughly pop culture has been subverted into a tool of the elite.

After pointing this out, I usually get excuses along the lines of "I don't want to go, but my girlfriend/spouse does, so what choice do I have?"

I answer: you have the choice to impress your significant other (and, even more importantly, your children) by showing integrity and frugality when you refuse to pay Hollywood scumbags to insult both of you.

Then there's the ever-popular: "I've been a diehard fan of the series for decades. Even if this one sucks, I have to see it."

I answer: look man, we all loved Star Wars/Star Trek/Indiana Jones/Ghostbusters/etc. You probably loved Twinkies as a kid, too, but if I stuck a bunch of them under a slaughterhouse radiator for 30 years and then served you the resulting moldy blackened goo, past fondness wouldn't bind you to choke down the putrid mess.

Moldy Twinkies
Pictured: your most beloved childhood franchise
Hollywood hates you. They've murdered the film franchises you loved and reanimated them as shambling husks. But instead of cloves and sawdust, they've stuffed these mummified impostors with PC dogma. These zombie films' main purpose now is to spread elitist groupthink like plague rats.

Nevertheless, the desire to see these hollow propaganda pieces is understandable. The loyalty once reserved for faith, family, and country has long since been given over to multimedia entertainment empires, designer labels, and high profile name brands.

It worked for a while, back when the high priests of consumerism at least paid lip service to the values of the institutions they'd displaced. Now they've gone rabid and are devouring the culture that birthed them.

Cutting the cord and waking yourself up can seem daunting, I know. Missing out on the cinematic flavor of the month can be scary, especially if you don't immediately see anything that can fill the vacuum.

But alternatives exist, even if the movie studios, record labels, media conglomerates, and big publishers won't tell you about them.

For example, there are any number of independent authors working around the clock to spin fun, exciting yarns with the sole aim of entertaining you.

I happen to be one of them.



@BrianNiemeier

20 comments:

  1. If I'm not mistaken, Paul Feig has mentioned that Ghostbusters needs to make 500 mil to break even.

    It ain't gonna make 500 mil.

    Next week it's up against "Star Trek" and lagging behind "The Secret Life of Pets" on its second week. Then there's word of mouth and the obvious fact that this movie will have no legs.

    If it makes it over 100 mil in it's run, it will not be by much. At the very least, there will be no sequel, and hopefully this kills that Ghostbusters universe idea dead.

    However, and this is a very unpopular opinion, I do believe that there will be a backlash on Star Wars: TFA eventually. Most of the defense against it is centered on waiting to see what the next movie does. If anyone has ever seen a sequel to anything J.J. Abrams has ever made, then you know exactly how good it will be.

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    1. "If I'm not mistaken, Paul Feig has mentioned that Ghostbusters needs to make 500 mil to break even."

      You are correct.

      "At the very least, there will be no sequel, and hopefully this kills that Ghostbusters universe idea dead."

      If we were dealing with mercenary producers on the make for a fast buck, you'd be correct.

      But as Nick Cole found out to his temporary sorrow, these people aren't mercenaries. They're zealots.

      Sony has already announced a sequel, with plans for the series to run indefinitely. They rationalize this poor decision with the need to compete with Star Wars and the MCU, but if they wanted to compete, they wouldn't let Feig make such incompetent pictures.

      "I do believe that there will be a backlash on Star Wars: TFA eventually."

      Almost certainly. The once undreamt-of phenomenon of fans expressing fond nostalgia for the prequel trilogy foreshadows the backlash.

      Star Wars fans know they've been had. Some will have their cognitive bias shattered as soon as Rogue One.

      Delete
  2. The early reviews for Star Trek make me really optimistic.

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    1. The makers of STB have revealed that the film is Leftist message fic.

      If the reviews suggest that the story will compensate for the propaganda...well, it's your money.

      Delete
    2. I'm not that informed on Star Trek, but isn't the majority of the franchise already leftist message fic? Conservative fans should be used to holding their nose in regards to it.

      Delete
    3. This time they've even gone too far for George Takei.
      http://www.people.com/article/george-takei-full-story-gay-sulu-comments-why-star-trek-beyond-director-justin-lin-dont-pay-tribute-me

      Delete
    4. No, they haven't. Takei just wishes they didn't use Sulu specifically. If they used another gay character for their agenda, Takei would have no problem with it. His problem isn't that it's propaganda, it's that they did their propaganda wrong this time, in his opinion.

      Star Trek is no different than it ever was. If you don't want to watch this one, to be consistent you need to not watch any Star Trek at all. Which even most conservative types don't want to do.

      So the choice is yours: Forswear all Star Trek, or shrug and say that this is just par for the course. There isn't a middle ground here.

      Delete
    5. And, again - It's not just the makers of STB who have revealed this. They're just following the grand tradition of good ol' Gene Reoddenberry himself, who stated it outright and cheerfully practically every chance he got.

      His show was so propagandistic, he actually had to hide his true motives from the network execs - this is his own admission, mind you - because they would have thought his message too radical. Were it up to him, a gay character would have been part of Star Trek long ago.

      He was one of the first people to engage in, and popularize, Orwellian Newspeak regarding the usage of man vs. person in language.

      This isn't even remotely "too far" for Star Trek. It's right in line with what they always were and stood for. That they were often good in spite of themselves is a testament to Roddenberry's skill as a writer.

      Delete
    6. "The early reviews for Star Trek make me really optimistic."

      "He was one of the first people to engage in, and popularize, Orwellian Newspeak regarding the usage of man vs. person in language."

      Pick one. There's no middle ground here, either.

      Delete
    7. "If you don't want to watch this one, to be consistent you need to not watch any Star Trek at all. Which even most conservative types don't want to do."

      Which is why they're losing.

      Delete
  3. Of course there's a middle ground. The middle ground is "Hey, I know there's propaganda being pushed here, but I recognize that and will not be fooled by it. I am aware enough to enjoy the high-quality storytelling presented."

    Here's my question to you: Are you ready to go on the record and state that you, me, and everybody else should boycott Star Trek?

    Not nuTrek. ALL Star Trek. Original series. "Wrath of Khan". All of it. Furthermore, just like you're calling for here with these other movies, we should call for said boycott publicly.

    Because if you're not willing to do that, then I submit you're being inconsistent. Or else you should dispute my premise, at least.

    (This is a general pet peeve of mine: conservatives who try and stretch things to make excuses for leftist propaganda they actually like. I do it too; I did it recently for "Jessica Jones", and caught myself later. At the very least we need to be aware of what we're watching so we're not suckered by it.)

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    1. "Of course there's a middle ground."

      No, Anthony, there isn't. Either you want to fund films that insult you or you don't.

      You're clearly laboring under a number of misconceptions, most notably that I am a) a conservative and b) at all concerned with abstractions here.

      Hollywood is now a leftist propaganda organ. I pointed out how those who dislike their propaganda can get them to stop making it. Whether or not anyone is fooled by that propaganda is entirely beside the point.

      I don't care if you or anyone else wants to see the new Star Trek. If you don't mind the insults, fine; go.

      I'm talking practicalities, so here's a way to see STB and keep your hard-earned money out of propagandists' hands: buy a ticket to a different movie and then go into the auditorium showing Star Trek.

      I used to manage a movie theater. Trust me, they don't care as long as you get concessions.

      As for past Star Trek series and films, there are plenty of perfectly legal ways to watch them without paying Paramount a dime.

      Keep in mind that you're talking to a guy who has publicly and repeatedly endorsed the Tor boycott and who has since purchased zero new Tor books. Other supporters of the boycott have mentioned buying used copies, which Tor doesn't profit from, and which is equivalent for our purposes to buying a secondhand Wrath of Khan DVD.

      Delete
  4. Here's the thing about Star Trek: If you were willing to watch Star Trek in the past, you should be willing to do it now. There's nothing different going on

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    1. Yes. For non-leftists, watching Star Trek is still like having a Kick Me sign taped to your back.

      Continuing to pay for it is the best way to ensure it doesn't change.

      Delete
  5. It's definitely the best way to continue having Star Trek, yes.

    If you don't want more Star Trek, I agree. Don't watch it.

    But I don't think people should suddenly start having a problem with Star Trek now if they've never had one in the past, at least not if their philosophy hasn't significantly changed. Star Trek is what it is. If you are invested at all in the franchise, if you want to see more of it, then it is worth your time and money to pay to see the movie.

    Star Wars you can make a better case for.

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    1. Fair enough. We've both made our positions plain.

      You don't mind watching leftist propaganda and want Hollywood to make more of it.

      I neither want to watch leftist propaganda nor do I want Hollywood to make more of it.

      Let us act accordingly.

      Delete
  6. Well, that's your summary of the conclusion. Here's mine:

    If you have enjoyed and continually been entertained by a franchise for fifty or so years of its existence, then it is probably worth your money to see it continue so long as it is still coming out with a product you like.

    If your own political philosophy is preventing you from enjoying it, then don't. But don't pretend as if anything's changed either.

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  7. "If you have enjoyed...a franchise for fifty or so years...then it is probably worth your money to see it continue so long as it is still coming out with a product you like."

    A perfect demonstration of why the conservative apple doesn't fall far from the rotten classical Liberal tree.

    I'm not arguing from personal preferences. I'm only arguing politics to the extent that leftism uses the machinery of government, among many other methods, to achieve its ends.

    I'm not a philosopher. I'm a theologian. My concern here isn't the best way to organize a society. It's how to avoid, as far as possible, cooperating with evil.

    Leftist propaganda spreads error. This is an offense against truth.

    Paying the producers and disseminators of error makes one a material cooperator with evil.

    Willingly contributing to the production and spread of error makes one a formal cooperator with evil.

    Asserting that a body of work was always in error doesn't excuse formal material cooperation. It is the novel fallacy of trying to refute a claim by demonstrating why it's true.

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  8. Brian.

    You pretty much need to *not have anything to do at all with Hollywood*, then.

    Want to watch a Marvel movie? Nope. Marvel is owned by Disney, and I'm sure you realize how bad Disney is. Can't do that.

    Lord of the Rings adaptations are apparently out now. You see the last Hobbit movies? Awful.

    How about Narnia? I never saw Dawn Treader, but "Lion" was already cutting out Lewis's lines (War is ugly when women fight turned into "War is ugly"), and "Prince Caspian" was a travesty. That one is out.

    The funny thing is, I am not a what-America-calls-conservative OR a classical liberal. I reject the logic used in the Declaration of Independence entirely, for what its worth, and consider the very concept of "consent of the governed" nonsense.

    We're in a world where virtually *everything* we do is going one way or another to support some liberal cause. There's a point where we can protest if they're ruining classic franchises that we all enjoy, but otherwise the best we can do is be aware of the propaganda being presented to us and not be fooled. And come out with our own alternatives (as you have, to your credit).

    Or we can all become hermits. Which I'm not necessarily against, mind you.

    Willingly contributing to the production and spread of error makes one a formal cooperator with evil.

    What if said thing is ALSO contributing great messages like individualism over collectivism, and bravery, sacrifice, and heroism in the face of overwhelming odds and great evil?

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  9. Am I correct in assuming you don't vote?

    (This isn't s "gotcha". I'm perfectly serious,)

    ReplyDelete