October 23, 2006

Flags flags

After Weak ‘Flags’ Debut, Studio May Face Costly Oscar BattleClint Eastwood’s World War II movie “Flags of Our Fathers” lumbered ashore this weekend weighted with the expectations of a studio needing to win big. Looking for Oscars and a payoff on the film’s $90 million budget, Paramount, its distributor, put the film in nearly 1,900 theaters, and still plans to add hundreds more as early as this week.

By Monday morning, however, the studio and its partners found themselves facing a costly fight to save their showcase awards entry, as “Flags” took in just $10.2 million at the box office—a relatively tiny beachhead that did not match expectations or its mostly strong reviews. The picture had failed to excite enough older viewers who could remember, readily identify or relate to its subject, the bloody battle for Iwo Jima, to make up for its lack of appeal to younger audiences and paucity of recognizable stars.

4 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
The question becomes, is it wise to release a war movie when a increasingly-unpopular war is ongoing? The very politics of the movie itself can be held in unfavorable light because they are too close to the politics we are seeing now. Plus, the usually-targeted demographic audience does not appreciate a film that suggests that they likely are next to be going there. Surely, there is no draft at this time, and no politicians are willing to commit career suicide by proposing its return, but the younger members of the public have no guarantees that it will not happen. History may not be an acceptable topic at this particular moment in time. Eastwood himself has said that whatever evaluations are attached to films are the intent and wishes of the audiences themselves.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

It's a little tough to figure. Eastwood's movies usually make money, and a film that criticizes the exploitation of war should resonate with audiences. Perhaps people are tired of seeing dead US soldiers in the news and don't want to see them on the screen, either.

Carole said...

I saw FOOF this weekend and it was a beautiful movie (strange adjective, I know, considering it showed the carnage of war.) It was beautiful in that it showed the nobility of the average guy in the face of a horror and the mass marketing of war. It also avoided the now-cliched "war is hell" theme started by "Deerhunter" nearly 30 years ago.

Why, then, isn't it making money?

Maybe I'm cynical--but most moviegoers (who tend to be young) don't want to be confronted with anything that makes them think, feel, and learn about the past. They rather see an idiotic Adam Sandler comedy or escapist fare. We don't live in an era that lends itself to thoughtful introspection. That's why a movie like FOOF doesn't bring in the throngs.

I bet FOOF will do much better on DVD rentals since that represents a wider cross-section of the viewing audience...

Not a Sioux said...

To answer Writerfella's question "is it wise to release a war movie when a increasingly-unpopular war is ongoing?"

This can even be the best time for war movies: look at MASH and Catch-22.