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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bill Maher vs. The Wingers

by folkbum

I have written before about An American Carol, the right-wing send-up of liberals based (loosely, I assume) on the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, in which the "Ghost of America Present" is a General Patton, guy who's been dead for more than 60 years.

It opened this weekend (I did not go see it). So did Bill Maher's new film, a documentary called Religulous--its title is a mashup of "religion" and "ridiculous," which should give you an idea what it's about (I did not go see it, either). Maher's film, on 1/3 as many screens as the right-wing Carol, earned almost exactly as much this weekend, with a per-screen take triple that of the winger film.

Of course, I don't think the biggest goal of either film is to make money; both clearly have an ideology to promote (I happen to be more likely to agree with Maher's than Carol's). But the box office is a good indication of just which film is doing a better job of promoting its ideology--or of which ideology is more popular. Gives one pause, doesn't it?

EDIT: gnarlytrombone's comment below reminds me of something I wanted to say in this post but forgot initially. Duane Dudek actually blogged about the coincidence of these two films' opening on the same weekend, and he included this line: "An American Carol was not made available for advance screening." When a studio won't make a film available for critics before its release, it suggests that the studio does not have a high opinion of the film's quality. A mess of bad reviews on opening weekend would be deadly, so better to avoid that altogether. As gt implies, the low box office may be for a reason other than ideology.

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