Anti-war Movies Bombing at the Box Office

Remember those anti-war Iraq movies Hollywood was crowing about this summer? Turns out that crowing was more than a little premature: they've been spectacular bombs at the box office:

The wave of recent films set against the backdrop of war in Iraq and post-9/11 security has failed to win over film-goers keen to escape grim news headlines when they go to the movies, analysts say. [...]

Almost without exception, however, the crop of movies have struggled to turn a profit at the box-office and in many cases have received a mauling from unimpressed critics as well.

"Rendition," a drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal about the CIA's policy of outsourcing interrogation of terror suspects, has taken just under 10 million dollars at the box office, a disastrous return.

Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis's latest film "In the Valley of Elah," about a father investigating the death of his son in Iraq, earned favorable reviews but less than seven million dollars following its release in September.

The studio marketeers ought to have seen this coming for the simple reason that people go to the movies to be entertained not preached at.

Besides their silly moralizing, these Iraq war movies face a significant problem: they're being made by a bunch of insulated, rich Hollywood types who really have no idea what being in a war is like, let alone what being in the military is like. This problem is compounded hugely by the fact that you can within seconds pull up any number of military blogs like BlackFive, Mudville Gazette, and get real reports from real soldiers.

There's also a third problem. The American public is not nearly as angry and delirious about Iraq as the far left. Most Americans view our labors in Iraq the same way they view their local sports team. Up until recently, the home team's performance has been lackluster which has meant for less public support. Now that things have begun to turn around, however, Americans are viewing Iraq a lot more positively. This news couldn't have come at a worse time for "Rendition" and company.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013