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Monday, October 06, 2008
At the Movies: Religulous is Strong and An American Carol Tanks
Last week, I was flipping the channels and noticed that The View was on. I don't think I have ever seen a full episode of the show but it mentioned that two of the guests would be Bill Maher and Kevin Farley. Both are in films that were released last weekend--Maher film is a slam of religious folly, Religulous and Farley is in David Zucker's lampooning of Michael Moore and the American left, An American Carol.
I wanted to write a post about both films but was discouraged because I figured that because An American Carol was heavily advertised on Rush Limbaugh's show (Limbaugh gave the film a big plug on his show) and heavily promoted on right-wing talk radio and the fair-and-balanced channel that it would kick ass at the box office and that Maher's film would tank because we live in a highly religious nation.
I was wrong. An American Carol and Religulous did roughly the same at the box office this weekend ($3,810,000 and $3,500,000 respectively). However, Religulous was on fewer than one-third of the screens as An American Carol. The per-screen average revenue for Religulous was $6,972 while An American Carol had an anemic $2,325 average.
I don't know why Religulous did so well. I have an idea why An American Carol tanked. I had seen the trailer for the film and it looks like it was made for the kind of people who enjoyed The 1/2 Hour News Hour (remember that?).
UPDATE I: They didn't screen An American Carol to critics, a sure sign that the producers didn't want negative reviews to hurt the opening weekend box office. Well, the reviewers paid to see the film this weekend and the reviews are not good.
UPDATE II: One thought I have about writer Director David Zucker. He is a former liberal Democrat who embraced the right's foreign policy views after 9/11 because he believed that Republicans were more capable of dealing with terrorism. What events caused Zucker to embrace the hard right's homophobia? (e.g., 45 seconds into the trailer).
UPDATE III: Religulous did more business than An American Carol on Sunday 10/5 and Monday 10/6