In a related news item, Robert Redford's anti-war agitprop movie Lions For Lambs tanked badly at the box office this weekend, bringing in a disappointing estimated $6.7 million and coming in fourth, far behind Bee Movie, American Gangsters and Fred Claus. They probably spent that much just on commercials on Fox News Channel alone, promoting the movie to a mostly-conservative audience that wasn't going to go see it anyway.
So what do weird soda flavors and unsuccessful anti-war propaganda films have in common? They're both the result of people deciding that they are going to make a certain type of product because they think it is the "right thing to do," and they don't seem to care whether anyone wants to buy their product or not. It's an arrogant mindset: "I know what's good for you, so I'm going to sell it to you whether you want it or not."
At least the Jones Soda Co. has root beer and strawberry flavors that the public likes to fall back on. They're a small company and they'll still make a profit. Liberal Hollywood moviemakers, however, have lost a ton of money on movies like In the Valley of Elah, The Kingdom and Rendition, and apparently with Lions For Lambs as well. There is more of the same coming down the pike, and films like Brian DePalma's Redacted are almost certain to do just as poorly. Why? Because, as this post by J.D. Johannes points out, these movies all violate the hero narrative:
Exactly. You can fool some of the people all of the time, but not enough of them to make a box office profit. Ham soda and ham-handed anti-war movies are both examples of what happens when people forget that they are in business to make a profit, and to do that, you have to sell the customers something that they want to buy. Most Americans aren't buying what they're trying to sell us.
Despite spend several million dollars on advertising and marketing, 'Lions for Lambs' will flop--just like 'Rendition' & and 'Valley of Elah.'
They will flop because the human psyche, especially the American variety, prefers real heroes--like the original hero of the Valley of Elah, a young shepherd named David who killed Goliath then cut off the giant's head.
In the latest round of war movies the heroes are not the Soldiers and Marines who every day fight and defeat a vicious and barbaric enemy--the heroes are reporters, lawyers and activists.
And since every story requires a villain, the real enemy--Mohammedan Jihadists--are replaced by neo-cons, politicians, Soldiers and Marines.