Audiences Rejecting 13 Hours? Not Exactly [with comment by Paul]

Paul and Scott have both seen the movie 13 Hours and wrote about it here and here. Scott noted that at the theater he attended, the large room was reserved for Carol. 13 Hours got the smaller venue and was sparsely attended.

Scott linked to a Hill story headlined “Benghazi film flops at the box office.” This was a pretty common theme on the left; to cite just one instance, Amanda Marcotte at Salon was triumphant. Her headline: “Audiences reject 13 Hours: Big blow for the right’s desperate quest for Clinton’s Benghazi smoking gun — it’s just not there.” Seriously. That’s the headline.

I won’t waste time on Marcotte’s “review,” which is hampered a bit by the fact that she hadn’t seen the film. I have read very little of her work, but I take it she is mostly a joke. The question is, were the liberals who proclaimed 13 Hours a flop on the basis of its opening weekend right?

Evidently not. Here are the Box Office Mojo numbers, updated through last night:

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13 Hours holds the number four spot. It isn’t a box office smash like the new Star Wars movie or Leo DiCaprio’s bear epic The Revenant, but that is hardly the standard. After 13 days, 13 Hours has done nearly $36 million in box office. Does that mean that it is a “flop,” or that audiences have “rejected” the film?

Obviously not. Those numbers are more than respectable. The Big Short, a fantasy about the 2008 stock market crash, is beloved by liberals–certainly none of them has called it a flop. But 13 Hours is closing in on The Big Short, which has been out for more than three times as long and has around $57 million in gross receipts. Joy is a much-hyped film starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez and Isabella Rossellini. It earned Lawrence a Best Actress Oscar nomination. But 13 Hours might wind up doing as much box office as Joy, which has grossed $55 million after 34 days. Quentin Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight, is in the same category, with a $51 million gross after 34 days.

But those films are performing well. If you want to find flops, look for movies with a left-wing theme. Spotlight is by all accounts a well-made film about the Catholic church’s gay clergy scandal. But it has performed poorly, grossing only $33 million, less than 13 Hours, in 83 days, six times the time. Then there is Carol, the story of a lesbian relationship that was given top billing over 13 Hours at the theater Scott attended. Carol got great reviews–93% on Rotten Tomatoes!–and has an all-star cast, headed by Cate Blanchett, fresh off her triumph in Truth. (Just kidding.) After 69 days–more than five times as long as 13 Hours has been out–Carol has grossed only $11 million, less than one-third of 13 Hours‘ haul.

And yet, if you Google “movie Carol is a bomb” or “movie Carol is a flop” you get…nothing. Amusingly, one thing that does turn up is this critic’s suggestion that Truth flopped in part because Blanchett’s “other movie,” Carol, was “sucking up more and more oxygen as its release approache[d].” Right.

Even worse than Carol‘s performance is The Danish Girl, an extravagantly praised film about an early 20th century transgender person. The movie’s star has gotten a Best Actor Oscar nomination. But how does the public like The Danish Girl? After 62 days, it has grossed a pathetic $10 million. Nevertheless, Google “the Danish girl is a flop” and see whether you find anything.

It is fair to conclude that there are a number of films the public has rejected, but 13 Hours is not one of them, despite the efforts of many critics and most of the press.

PAUL adds: Amanda Marcotte, the leftist who claims 13 Hours is flopping, was a blogger for John Edwards’ campaign in 2007, which tells you something about her judgment. She resigned after Edwards said he was “personally offended” by statements she had made on her blog.

In one such statement, Marcotte wrote: “The Catholic church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics.” She also questioned, in explicit language, what would have happened if the Virgin Mary had taken the emergency contraceptive called Plan B.

In addition, Marcotte wrote of the (fraudulent) Duke University rape case: “Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.”

Maybe Hillary Clinton will hire Marcotte. She would be a perfect fit.