Surprise: Matt Damon anti-war movie an atomic bomb at the box office

posted at 7:40 pm on March 15, 2010 by Allahpundit

I admit that I haven’t seen it — and neither has anyone else, apparently — but the reviews from righty film critics were simply gruesome, with Kyle Smith moved by its smearmongering to call it “one of the most egregiously anti-American movies ever released by a major studio.”

If you go by per-screen average, it did as well as in its first week as “Our Family Wedding.” Come, share my amusement.

Green Zone, reteaming Damon with Paul Greengrass, his director in the last two, very popular Jason Bourne films, earned just $14.5 million in its first three days at North American theaters, according to early studio estimates. That’s way below industry predictions (in the low to middle $20 millions) and less than a quarter of the $62 million amassed this weekend by the defending champ, Alice in Wonderland…

Universal, the studio that produced Green Zone, had smelled something bad for more than a year. Greengrass and Damon shot their picture during the last few months of the Bush Administration. Then, writes Anne Thompson on her IndieWire blog, the studio’s co-chairmen, Marc Shmuger and David Linde, “pushed back the Green Zone postproduction and release to allow Greengrass to find the film — and an ending — in the editing room.” The movie’s budget was at least $130 million, plus another $100 million or so to bring to market, and is unlikely to return even half that sum to Universal. The Green Zone shadow, plus the failures of a bunch of other Universal movies (Land of the Lost, Bruno, Funny People, Duplicity, State of Play, etc.), cost Shmuger and Linde their jobs in October. Their legacy projects — this and the expensive disappointment The Wolfman — are still costing Universal.

“It’s a bit of a disappointment,” Nikki Rocco, the studio’s president of distribution, said of Green Zone. Actually, it’s a bit of a disaster. It’s a smidge of financial calamity. It’s a flop of Universal proportions.

Shmuger and Linde were both big Obama donors; I wonder how they’re coping these days with The One’s escalation in Afghanistan. As for “Green Zone,” the instinctive reaction whenever one of these anti-Iraq agitprop pieces sinks at the box office is to blame its politics, but “The Hurt Locker” was reportedly agnostic about the war and struggled to sell tickets too. Granted, it had no A-lister in the cast like Damon, but it had lots of critical acclaim. Maybe the public simply doesn’t want to see an Iraq movie yet. In fact, now that I think of it, what was the last war movie to do really big business at the B.O.? “Black Hawk Down” broke the $100 million mark domestically, but that was almost 10 years ago. It may be that the anxiety of fighting real wars has left the country momentarily without an appetite for war as spectacle. (Then again, “The Pacific” seems to be doing okay for HBO.) Exit question: When will we finally get a pro-war movie about Iraq so that we have a standard of comparison? Over/under is 2020.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

I’m thinking of a movie…

It is a documentary style flick with the hand held camera and voice over to walk the watcher through.

… It is a tale of how the Left, the Democrats, and the Main Stream Media turned the Iraq war into a “Political Fight”, that ended up giving aid and comfort to our enemies, the treasonous release of classified information, and endless clips of politicians who were ‘FOR’ regime change in Iraq when Bill Clinton was in office, but changed to giving our enemies endless propoganda victories just to try to defeat George W. Bush.

All names will be factual, and it will use their own words and press articles as fact and the damage that the Left, the Democrats, and the Main Stream Media has done to this country will be documented for all to see…

Now THAT would make some money!

Seven Percent Solution on March 15, 2010 at 8:45 PM

You know its interesting that anti-American Hollywood films don’t seem to do well overseas either.

sharrukin on March 15, 2010 at 8:45 PM

CBS Films bought the rights to Vince Flynn’s novels…

Interesting, had not heard that.

I’m a bit skeptical, seeing how they murdered a couple of Clancy’s novels, with Ben Afflek(?) as the final insult. I actually liked Alec Baldwin in Red October.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Ted Bell’s “Hawke” series out there somewhere, done right.

reaganaut on March 15, 2010 at 8:46 PM

The way today’s military is treated by Hollywood is a damn shame because this is how they’ll be remembered. Kids will not look to history books but will look to films of the time period.

It’s about a year old but I think this article is right on.

MikeZero on March 15, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Interesting, had not heard that.

I’m a bit skeptical, seeing how they murdered a couple of Clancy’s novels, with Ben Afflek(?) as the final insult. I actually liked Alec Baldwin in Red October.

reaganaut on March 15, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Ugh… The Sum of All fears wasn’t even recogniseable. The Book was excellent…

Hell, that whole Movie series went south after Red October.

In Patriot Games, they completely omitted the Battle of the US Naval Academy, which was the coolest part of that book, and in Clear & Present Danger, they killed off Dan Murray in the first half… when he’s an important character for another half-dozen books to go.

Sum of All Fears… They kept the Name, and the fact that a bomb goes off at a football stadium. that’s it.

Jones Zemkophill on March 15, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Could someone explain Black Hawn Down to me? As a Canadian, I have to say that it made Americans look like complete idiots

Asked and answered. Only a typical antiAmerican Canadian moron would come away thinking the men in BHD were idiots. And, hey, here’s a thought, why don’t you get off your lazy America hating ass and read some history on the event?

kit9 on March 15, 2010 at 8:07 PM

I don’t hate America. In fact, I was objecting to Black Hawk Down because it made the soldiers look like idiots. I don’t understand what made them heroes. They made ridiculous decisions (not talking about orders either). They were portrayed as having no brains whatsoever. And it wasn’t ridiculous odds. It was suicide. A lot of which was unnecessary, at least from what was shown in the movie.

MrX on March 15, 2010 at 9:03 PM

The antiwar holdovers from the 60′s don’t understand that the american people are by an large supportive of the war effort.

kanda on March 15, 2010 at 9:05 PM

I generally don’t go to the movies, don’t want to give my dollars to a bunch of lefties I don’t like; did see “The Blindside” though.

Willie on March 15, 2010 at 9:08 PM

MrX on March 15, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Here’s your answer:

The ‘Blackhawk’ unit in question is the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. They are based, primarily, at Ft. Campbell, KY. There also 160th Blackhawks at Ft. Lewis, WA and 160th Chinooks at Hunter outside of Savannah, GA.

The 160th men are called Nightstalkers. This is because that is when they operate. At night. That is when we all want to operate, at night. The enemy we face generally does not have the night vision capabilities that we do. And what Blackhawk crews do is insert troops and supplies.

So why were they televised in broad daylight? That’s a decision that was made for them, so you, the viewing public, could be entertained by the heroic men sent to do battle by the heroic, righteous President.

Believe me, no one in theater made the decision to do daylight insertions… do I need to go on?

Doorgunner on March 15, 2010 at 9:13 PM

BTW, I’m talking real life, no the movie.

Doorgunner on March 15, 2010 at 9:14 PM

MrX on March 15, 2010 at 9:03 PM

As was said, read some history on the event, perhaps the book the movie is based on?

The soldiers did the best they could given the circumstances they were in.

You don’t understand what made them heroes? How about the sacrifice of Gary Gordon and Randall Shughart. I suppose what they did, knowing the odds and the situation wasn’t heroic? Of course you wouldn’t, you get your history from Hollywood.

Limp-wristed political support from the Clinton administration and nut-job ROE, not to mention the UN farking things up is what made the whole incident a circus.

catmman on March 15, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Over/under is 2020

.
I thought that was hindsight.

ronsfi on March 15, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Over/under is 2020

I thought that was hindsight.

ronsfi on March 15, 2010 at 9:20 PM

ISWYDT

pfamis on March 15, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Shmuger and Linde are smugly smiling all the way to the bank — they lost their jobs for a good cause, the monetary loss isn’t theirs, but some smarmy capitalists, and the severance packages they received probably include Cadillac healthcare for life.

unclesmrgol on March 15, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Marc Shmuger and David Linde: Funemployed.

BDavis on March 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Just read the TIME article regarding Green Zone, and I am afraid this is not the last anti-Iraq war flick we will see from Hollywood. Here’s a telling quote:

The real Matt Damon didn’t fare much better as the star of the new Green Zone: he went looking for the truth about Iraq’s WMDs, and got blown up by the IED of public indifference.

You see, its not Hollywood’s fault the movie bombed, its because of public indifference. Indifference about the lies, the deception, the civilian casualties, etc, etc, etc. Expect more films to come where Hollywood tell us again and again about their version of the truth.

Later they describe Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as ‘revisionist political fantasy disguised as gritty war reality.‘ which is exactly how I would describe Green Zone. They say IB was basically a revenge flick, where the Jews get get to go medieval on the ‘Gnatzies’. Its the same with Green Zone. The good guy finds out the one CIA neocon who set up the false pretext for the Iraq invasion, and then kicks his ass!

BohicaTwentyTwo on March 15, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people. Hopefully, really bad financial pain rains down on them.

jukin on March 15, 2010 at 9:48 PM

I don’t hate America. In fact, I was objecting to Black Hawk Down because it made the soldiers look like idiots. I don’t understand what made them heroes. They made ridiculous decisions (not talking about orders either). They were portrayed as having no brains whatsoever. And it wasn’t ridiculous odds. It was suicide. A lot of which was unnecessary, at least from what was shown in the movie.

MrX on March 15, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Well it wasn’t suicide. The point of the movie is to show how American troops were given a bad assignment, denied the firepower and mobility that is supposed to save lives– and still managed to rescue most of the team because they insisted on risking their lives to save others. It wasn’t suicide, since most of them lived. It was just heartbreakingly dangerous for all concerned.

BTW as a friendly aside– if you’re ever down here, don’t opine that men who died winning the Medal of Honor didn’t have any brains. You’re liable to lose teeth.

Chris_Balsz on March 15, 2010 at 10:06 PM

I’m still holding out hope that Lone Survivor will be made someday.

Hawkins1701 on March 15, 2010 at 10:09 PM

With the way things are these days, people are more inclined to want to enter into Wonderland to forget their troubles and less likely to want to watch Matt Damon once again making some bozobucket anti-America commentary while he blows up everything within arms reach into popcorn.

pilamaye on March 15, 2010 at 10:12 PM

but “The Hurt Locker” was reportedly agnostic about the war and struggled to sell tickets too

But I think a lot of people assumed, like I did, that the movie would by typical anti-US military. Why pay $10 to find that out? I’ll get it on DVD.

PattyJ on March 15, 2010 at 10:17 PM

In fairness to Greengrass, he directed United 93, which was a respectful treatment of 9/11.

The producers of The Hurt Locker would have been thrilled with Green Zone’s opening weekend numbers, considering the budget.

SWLiP on March 15, 2010 at 10:20 PM

less than a quarter of the $62 million amassed this weekend by the defending champ, Alice in Wonderland…

Apparently they picked the wrong insane fantasy story…

2ipa on March 15, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Gee, what a fu**ing shame.

Jaibones on March 15, 2010 at 10:59 PM

.. and in Clear & Present Danger, they killed off Dan Murray in the first half… when he’s an important character for another half-dozen books to go.
Jones Zemkophill on March 15, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Making Mr. Clark a merc was unforgivable.

Yakko77 on March 15, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Anyone know what douchebag Tom Hanks had to say on Dennis Miller’s show on the 10th? The interview was after Hanks had jumped the shark with his idiotic comments about WWII in Japan. Curious if Miller had the balls to point out that Hanks is stupid and wrong.

Jaibones on March 15, 2010 at 11:40 PM

jukin on March 15, 2010 at 9:48 PM

“Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people. Hopefully, really bad financial pain rains down on them.”

—————————————————-

I wish! They’ll make another animated-kiddie movie to fund their anti-American pogrom against America. It’s amazing that they lose money but still keep pumping out this crap.

They will never stop trying. They’re on ” a mission from GOD!”

LOL!

shorebird on March 15, 2010 at 11:41 PM

CBS Films bought the rights to Vince Flynn’s novels, we will have to wait and see if Mitch Rapp remains an American hero or turns into a lefty propagandist.
fourdeucer on March 15, 2010 at 7:47 PM
Mitch Rapp…. mmmm, mmmm, mmmm

Who should play him?

conservative pilgrim on March 15, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Russell Crowe!

Domino on March 16, 2010 at 12:31 AM

That article gives me a case of the glads. Always nice to see people lose their jobs after they lay down such a steamin three-coiler.

Congrats Americans for consistently rejecting these turds.

azkag on March 16, 2010 at 12:43 AM

Maybe the public simply doesn’t want to see an Iraq movie yet.

This.

Unless its unabashedly pro-American, which 1) would never happen because 2) there aren’t any actors left in Hollywood that could pull off that level of dishonesty without seeming patronizing and ironic. There’s a few (e.g. Gary Sinise) that wouldn’t be lying and could actually cut a believable pro-troops, pro-American heroic figure, but they are exceedingly few.

spmat on March 16, 2010 at 12:59 AM

On Black Hawk Down – this was Les Aspin\’s benighted stint as SecDef. \’Nuff said. Those who can, do. Those who can\’t, gripe about it from a House committee seat. On Green Zone – maybe I should say up front that I\’ve always thought Robert Ludlum\’s books were crap and I\’ve never been able to stomach Ludlum\’s sixth-grade writing style long enough to finish one, that the movies made from them were worse, and that maybe there\’s a market for the Matt Damon sort of mouth-breather as action hero but I have never and will never pay to see it. So what you\’ve got here is a bunch of guys who got a script for what, to them, looked like Teh Truth. Maybe these folks aren\’t Oliver Stone, but they\’re still bent. And, fundamentally, they\’re a hammer who sees every problem as a nail – Jason Bourne paid for their last Falcon Jet, so Jason Bourne in an Army combat uniform will pay for something bigger so they don\’t have to be embarrassed when Oprah taxies up to the exec terminal. Or so the theory goes. Clank.

JEM on March 16, 2010 at 1:59 AM

The real Matt Damon didn’t fare much better as the star of the new Green Zone: he went looking for the truth about Iraq’s WMDs, and got blown up by the IED of public indifference.

This is how we know these people are stupid.

According to the UN/Kay report Iraq had no WMD after 1994.
If no WMD after 1994, then there were NO WMD circa 1995, 96, 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02 or 03.

If Bush was lying about Iraq’s WMD in 2002 then we have hundreds or more quotes from every Dem in office circa 1998 that Iraq HAD, as a mater of FACT WMD’s.
Everyone of them MUST also have been lying.

U.N.: Iraq had no WMD after 1994
By Bill Nichols, USA TODAY
UNITED NATIONS — A report from U.N. weapons inspectors to be released today says they now believe there were no weapons of mass destruction of any significance in Iraq after 1994, according to two U.N. diplomats who have seen the document.

The historical review of inspections in Iraq is the first outside study to confirm the recent conclusion by David Kay, the former U.S. chief inspector, that Iraq had no banned weapons before last year’s U.S-led invasion. It also goes further than prewar U.N. reports, which said no weapons had been found but noted that Iraq had not fully accounted for weapons it was known to have had at the end of the Gulf War in 1991.

The report, to be outlined to the U.N. Security Council as early as Friday, is based on information gathered over more than seven years of U.N. inspections in Iraq before the 2003 war, plus postwar findings discussed publicly by Kay.
Kay reported in October that his team found “dozens of WMD-related program activities” that Iraq was required to reveal to U.N. inspectors but did not. However, he said he found no actual WMDs.

DSchoen on March 16, 2010 at 2:11 AM

unsurprisingly, Allahpundit starts of well but winds up FOS when it comes to divining political winds.

Build a decent ‘war’ film that’s accurate and not full of lefist solipsisms posing as trenchant commentary and THEY WILL COME.

Liberals swore a religious film couldn’t be made, wouldn’t book. Then that otherwise a-hole Mel Gibson made Passion of the Christ, which netted $370M domestically, 12x its budget.

Saving Private Ryan was big in ’98, $216M, 3x budget. And ironically with Matt Damon. The Band of Brothers series was a huge success and seller. And RIGHT NOW, while Allahpundit prattles about (un)popularity of war films, the much anticipated follow-on series The Pacific is broaching. And even while Tom Hanks does his idiot-mouth best to destroy its audience, with asinine ignorant misstatements about what went on there. The motivations and causations there.

rayra on March 16, 2010 at 4:21 AM

Why would anyone pay to see Matt Damon insult our soldiers?

ace tomato on March 16, 2010 at 5:07 AM

Liberals don’t like war films, and patriotic folks don’t like anti-American movies. Seems like a lose-lose here.

Urban Infidel on March 16, 2010 at 6:31 AM

“It’s a bit of a disappointment,” said Nikki Rocco, president of distribution at the General Electric Co unit.

Does General Electric hate America that badly? Or do they just absolutely suck at all things “entertainment” (I’ll include MSNBC in the mix)?

pain train on March 16, 2010 at 8:35 AM

I won’t pay to watch Matt Damon insult our soldiers. Or Sean Penn. Or Tim Robbins. Or George Clooney. Ad infinitum.

adamsmith on March 16, 2010 at 9:14 AM

You have to wonder when the people who are actually paying for these turkeys (the studio’s offload the risk) will get sick of losing money. Or go bankrupt.

LarryD on March 16, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Corliss (Newsweek) tried to lump Team America and Hurt Locker in with this to moderate the impact, implying that the action film audience is full of effen r-words. A real stretch, and demonstrable of Corliss’s willful ignorance as to the individual details, showing that he thinks (or knows) that his own (usual) audience is full of effen r-words.

The story and the politics of this one’s star preceded it. Driving away half your audience up front is one factor here. Not only is it half the audience but it’s a segment that may include a core fan-base for good war films. They never count on the US market in any case with anti-US sludge like this, and other Damon vehicles. The guy can barely speak. So they are banking on overseas where inarticulate grunts in American action films have become a cinematic convention. Saves money on subtitles/dubbing. Early BO on this one out in the provinces though looks like they might not even make it back in ferrin sales. Depends on exchange rates,

Another factor may be that they bet the whole marketing campaign on “Matt Damon”. Not only can the guy not carry a $100 million movie by himself, but betting $100 million in promotion?! Six-foot posters with “Matt Damon” head shots in multiplex lobbies?! That could actually hurt sales…even in France. Won’t see the likes of that again. So. Got that goin’ for us.

curved space on March 16, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Hollywood continues to get burned by the belief that the rest of America thinks like they do. Since Alice is doing well, you would think the market for fantasy could handle another one.

pgrossjr on March 16, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I liked him better in Team America.

Matt Damon… MATT DAMON… MATT DAMON!!!!

Kuffar on March 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Why would anyone pay to see Matt Damon insult our soldiers?

ace tomato on March 16, 2010 at 5:07 AM

Clearly they won’t. The funny part is that they apparently cast douche-Damon in some misguided belief that his Bourne series makes him a watchable action star, generally.

He was fun to watch in Bourne, and well cast. But that was a Ludlum spy-action flick, not a war flick. Of course it was stupidly anti-American and should have been offensive, but it was easy to ignore that.

But outside of Bourne? Damon is despised, absolutely despised by everyone to the right of Mao. He is poison for a military role, and anyone who doesn’t know that is an idiot.

Jaibones on March 16, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Only one thing can save this movie now. Give Greengrass and Damon Nobel Peace Prizes and force schoolchildren to watch it in their American History classes, or risk getting a failing grade.

Left Coast Right Mind on March 16, 2010 at 10:45 AM

“The Hurt Locker” was reportedly agnostic about the war and struggled to sell tickets too.

The Hurt Locker had a limited theater release. After it gained popularity and won 6 Oscars, it’s DVD sales have soared.

Green Zone was way too sanctimonious and just really bad.

Cr4sh Dummy on March 16, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Hey Matt, No Box Office Money from me!

Irenaeus on March 16, 2010 at 2:38 PM

The military adviser for the flick insists that it aint anti-American. Uh…then why did it bomb?

Army Brat on March 16, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Matt Damon exposed himself multiple times as a tool of the first order. I wouldn’t go see any of his movies if they were actually paying ME to accept the ticket.

PJ Emeritus on March 16, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Comment pages: 1 2