PWNEDback Mountain

Tbogg links to a typically giggle-inducing Jason Apuzzo blog post, which inevitably digresses into discussions of “Star Wars” and “Cinderella Man.” And “Cinderella Man” revisionism is pretty easy to come by. Here’s Myrna Blyth complaining about its Academy dissage.

“Cinderella Man” didn’t make much money, and I suppose it’s considered a flop. But none of the other movies nominated for the Oscar have made much money, and everyone in Hollywood seems to be congratulating the producers and directors for making them.

Let’s do this quickly.

“Brokeback Mountain”
Cost: $14 million
Gross: $75.6 million

“Cinderella Man”
Cost: $88 million
Gross: $61.7 million

The “gay cowboy movie” starring the guy from “A Knight’s Tale” and the guy from “Jarhead” has been seen and embraced by more Americans than the boxing movie starring two Oscar winners (Crowe and Zellweger). This “Hollywood is thumbing its big Jewey nose at middle America” guff has got to stop.

5 thoughts on “PWNEDback Mountain

  1. Hmm…But the Best Picture nominees (and wannabe nominees that were released in the hype-zone before the noms were out)benefited from a big boost from being considered in the running.
    Cinderella Man was released too early for that.
    The Gay Cowpoke flick wouldn’t have made half of its still rather average Box Office if it had come out (pardon the pun) in Cinderella Man’s slot back in June. I’ve read countless blogs, forums etc where people say they are trying to see some of the BP nominees before Oscar Night. So it does make a big difference.
    Considering the daft time CM was put out into theatres I think it did quite well. Given that it had no Oscar/Sag/Globe bandwagon to ride on and none.
    Having said that it has done really well on DVD….and that is probably going to be the future for films that are made for an older target audience. Its high time that the figures started to take that more into account. In a sense the accepted statistics are lagging behind what is happening in the market-place.
    Furthermore….be very wary of the figures quoted as the cost of making a movie. There are Lies, damned lies, and Production costs.

  2. Anonymous – You make an interesting argument, but “Cinderella Man” has one of the most wide-open summers in memory to make its money, and it didn’t. “Saving Private Ryan,” a 3-hour drama, was released in July 1998 and made $217 million off a $70 million budget. “The Notebook,” a traditional romance movie, was released in June 2004 and made $81 million off a $29 million budget. Even the poorly-reviewed “The Terminal” made more money than “Cinderella Man” ($78 million) after its June 2004 release. My point is that it was a good-not-great drama that was received tepidly by audiences, and that conservative critics who use it as an example of “what Hollywood is ignoring at the Oscars” should remember that Joe Ticket-buyer ignored it first.

    Oh, and your statement that “Brokeback” “wouldn’t have made half” of its gross without the Oscar noms is untrue. It made $52 million before the nominations were announced and only $24 million since. BM was a cultural phenomenon before the Oscar race. And I think there’s little question that “Brokeback,” even if it loses the Oscar in an upset, is going to remain a cultural touchstone. “Cinderella Man” is just another boxing movie.

    Side note: I’m not sure what the “culture war” crowd doesn’t recognize “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” more often. It was a sleeper hit with strong Christian themes and messages that made more money than “Cinderella Man” and almost as much as “Brokeback.”

  3. “BM was a cultural phenomenon before the Oscar race. And I think there’s little question that “Brokeback,” even if it loses the Oscar in an upset, is going to remain a cultural touchstone.”

    True. Why do you think that is?

    I read the story; didn’t see the movie. But it’s pretty obvious that BM is more than just a chick flick, and I’d be interested to hear some intelligent commentary on What It All Means.

  4. Diana – It’s late, so I may not be indulgent with the intelligent commentary, but in short …

    “Brokeback Mountain” is the first mainstream movie wherein gay characters are not either flamers, psychopaths, or dying of AIDS. (Here’s a comprehensive list.) It’s also the first, to my knowledge, to put two marketable, young male actors in a gay sex scene. This stuff was unthinkable 20, even 10 years ago. While it lost the Oscar, it was an $80 million hit at the box office. It is a watershed moment for Hollywood and gay themes.

    All that aside, I think it is an incredibly powerful meditation on isolation and unwilling self-denial. There have been movies along these lines before, most notably David Lean’s “Brief Encounter.” But “Brokeback Mountain” is the movie that everybody’s going to think of from now on when people discuss secret, especially closeted, love affairs. And for a long while it’s going to be the lodestone for gay jokes. (Look at all the political cartoonists who make “Brokeback” jokes.)

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