In the last few years the media have placed more emphasis than ever on a new movie's opening weekend box office. If you are not #1 or at least made more money than predicted in your first three days in the theater than you are shamed and ridiculed as a failure.
I saw several articles online yesterday suggesting that the apparent #2 finish of the new movie Leatherheads, about the early days of professional football in America, might be some sort of backlash toward its writer/director/star George Clooney.
Here are a few sample comments from readers left on one of the Hollywood news sites, some edited for length and/or decency:
"I could never understand the 'Clooney is a movie star' assertion. Just saying it doesn’t make it so. Hollywood’s fawning over him is sickening. His smugness is unbelieveable. I cannot sit in a theater and watch him in a movie. His persona in films seems to be misogynist. When he held a press conference to rage against the press after Princess Diana’s death - My GOD! The guy’s arrogance is breathtaking. Who does he think he is? He’s a goddam TV actor. This is why Hollywood is so f***ed. When you’ve got TV actors thinking they are auteurs, we’re f***ed. This probably explains why his movies make no money. Why would the average Joe spend 10 bucks to see this arrogant actor when he may lose his job at the factory tomorrow? Sorry to rant, but Clooney has been bugging me for a while."
"The Ocean’s movies STUNK! George Clooney is a monotone, a talentless f***! And his political rants just reveal more about his lack of character and egotistical need for attention."
"George Clueless - please, you couldn’t pay me to go see one of his bombs. I can’t stand him, when I have, by accident, seen him try to act, it was stiff and uninspiring. When I see he is in a movie, I pass right by.
Hollywood just gets weaker by the day. I am not interested in their politics and views of the world. I just want to be entertained when I go to see a movie, not lectured to. I want to see actors who view their careers as acting and don’t pretend their wealth and limited education gives them credibility in science, economics, foreign affairs, etc."
"It’s always a delight to see the work of a self-annointed priest from the propaganda office of Hollywood, the left-wing Vatican, fail miserably."
"I’m sick of arrogance and Hollywood actors who deem to lecture me on the wisdom of their political beliefs. They are actors and they need to shut up and act. At one time Hollywood made timeless movies with great stars who were talented and larger than life. It’s gone now, and we’re left with vapid intelligence and arrogant actors lecturing those they consider the unwashed. Pathetic. I won’t see a George Clooney vehicle, ever. Box office is the only thing Hollywood gets."
"Clooney is ANOTHER of the undereducated/uneducated of Hollywood who try to tell the rest of us how we should think and live. These jerks forget that there are more folks in flyover country than there are in New York City or LA. WE determine who is going to be a box office draw and WE decide who won’t make it at the box office. It’s the sycophants in Hollywood who cannot say NO to a no-talent hack like Clooney."
"I’ve never seen Clooney in anything and I plan to keep it that way. For some reason, he just isn’t appealing, but I can’t comment on his acting. I abhor his personality so I will never see anything he is in. Hope this helps."
And on it goes for literally hundreds of posts. Do you think they're right when they suggest that Clooney's movies are being boycotted due to his crazy political views? If so, what about the eight movies he's been in that have grossed over 50 millions dollars in the United States? Or do we only boycott the ones we weren't going to see anyway?
Look, I didn't make it to Leatherheads because like millions of others in the target demo for this film, I had the NCAA Final Four Tournament to watch for seven hours yesterday! For other potential customers, maybe a sports film set in the 1930s isn't that appealing. Plus there have to be a lot of folks that very much dislike looking at Renee Zellweger's scrunchy face.
If you are among the boycotters, I totally back your right to make the statement with your wallet that you will not voluntarily support someone's art whose politics you disagree with. Please help me better understand your parameters though:
1) How much formal education is required before one's opinions are considered valid? And are there any people with multiple degrees who are just as wrong?
2) If an entertainer is equally outspoken politically ("in your face" came up a lot on the boards) but shares your views, is it also offensive?
3) Besides actors and singers, what other occupations do you stop patronizing if you know their views differ from your own? Do you switch dentists? Stop rooting for a sports team? Go to a different Starbucks?