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The Sequel Should Be Directed By Trey Gowdy

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13hours

It’s kind of reassuring to be reminded that you can go broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

Hopefully this will make it difficult for Bay to get financing for his forthcoming project about Obama’s birth in a Kenyan hospital.

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  • N__B

    I’m not reassured. If this movie had a semi-clothed young woman prominently displayed, the take would have been doubled.

    Hell, if its ads had a semi-clothed young woman prominently displayed, the take would have been doubled.

  • ajay

    It’s being heavily advertised in London, which is weird. Lots of posters around.

    • R. Johnston

      Given how heavily it’s being advertised in the U.S., this bit of pulp fiction hasn’t broken even with it’s advertising budget yet. Whenever you see a figure for how much money this movie lost you’re going to have to add many millions to the number to come to an honest figure.

      • KadeKo

        Do Londoners know how much BS is in this movie? Does it matter to them? I really couldn’t say my vantage in the USA.

        Also aren’t typical movie ad budgets heavily front-loaded anyway as part of the effort to get people to the theater in the first week or two?

        I mean, there are very few “word of mouth” movies and hell knows this isn’t one. The dropoff from first weekend to second to third is depressing when one looks at any movie and wonders, “Will I want to watch this in four years on a BluRay intact, or on TNT edited for content and to run in the allotted time?”

        But advertising is not the place one tries to pinch pennies with getting an expensive movie into the black. So if they’re throwing good money after bad, hahaha.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          This movie has all the hallmarks of “direct to Betamax”.

          • KadeKo

            Oh, I wish it were that good. I’m thinking more like this.

        • ajay

          Do Londoners know how much BS is in this movie? Does it matter to them?

          I would be willing to bet that most Londoners have no idea what it’s about. As in, never heard of the embassy attack, or have forgotten hearing about it.

    • CrunchyFrog

      England and Australia both have a large infestation of wingnuts, so both are targets of this kind of crap. Basically, “IF English-speaking AND infested by Murdoch media THEN there will be many wingnuts.”

      • ajay

        See above. I really doubt that there is a big population of people in the UK, even on the UK right wing, that give a damn about Benghazi. True, the word “Benghazi” has been mentioned 58 times in the Murdoch Times over the last year, but the mentions have either been in a different context – for example, talking about refugees leaving there, or fighting there or whatever – or have been news items about the US congressional investigation. The embassy attacks aren’t really something that people care about very much here.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I think you are correct. But this movie was funded as a propaganda device, not with the primary intent to be profitable, so even if they lose money they’ll still promote it.

  • random

    So disappointed in Jim from the Office….

    • Joshua

      He looks great though. I’d do this movie if I got the workout regimen he did.

      • Craigo

        Relatedly, he’s been a finalist for Captain America, Peter Quill, AND Ant-Man. This role seems like cold comfort, even if he proved he could have looked the parts.

        • N__B

          I think he’s got ElasricMan wrapped up.

  • witlesschum

    I’m perhaps a bit behind on my Hollywood economics but is “only $19 million in the first weekend” actually bad for something that I’d think appears to be generic action movie to the non-political junkies of the world?

    Noting that Fox News is being hackish about the movie is, of course, fair play.

    • joe from Lowell

      By way of perspective, its budget was $50 million.

      • Craigo

        Not counting the publicity budget, and the fact that the studio generally pulls in 50 cents on the dollar from North American box office…

    • Cassiodorus

      Taken 3 had the same pull over MLK weekend last year and had a similar production budget. Taken 3 barely made back the cost of production in domestic box office. Also, it was Taken 3’s second week versus 13 Hours first, suggesting the ceiling for 13 Hours is way lower.

    • Ken

      Last year’s roughly-equivalent movie, American Sniper, opened with $107 million.

      Other MLK weekend action openers: Cloverfield at $46 million, The Green Hornet at $40 million, Black Hawk Down at $33 million. Oh, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop at $39 million.

      (All from Box Office Mojo.)

      • Malaclypse

        The practice of choosing MLK Day weekend to open war movies is genuinely obscene.

        • Zoltar the Magniloquent

          The practice of choosing MLK Day weekend to open war movies is genuinely obscene.

          Especially the conspicuous gore of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I’m still broken up from that scene where Sally from the Cinnabon store bleeds out after the IED.

    • Halloween Jack

      I think that The Force Awakens may have made more than that during its first showing.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Maybe they should have named it Benghazi: The Farce Awakens.

    • Area Man

      The film will need to gross roughly $100 million to break even. There is typically a sharp drop-off in sales after the opening weekend, unless the film is a sleeper hit, and this isn’t going to be one. It will almost certainly be unprofitable.

      • kayden

        Wowzers! Then it will not break even which is good. It’s a propaganda film trying to exploit the Benghazi!!!! hysteria generated by Fox News.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    The box office performances of this film, WON’T BACK DOWN, and AN AMERICAN CAROL really do give me hope for our culture.

    • Ken

      Its opening weekend did beat the combined lifetime gross of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy. So more good news for our culture.

      • joe from Lowell

        I will go to my grave still laughing at this.

        If I am damned to haunt the earth forever, I will become known as “the laughing ghost,” because of…

        My take? (Drum roll please…)

        Perhaps the greatest movie ever made.

        I put it up there with Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler’s List.

        • witlesschum

          Don’t I remember that guy constantly trolling Reason’s blog from the right?

          And, honestly, if you think a Spielberg movie is the greatest of all time and it’s not Raiders of the Lost Ark, you are just bad at things.

          • joe from Lowell

            Yup, same guy.

          • wjts

            I would also accept Jaws.

    • Halloween Jack

      Plus that the rightwing movies that did do big box office, like The Passion of the Christ and American Sniper, by their very nature can’t have sequels. (Although Mel Gibson may be desperate enough by now to try to get funding for Passion II: Christ Harder.)

      • Warren Terra

        I’m pretty sure a lot of the Passion Of The Christ superfans are eagerly looking forward to the sequel. Indeed, their whole worldview is built around anticipating the sequel.

        Okay, maybe not the sequel as a movie. Doesn’t change the fact that they spend most of their time awaiting the sequel.

      • kayden

        I wouldn’t describe The Passion of the Christ as a rightwing movie. My family and I could hardly be called Rightwingers and we watched it (although one watching is more than enough given all of the violence). There are millions of people who love Biblical movies based on their religious background. I wouldn’t put them all into the Rightwing/Conservative arena.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Oh, it definitely was hard right wing. There are many interpretations of the biblical description of those events, and Gibson deliberately chose those from the furthest right – including adding things in that weren’t in any of the original gospels but were theorized later.

        • Warren Terra

          Is it okay to call it a viciously antisemitic movie, replete with stereotypes and even prosthetic noses the Nazis would instantly recognize?

        • Halloween Jack

          Your family notwithstanding (because one swallow doth not a summer make), “Biblical movies” covers a huge amount of turf, from Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell to The Last Temptation of Christ to recent efforts starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Mel Gibson’s worldview is strongly influenced by his “traditional” (read: reactionary) flavor of Catholicism that basically involves studiously ignoring Vatican II, and it shows in the movie.

          • CrunchyFrog

            Mel Gibson’s right wing Catholicism is from the wing that HATES it when people actually quote from the Catholic Catechism – which is the detailed guide for personal actions and behavior – because it’s so damn liberal. There basically the same people as the hard right fundies, but ended up in the Catholic church instead of one of the fundie churches – usually by accident of birth. They prefer their Jesus to be the one of the hard core quotes like “I came not to bring peace but to bring a sword”.

            There is a widely held, but not universal, theory in bible study of a Q document that is the source (Q = quelle, German for source) of the Jesus quotes. The idea is that this document was available to the authors of the gospels, and that they picked and chose the various quotes, sometimes putting them in different parts of the story. There is another theory, less widely held but still prominent, that Q was actually two documents. One contained the golden rule type of quotes – the stuff we liberals like to quote such as the sermon on the mount. It was a general set of “how everyone should get along” kind of philosophies. The other was a set of activist quotes more related to how to rebel against the current regime. The people who advocate for this theory point to different wording styles for the two types of quotes in the earliest texts, and they’ve delineated which quotes belong to each distinct group.

            Interestingly, the quotes in the first theorized document are favored by the liberal Christians, and the quotes in the second are favored by the conservative Christians. Gibson is strongly in the latter group. And his movie showed that, picking and choosing pieces of the story that emphasized that viewpoint, and glossing over the first type except a few choice bits to show how good Jesus was.

            And yes, there was a lot of anti-semitism in his movie – one of the common reactions of viewers was to come away hating Jews. Gibson is well known for his views on the topic, so this wasn’t a surprise.

    • FMguru

      It shows me that the cultural footprint of the right wing machine machine that has been spinning since the early 1990s (Drudge, Coulter, O’Reilly, FoxNews, Limbaugh, etc) has really shrunk since its heyday. It really is just a dwindling crowd of old white people in certain geographic regions. The larger culture has moved on (and not a moment too soon).

    • Scott Lemieux

      WON’T BACK DOWN

      Opened in 2500 theaters. Was 300K away from not cracking a Top 10 whose top 5 included Hotel Transylvania and three flops in their second week of release. That was awesome.

    • Morse Code for J

      I feel pretty confident that this deal came together because it was guaranteed by someone who would happily spend $50M reducing Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning by a fraction of a percent. Citizens United was about a more explicitly anti-Hillary movie, after all.

  • Todd

    Only his second box office flop as a director (“The Island”). Thankfully, “Transformers 5” is already in pre-production.

    • Ken

      Why anyone thought The Clonus Horror needed a remake….

    • kayden

      The Island wasn’t too bad of a movie. It was okay in my opinion. Kind of predictable though.

    • wengler

      I liked The Island. I even listened to the director’s commentary where Michael Bay talks a long time about how much he likes to shoot commercials.

      That was when I finally understood Michael Bay.

  • Crusty

    Jim from the office was on Bill Maher’s show talking about it this past Friday and it didn’t sound quite as awful as I expected.

    • ColBatGuano

      The actors are making a concerted effort to avoid taking about the “stand down” portion of the movie in interviews.

  • ChrisS

    Wow, I know folks gotta eat and all, but the Salon website is chock full of pop-up video ads. I’ll never visit again. It’s almost as bad as ESPN.

    • twbb

      At least the ads are slightly less annoying than most Salon stories.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I’ve disabled flash in my Chrome browser. Stops the ads as well as the auto-running of a TV story when all you want is to read the text, but you have to click to selectively re-enable flash when you want to see a particular video.

    • koolhand21

      Yes. I wish posters here would warn us of Salon links.

  • Murc

    I went and saw this. I ordinarily wouldn’t have, but I read the book and enjoyed it. (The book is non-fiction. The movie is not.)

    And it was awful, but it was awful in completely different ways than I thought it would be. It’s… well, it’s a Michael Bay action joint, is what it is. I believe him when he says it’s non-political, or at least I believe that he believes it. (All art is political. You’d think a high-flying director would know that.) The “manly men-men soldier men are GOIN’ ROGUE and not obeying the orders of them cowardly bureaucrats to do what needs to be done” is a trope that’s been in use since the first guy looked at a camera and realized “hey… I can make a movie about WAR” and it is executed in an entirely generic way.

    Or to put it another way; if Benghazi had happened under President John Rambo and Secretary of State Dirty Harry, I fully believe Michael Bay would have made the precise same movie he did in precisely the same way, no differences.

    It’s still dogshit. But it isn’t a hit job.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yes, all kidding aside I assume the movie is horrible not because it’s a political hit job but because Michael Bay is a horrible director. I just find both the marketing to wingers and the fact that various wingers seem to be reading their own BENGHAZI narratives into it amusing.

      • The Temporary Name

        American Sniper was a political hit job in a way, in just assuming the framing of the Iraq conflict as a given. That was odd, given that dealing with the political reality of the conflict in a clearer way would have made Kyle more of a tragic figure. I enjoyed it though.

      • ColBatGuano

        Yes, their ability to conflate Bay’s version of the on-site CIA guy with Clinton and Obama and thus prove that they let those “heroes” die is quite funny.

  • TribalistMeathead

    Hulu was running ads for it recently, and nearly all of the positive quotes from reviews were from Hugh Hewitt or the Weekly Standard.

  • Ronan

    No, once again it is Michael bay you are underestimating

    http://www.vox.com/2016/1/19/10777428/michael-bay-movies-defense-auteur

    • NonyNony

      Clicked the link, looked at the byline, closed the tab.

      Life is far too short to read “hot takes” from Megan McArdle’s husband.

      • Ronan

        This is pure ad homenin. Time to update your priors like a true Michael Bayesian

        • Rob in CT

          Suderman does suck, though, IMO. That marriage really is a good match.

          • Halloween Jack

            They really and truly deserve each other.

        • ajay

          Ad hominin: the fallacy of trying to have a rational conversation with an Australopithecus.

        • NonyNony

          I’ve read Suderman’s body of work and it sucks.

          Using past performance to gauge whether future work is going to be a waste of my time is just good time management. Anything written in the past by Peter Suderman has been worthless garbage that has been a waste of time to read. Therefore I’ve cut my losses and don’t bother with him anymore.

      • Malaclypse

        Awesome that Young Ezra is giving Suderman a platform.

        • Warren Terra

          Yeah, I have a soft spot for Ezra, and even for Yglesias, and their venture, and so I clicked to that story from Vox’s front page yesterday, not realizing the byline. The article lives down to expectations.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Ezra and Matt are both big Bay fans too.

            • dl

              it’s just so they can discuss something with their working class friends who don’t like NFL.

              (ducks).

          • I was reading an article from Ezra just the other day where he listed Megan McArdle as a “must read” writer on policy. I really don’t think he is capable of exercising judgment about the writing of people he’s friends with personally.

            • brettvk

              This is true, they’re a mini-tribe and very loyal to each other. Too bad they expect the rest of us to watch and admire.

    • witlesschum

      The piece makes some good points, which have been the consensus on Bay at places like the AV Club for years and years.

      He’s absolutely one of the purest auteur directors working. But that’s a value-neutral judgement. I mean, the guy who make The Room seems like his films would be pretty recognizable, too. Bay’s got a style that’s his, though. No denying that.

      Not sure how McArdle’s husband got paid by Vox to regurgitate conventional wisdom about Michael Bay, but maybe evoking “How did he/she get that job?” is the couple’s trademark, easily recognizable style?

      • TribalistMeathead

        He’s absolutely one of the purest auteur directors working. But that’s a value-neutral judgement. I mean, the guy who make The Room seems like his films would be pretty recognizable, too. Bay’s got a style that’s his, though. No denying that.

        Exactly. The Shaggs have a unique and recognizable style, but I’d still rather listen to two cats fuck than one of their albums.

        • Barry Freed

          Even if one of the cats is my pal Foot Foot?

        • The Temporary Name

          Exactly. The Shaggs have a unique and recognizable style, but I’d still rather listen to two cats fuck than one of their albums.

          I’m sick of the hatred for dance music around here.

      • Ken

        The definitive word on Michael Bay as auteur.

      • Ronan

        Michael bay is to cinema what glory holes are to public toilets. And I mean that mostly in a positive way

    • keta

      The penultimate graph:

      That’s the real promise of Bay’s movies: that regardless of anything else, they will be awesome, and every frame will be packed with awesome things: awesome robots, awesome cars, awesome chases, awesome explosions.

      Yep, that’s fucking awesome, man. If you’re seven years old.

      • Ktotwf

        ::must be 7 years old::

  • Ktotwf

    Did Michael Bay learn how to create a coherent action sequence? ‘Cause I may actually Netflix this then.

    • ColBatGuano

      Yeah, I love a good (or even not so good) action movie, but Bay’s direction makes his movies incomprehensible.

  • royko

    Me and all my friends and my friends’ friends were all ready to storm the multiplex this weekend and see this movie, but then Obama called and ordered us to STAND DOWN.

    We were ready to hit submit on the Flixster order. We were one click away. And he made us STAND DOWN.

  • Thanks to T. Olszewski, when I see Bay’s name, I automatically think “Is a fucking tool.”

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