Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Never underestimate the patriotism of Republicans
Remember on Friday when I talked about Marvel's "possible miscalculation" in releasing Captain America on Comic-Con weekend? Like the opening weekend of the movie could depend on the money the geeks would not be spending on the movie, because they'd be otherwise occupied?
Yeah, so much for that.
I was mostly just making a humorous observation, but my basic thesis was something I believed in: that the movie would need all the help it could get.
But there were plenty of others out there who were more than willing to provide that help.
While I assumed that many people shared my "eh, so what" attitude toward the movie, I wasn't considering the number of other people who love any opportunity to celebrate the role of America as a force for international justice. I'm speaking of Republicans here.
Captain America made $65 million on its opening weekend, making it seem awfully likely to end up as a hit. That's got to be the biggest non-sequel opening in, like, forever. That $65 million knocked record-setting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 out of the #1 spot at the U.S. box office in only its second weekend. In fact, it beat Potter by a whole $17 million. (Wow, I'm really out of it. I just looked and saw that Green Lantern made $70 million in its opening weekend before tailing off. But I think my point still stands.)
While on the one hand I am happy for Captain America, on the other hand I am a bit scared by that "silent majority" out there that turned out to see a metaphor for America kicking ass. These are the people who usually turn their noses up at the movies I'm looking forward to. These are the people who are giving the Republican party confidence as it tries to derail our economy.
I'm not saying you had to be a conservative flag-waver to buy a ticket to Captain America this weekend. But I do think there wasn't much buzz about this movie among my friends, who I consider to be a representative sample of moderately liberal movie lovers out there. Captain America seemed like the umpteenth movie in an absolute binge of superhero movies, a trend I have hoped is kind of petering out, lest it makes a total mockery of itself.
But not for this "silent majority," whose display of support for Captain America scares me the way many people were scared when they watched the awesome display of machine-like synchronicity demonstrated by the Chinese during the opening ceremony for the 2008 summer Olympics. Republicans don't get together to support a movie very often, but when they do, the results can be staggering. Remember The Passion of the Christ?
Well, here's hoping I just misinterpreted the level of excitement that existed about this movie. Because if this many Americans want a human personification of America's most arrogant philosophies about its role on the world stage, then Barack Obama's going to have to watch his back the end of next year.
I'm sure that's not what Captain America is really about -- it would have to be more sly, subtle and liberal-minded than that, wouldn't it? If only because Hollywood is liberal, and most products that come out of it represent that mindset to some degree.
But the people who paid the money didn't care what it was about, probably -- they just liked the idea of a bio-engineered super-soldier running through the battlefield with an American flag emblazoned on his chest.
And I guess there will always be people like that. I'm just glad I don't know too many of them.