Benghazi Propaganda Film Fails
January 18, 2016

The Benghazi movie 13 Hours was supposed to help bring Hillary Clinton down, but that mission's not accomplished:

Landing in fourth position [on the box-office charts] is another one of the weekend's new wide releases, Michael Bay's 13 Hours, which tallied an estimated $16 million for the three-day weekend with Paramount estimating $19 million for the four-day. This is Bay's first film to gross less than $20 million in its first three days since The Island back in 2005. Budgeted at $50 million, it should push to end up grossing somewhere right around $45-50 million for its domestic run, perhaps lower than the $49.8 million Pain and Gain brought in back in 2013.

So it's Michael Bay's worst-opening movie in a decade, and it may not even make its budget back. Oops.

Scott Mendelson of Forbes thought it might do a lot better. I did, too:

... when I referred to 13 Hours as a would-be “next American Sniper,” when the first trailer dropped last July, it was merely on the notion that the film might capitalize from the unexpected popularity of the Clint Eastwood action drama, in a sense playing to at least a decent chunk of the audience that turned that Bradley Cooper film into a $350 million sensation.... I still find it a little surprising that this Michael Bay-directed opus will end up being the least successful of the recent spate of early year military action movies.

But as Mendelson notes, the moviegoers who flocked to American Sniper and another hit, Lone Survivor) apparently included people who just wanted to go to an action movie -- not angry right-wingers exclusively. Mendelson thinks the marketing of 13 Hours as a political film may have alienated the apolitical action-film audience:

... it’s quite possible that the distinctly partisan nature of the narrative surrounding the Benghazi attacks basically scared off everyone except the would-be “loyalists.” Say what you will about how certain demographics reacted to American Sniper and Lone Survivor, but Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. and Universal/Comcast Corp. were able to make the sell as apolitical military action-ers with big movie stars and mainstream aspirations.

By contrast, 13 Hours was being sold as a Hillary Clinton hatefest, with Donald Trump giving away tickets to a screening in Iowa, while another screening at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, attracted quite a few anti-Hillary attendees, as we learned from Gawker's Christopher Hooks, who was in attendance:

Certainly, the people who’d come to the stadium because they didn’t like Clinton felt fired up after seeing it. “She’s a piece of shit,” said one man who declined to give his name and didn’t make eye contact. “But I already knew she’s a piece of shit.”

“I hope it defeats Hillary,” said another, Don Lochran. “They covered the whole thing up.” It was Lochran who then suggested bombing them all.

Others were less sanguine. “Oh yeah. I’d shoot Hillary Clinton in the fuckin’ head. I don’t like the bitch at all,” said Len Toomey, who identified himself as a veteran of Desert Storm and Somalia. He’d seen the movie with some VFW friends. “Choke her. She should be in the pisser and I should be pissin’ on her every night.”

Hillary Clinton told Jake Tapper that she's too busy campaigning to see the movie, an assertion that infuriates conservatives. Apparently, a lot of other Americans are too busy to see it, too.

(Mendelson link via Billmon.)

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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