Rob Reiner has brought us iconic films like The Princess Bride, Misery, and A Few Good Men. Those movies, however, were made a long time ago.
As he has gotten older, Reiner and his films have gotten more liberally political. Not surprisingly, those films all failed to do well at the box office. His latest movie, an attack on former President George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and the War on Terror, may have just registered as “rock bottom” for Reiner’s career.
The film, Shock and Awe, makes heroes out of the reporters covering the Iraq War, who questioned the “weapons of mass destruction” used to justify the attack on Saddam Hussein’s regime. Anti-war activists and the media contend the weapons never existed, and the Bush administration lied to start the war. However, some military experts say Hussein did have a weapons program in place, and believe the chemical weapons being used by Islamic militants in the region, including Syria, may have come from this program.
For Rob Reiner, however, the film is his attempt to rewrite history and make villains out of the Bush administration. It also boasts an all-star cast of Hollywood actors, all of whom have been critical of Republicans from George Bush to Donald Trump. That includes Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Biel, and Milla Jovovich.
There was one problem with the film, however: it was terrible. Even liberal critics from Rolling Stone and CNN called it heavy-handed and boring. Reiner, so intent on making a film destroying President Bush’s efforts and serving as a warning for President Trump, created a film that was preachy and pretentious.
The film also managed to attack reporters that supported the Bush administration and the lead-up to war, singling out Pulitzer Prize-winner Judith Miller of The New York Times, who now appears on Fox News.
Reiner must have realized he had a dud of a film, especially when no major movie distributor would release the film, despite all the star power involved. In fact, Reiner did little promotion for the film at all, giving only a handful of interviews to sympathetic website like the Huffington Post.
Reiner didn’t even tweet about the film on its release last weekend. While he tweets insults about President Trump every day, the last time he even mentioned the film was back in May.
Just previewed the trailer for my new film Shock And Awe which focuses on the struggle of the free press to push the truth out and uncover an administration’s lies. The film premieres on Direct TV on June 14. In theaters July13. https://t.co/Hg5VGyndYk
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) May 18, 2018
The movie was considered dead on arrival according to industry experts, as the film’s distributor Vertical Entertainment only put it in 100 theaters, while larger films like a Marvel movie open in over 3,000. It was also available to watch On Demand through cable and satellite, a sign the film doesn’t have enough appeal to play in theaters.
Even with a limited release, movies like this can still make money, and often earn more money on a per screen average than larger releases. But that was not the case for Shock and Awe.
The film only grossed $41,000 from 100 screens. For an entire weekend. By contrast, the new Ant-Man movie made $30 million this weekend alone – and it has already been in theaters a week. One tweet put those numbers in perspective.
*SHOCK AND AWE*
$41,000 divided by 100 theaters = $410.00 per theater.
$410 divided by $14/ticket = 29 tickets sold per theater.
29 tickets divided by 3 days = 10 tickets per theater per day.
10 tickets divided by 2 showings per day = 5 tickets per showing.https://t.co/TYQdbzsDly
— Ira Goldman 🦆🦆🦆 (@KDbyProxy) July 15, 2018
Here’s the trailer for the film, which makes it clear just how biased the treatment of the subject matter will be.
Reiner has had a bad streak of films flopping at the box office. In fact, his last hit was over a decade ago, with The Bucket List.
And still, Rob Reiner will still get finanacing to make his movies. Not because they are successful, but because of his politics.
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