Tonight is the Oscars award show (or, as David has called it, the gay Superbowl). Someone on CNN just commented that the movies nominated for Best Picture aren't exactly blockbusters and so their nomination is somehow surprising. That of course, assumes that the most popular movie is the most entertaining, which implies that the more loud explosions that an action film has makes it more likely to win Best Picture.
Personally, I'm rooting for Brokeback Mountain, though I hear Crash might be the dark horse to bet on for this year. But are these movies doing "poorly?" One of the highest-grossing movies for 2005 was Return of the Sith, which cost about $105 million to make, and grossed $380m during the first five months after its release. Assuming an average theater cost of $7, that's about 54 million people that saw the movie. (These are US-only numbers, and ignore DVD sales.) Now, 380 million bucks isn't chump change, but that gives the studio about 3.6 return on it's investment (ROI).
On the other hand, Brokeback has grossed $72m but only cost $14m to make, giving it a ROI of 5.1. Crash did even better, costing $6.5m to make, and grossing $55m so far, for a whopping ROI of 8.5. Capote and Good Night and Good Luck didn't do as well, and Munich might actually count as a flop, being $30m in the hole.
The Right is, predictably, pushing the meme that Brokeback is getting so much buzz becuase it's just another step in the Insidious Plot to Queerify America, another one of the their favorite memes.
But in popular culture, things are getting worse... This gay cowboy movie -- and it's going to win, you know, a lot of awards all over -- and their -- the media is pushing this like crazy... Why? Because they want to mainstream homosexual conduct. That's the goal.
-- Bill O'Reilly on The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly
So, I haven't -- going to see it. Gay cowboy doesn't interest me. I am going to go see King Kong. I suspect the people who make these kind of movies, though -- like gay cowboy -- would go to see a movie called 'The Gay Gorilla'. But that's the difference between Hollywood and mainstream.
-- William A. Donohue on MSNBC's Scarborough Country
Hollywood may, in fact, want to give every Oscar it can find to the first gay cowboy movie. But I think most people do not want to go into a darkened room with a tub of popcorn and munch away watching two guys get it on. I just don't.
-- John Gibson on FOX's The Big Story with John Gibson
No, I didn't see the film and I'm not at all surprised that out of seven [Golden Globe] nominations Brokeback walked away with four -- and some might say that's an indication of what the Oscar ceremonies might look like later on this year... I think what we're witnessing, Larry, is the homosexualizing of America.
-- Janet Parshall on CNN's Larry King Live
On its opening weekend, Brokeback had the highest per-showing average gross of any film ever. So it's pretty clear that someone, somewhere is actually out seeing movies like this one. It seems to me, for the reasons above, that making movies like this is also good business sense.
(See also: Conservatives quick to opine on Brokeback Mountain's "agenda," slow to actually see film, over at Media Matters, which is where most of those quotes came from.)