The Stranger | Slog | Lies, Damn Lies, and the Religious Right’s Statistics

February 17th, 2009 by Barry Caplan | Tags: none

Dan Savage writes abuot politicizing of film financials in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere: Lies, Damn Lies, and the Religious Right’s Statistics.

I hadn’t heard of City of Ember or Fly Me to the Moon until I read about their amazing box office returns in “Houses of Worship.” It’s weird for films that pull in more than $70 million to escape my notice. But I did hear about An American Carol, a limp and unfunny conservative “send-up/take-down” of Michael Moore. And what I’d heard was this: it was an embarrassing flop. So I looked up the domestic box office figures for all four films:

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull cost $185 million to produce and took in $317,101,119.
Fly Me to the Moon cost $25 million to produce and took in $12,857,206.
City of Ember cost $55 million to produce and took in $7,873,007.
An American Carol cost $20 million to produce and took in just $7,013,191.

So, yeah, these four films together averaged—by my calculations—something like $84 million dollars at the domestic box office. But why on earth would you group these four films together? Two of the three films lost money; Fly Me to the Moon barely turned a profit when its foreign take is included. But An American Carol and City of Ember lost more than $50 million between them.

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