Will Heartland audiences make 'No Safe Spaces,' 'Richard Jewell' box office hits? Here's why that matters.
Visit any conservative’s social media page and you’ll see variations of the same theme.
Or complaint, to be more accurate.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Isn’t it funny how you NEVER hear of them just making a payment of 70% of their net worth? We don’t care what Hollywood Liberals think. They’re not the ones who voted @POTUS into office…..WE ARE! Let em cry. https://t.co/Wa1Rk1zA31
— Bill O’Neill (@Elginet) December 3, 2019
— Conservative Tribune (@conserv_tribune) December 7, 2019
— Dianna Burba (@DiannaBurba) December 11, 2019
Many conservatives bemoan how Hollywood hijacks stories to push their progressive ideals or, more maddeningly, ignore right-leaning angles. It’s a cliche based in cold stone truth. Most artists lean left, and they often create stories that reflect those sentiments.
It’s why we’re seeing a third movie about Fox News founder Roger Ailes’ downfall and nothing about alleged sexual predators at NBC and CBS.
They have every right to do so, and many of those stories prove wildly entertaining. It’s the Hollywood status quo, and it won’t change anytime soon.
The Culture Wars rage on, and conservatives are losing the fight.
Still, the industry occasionally produces fare that appeals to right-of-center souls. Consider “Gosnell,” the 2018 film about a Philadelphia abortionist whose office doubled as a house of horrors.
Or the recent “Little Pink House,” a true tale tied to core Libertarian beliefs.
Both films proved well worth your time, regardless of one’s ideology. Each hit only a smattering of theaters, though. They lacked the kind of big studio muscle, from marketing to budgetary considerations, to make them break out.
This week, conservatives have two superlative ways to send a strong message to Hollywood.
“No Safe Spaces” isn’t a big-budget proposition, but it boasts two stars with serious pop culture firepower. The docudrama, featuring Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager, reveals how free speech is under serial assault on college campuses nationwide – and beyond.
The film hit theaters last month but recently expanded its run to 200 screens nationwide.
That’s still a far cry from the 3,000-4,000 screens most new releases enjoy. The expansion means many conservatives can see it in a town near-ish them.
The film’s core message is vital at a time when social media platforms are silencing right-of-center voices. Even more alarming? The mainstream media’s de facto bias boiled over into unabashed activism following President Donald Trump’s election.
The liberal media went all out against Trump with negative coverage in 2018.
But did it matter? Check out our comprehensive study of media bias against the POTUS from last year. pic.twitter.com/D6sLIuyZPu
— MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) January 15, 2019
“No Safe Spaces” is critically important to both our values and the ongoing culture wars. It appeals to fair-minded souls on both sides of the aisle, but conservatives will glean the most from it. After all, it’s their views under assault.
So far, the film has racked up some solid box office numbers. It still needs much more to blossom into an unqualified hit.
And then there’s Clint.
Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood isn’t as political as his peers, with the exception of a certain “chair” speech.
Still, Eastwood’s ability to tap into the heartland remains unmatched, even as he nears his 90th birthday. His latest directorial effort captures that knack … on steroids.
“Richard Jewell” retells how the FBI and mainstream media tag teamed to ruin a hero’s life. Jewell saved lives by spotting a pipe bomb planted at the 1996 Summer Olympics. His eccentricities made him a target, even though no evidence existed to tie him to the bombing.
That didn’t stop agents or corrupt journalists from turning a hero into public enemy no. 1. Sound familiar?
The film offers strong performances, a crackerjack script and the kind of underdog saga that appeals to our all-American spirit. It’s one of the year’s best films, even if awards season is giving “Richard Jewell” the cold shoulder.
Best of all, it’ll be in thousands of theaters starting Dec. 13. Conservatives nationwide will be able to see it at a theater near them.
Let’s be blunt. There’s no excuse to miss “Richard Jewell.”
These right-leaning films need conservative support. Yes, both are excellent on their own storytelling merits. Still, if conservatives want to see more stories like them, they must come out in huge numbers to send a message.
We’re here, and we want more stories that reflect our views.
That’s what happened with 2004’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Director Mel Gibson’s film opened the floodgates for faith-based storytelling. That genre exploded in recent years, and those filmmakers can thank Gibson for making it all possible.
No Hollywood suit could ignore “Passion’s” $370 million at the U.S. box office.
Of course there are other examples where conservatives can support right-leaning art. The fourth edition of “Appalling Stories,” featuring a gaggle of conservative tales, is out now. Andrew Klavan’s “Another Kingdom” can be heard on any reputable podcast player.
Still, the double dose of “Richard Jewell” and “No Safe Spaces” represents a unique opportunity for conservatives to fight back, hard, in the Culture Wars.
The only question left is if they’ll actually heed the call.