Team China just gave Hollywood an earful.
The fifth film in the saga hauled in just $2.3 million in its opening frame, one of many recent box office disappointments.
The prose is withering and blended with anti-U.S. sentiment. Yet, to be fair, the Global Times article has a point.
“Hollywood blockbusters, especially those released after the pandemic, have visibly declined in quality. Beneath the flashy special effects, the dated universality of the US’ prevailing values is becoming more apparent … as Hollywood becomes increasingly out of touch and indulges in ‘political correctness’ without knowing when to stop, classic IPs must be squeezed bone-dry before they are discarded.”
Chinese-based writers have an agenda, of course. Diminish U.S.-based content and promote state-controlled filmmaking which brims with pro-China lectures.
Hollywood should still give the commentary a look. Then, once the industry catches its breath, start watching videos from some of its most ardent, stateside critics (and their subscriber counts).
- Nerdrotic (784K)
- The Quartering (1.56M)
- Pop Culture Crisis (64K)
- The Critical Drinker (1.72 M)
- Film Threat (83K)
- Call Me Chato (106K)
These YouTube (and Rumble) creators hammer new Hollywood content early and often. They do so with vigor, shredding stories with overtly woke narratives and studio types who insult them.
Remember director James Mangold’s reaction to rumors that “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” ditches its hero for an empowered Mary Sue type (Phoebe Waller-Bridge)?
James Mangold is once again shutting down trolls over #IndianaJones5 rumors: “We’re not shooting and never shot any new scenes or ‘alternate endings.’ Our film is 99% finished, getting rated by MPAA and VFX being completed.” https://t.co/7OyDqoA3LK
— Variety (@Variety) December 19, 2022
These channels also share smart, sober reasons why various films and shows fail to engage the audience. This Critical Drinker video brims with his signature snark, but he methodically breaks down why “Dial of Destiny” disappointed audiences.
“The antagonists are incompetent and comically useless … [Mikkelsen’s Voller] comes across as a complete non-entity who never comes across as even remotely threatening or interesting. Mikkelsen’s a great actor, but any actor is only as good as the script they have to work with.”
And that’s one of his more gentle barbs.
“How is it possible for a studio to hate the very characters that allow them to exist in the first place?” the Drinker asks after describing the Indy of “Destiny” as old, sad, worn out and clueless.
Is Drinker over-the-top in his approach? Perhaps. Is he wrong? Hardly.
Yet Hollywood’s blinkered status likely keeps the views far away from the people that matter most. The creators and the suits who write their paychecks.
Are they consuming these entertaining videos? Agreeing to disagree on core points made within?
If not, why not?
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Did anyone in the room that approved the “Dial of Destiny” trailer raise a hand and ask if insulting capitalism is a smart way to promote a $300 million movie?
If not, why not?
— Carol RN *Miss Rush & the Gipper* 👩⚕️🐘🇺🇸 🦈 (@pasqueflower19) June 28, 2023
Creators can insert any kind of message they wish in a film, but surely someone understood sticking that line in the trailer could work against the film’s best interests?
Disney, in particular, should be begging employees to binge watch some, if not all, of those YouTube creators for a month and take notes.
As is, the studio will lose millions with “Dial of Destiny,” which under-performed in the U.S. and around the world. The film’s minuscule Chinese box office figures dashed any hopes the overseas tally might save the day.
The aforementioned creators aren’t frustrated conservatives lashing out at “lib’ral” Hollywood. Some of these creators are either Libertarian or apolitical. They’re movie fans, nerds even and, in the case of Chato, a former TV executive willing to call out Hollywood for its mistakes.
Conservatives understandably bristle at an industry promoting diversity and hard-Left messages at every turn. Most consumers reject tearing down iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and, now, Dr. Indiana Jones.
We’re seeing more unforced errors across the board, and it’s often tied to woke overreach. The recent “Grease” prequel series got canceled and memory-holed in record time. Disney+ sank millions into its teen sci-fi drama “Crater” only to yank it, and its progressive messaging, weeks later.
You don’t have to be conservative to reject woke storytelling. Just ask Bill Maher.
The problem isn’t restricted to Disney, of course, but the Mouse House’s failures get the most attention. Meanwhile, we’re left with two of the can’t miss summer blockbusters – “The Flash” and “Dial of Destiny” – fighting to see which one will cost its studio more millions.
Fans have been demanding Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy’s professional scalp for some time, using her as a symbol for Disney’s current malaise. The bigger problem is clear. Hollywood suits aren’t listening to the American movie-going public.
And they should.
Not only would they diversify their storytelling efforts but shield themselves from a cold reality. Audiences increasingly reject even “sure things” at the cineplex, and China can no longer save their fannies at the box office.
In fact, China might pour salt on their fiscal wounds instead.