Hollywood knows how to send a message, but it sure can be slow reading them.
The industry cranked out a volley of anti-war movies during President George W. Bush’s presidency. The movies slammed the Iraq War, the president and even the U.S. soldiers fighting overseas.
Each bombed at the box office, some in spectacular fashion.
Eventually, the industry realized it should stop making movies the public clearly didn’t want to see. And, over time, a few pro-military movies like “Lone Survivor” and “American Sniper” reached theaters.
They were both hits, with “Sniper” amassing a remarkable $350 million stateside.
Something similar is happening regarding the new, woke Hollywood. The industry has cranked out a bevy of progressive reboots, sequels, remakes and originals in recent years. Think:
- “Charlie’s Angels”
- “Long Shot”
- “Late Night”
- “Terminator: Dark Fate”
- “And Just Like That…“
- “West Side Story”
- “No Time to Die“
Some of the aforementioned films were as woke as advertised. Others featured an aggressively woke marketing campaign, but the content itself didn’t fully reflect that framing. The 007 film “Not Time to Die” is a prime example.
Each entry has proven, to various degrees, unsuccessful. “No Time to Die” scored well overseas, but saw its box office fortunes droop stateside compared to recent Bond outings.
“West Side Story” earned an anemic $10.5 million during its opening weekend, far below expectations given the IP involved as well as the man behind the camera – Oscar winner Steven Spielberg. The film’s media push focused on the film’s precise racial casting, the lack of English subtitles for select Spanish-language scenes and pushing past images of the source material.
(The media, as it always does, amplifies the woke messaging.)
The newest “Terminator” and “Charlie’s Angels” films, both box office duds, essentially crushed their respective franchises.
Woke marketing often alienates movie goers. It’s not the only factor behind the aforementioned duds, but it clearly played a role.
And Hollywood has no intention of stopping.
Barbara Broccoli, who oversees the lucrative James Bond franchise, went 100 percent woke in a recent interview. Broccoli, asked by a podcaster if the next Bond actor could be “non binary,” suggested that casting choice wasn’t out of the question.
“Who knows, I think it’s open, you know? We just have to find the right actor,” the producer told Anna Smith on the “Girls on Film” podcast.
That response may have prevented a wave of social media rage from the usual suspects. Or, it reflects the future of the franchise, one that has been shedding fans via its dour tone and progressive marketing. Plus, we still don’t know who the next James Bond actor will be, meaning the franchise needs to retain its core base above all.
Those comments hardly do the trick.
Woke madness will destroy the Bond franchise. Utter insanity.
— Nile Gardiner (@NileGardiner) December 12, 2021
Meanwhile, the next iteration of the classic Snow White character may be hard to recognize, according to the starlet attached to the project.
Rachel Zegler, the “West Side Story” alum cast as the main character, assured BuzzFeed the new version would reflect modern times.
“There’s not much I can say about it besides the fact that Snow White has constantly been criticized – even though she’s the original Disney princess and we love her so much – but criticized for existing solely for a prince, existing solely to be rescued….
I think that our director, Marc Webb, and everyone who’s working on this film has really taken her narrative and turned it into something that’s a lot stronger. And I’m very, very excited to be able to bring that to life.”
Amazon’s recent “Cinderella” update proved so aggressively woke even liberal film critics trashed it.
Will the new “Snow White” suffer a similar fate?
More importantly, when will Hollywood studios, marketers and stars realize that pushing the woke agenda may, in fact, push audiences far, far away?