I saw White House Down yesterday and throughly enjoyed it. I thought it had great dialogue, good action, some plot surprises, and a strong cast of actors. The review in the paper gave it 4 stars and I thought it was well-deserved. Imagine my surprise when I read in today’s Huffington Post that the movie was a flop. It only made $25.7 million on it’s opening weekend. It came in behind Monsters U ($46.2 million) and The Heat ($40 million) and World War Z ($29.8 million). The real kick in the pants is that it’s the second weekend for World War Z
It wasn’t that long ago that a movie making $25 million it’s opening weekend was a big deal. Now movies have to make $40 or $60 million the first weekend to be successful. It seems a shame that a movie has to be a hit from the beginning or it’s considered a flop, no matter how good it is. Movies aren’t allowed time to gain a following. It’s the same for books. For big publishers, if a book doesn’t make its numbers in the first quarter of its release, then it’s likely to be remaindered. The world has gotten so fast. Gratification has to be instantaneous. What’s wrong with taking a little time to appreciate a good story? To let word-of-mouth do it’s job and bring an audience to a movie or book that’s worthwhile? Is short term return really more valuable than long time investment? I think of all the stories in books and movies that would never have been written, filmed, printed, or appreciated. Goodnight Moon only sold 1,500 copies its first year. Today a picture book published by a big publisher that sold 1,500 in its first quarter would be remaindered—if it had ever been published to begin with. I feel sorry for all the stories that won’t be seen or heard because they are soft or sweet and don’t have power or punch. Not that White House Down was soft and sweet. Nor is it the greatest movie ever made. But it is a fun summer movie and deserves not to be labeled a “flop.” Good writing, good storytelling is worthwhile. And you shouldn’t call the game lost after the first inning. Give it a chance for the fans to show up and cheer. Here’s me cheering for White House Down. Go see it for a fun summer ride.