Saturday, July 28, 2007

Guess what Beavis and Butt-Head called the movie?

I'm gonna censor the article from Fox News because that's the true blue American thing to do. So let's look at The Huffington Post:

A Mighty Heart, British director Michael Winterbottom's superb political thriller about the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, is losing its beat with audiences. Last weekend, the movie made a measly $193,281 (with per-screen averages of $1,098, compared with SiCKO, for instance, which had averages of $3,444)....

[I]t seems as if [Angelina] Jolie's relationship to the news media may have been one of the chief causes for the movie's cardiac arrest. While critics were heralding Winterbottom's spirited, fly-on-the-wall direction, urgent location-shooting and morally complex universe (not to mention Jolie's powerhouse performance), the mainstream media was fixated on a nothing-story about the actress trying to control her interviews.

As has been written elsewhere, all celebrities try to stage-manage their interviews, but in this case, journalists used the story to stonewall the serious and important aspects of the film from getting out to the public.

According to Anthony Kaufman, big bad Fox is to blame, and everyone caved in and took Fox's view, though Kaufman notes:

Fox News also perpetrated an outright lie -- big surprise -- that Jolie banned the right-wing outlet from a spot at the film's red-carpet premiere, which The New York Times later reported was hardly the case.

And that's all that Kaufman says about the New York Times article. But Kaufman totally glossed over the first three quarters of the Times article, which started as follows:

The international celebrity do-gooder Angelina Jolie found herself in a strange situation this week when she insisted that journalists at the premiere of her new movie about a murdered journalist — a screening that was in itself an event on behalf of persecuted journalists — sign an agreement limiting their questions and their use of her answers....

The movie the Ziegfeld Theater in New York was a benefit for Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based nonprofit organization that champions press freedom around the world.

Reporters hoping to interview Ms. Jolie were asked to sign a document forbidding them to ask her about her personal relationships. The agreement went on: “The interview may only be used to promote the Picture. In no event may Interviewer or Media Outlet be entitled to run all or any portion of the interview in connection with any other story.” And, “the interview will not be used in a manner that is disparaging, demeaning or derogatory to Ms. Jolie.”

Most of the media outlets, including The Associated Press, declined to sign, Paramount said.

Lawyer Robert Offer said that Jolie knew nothing about this, and that he was to blame. Are you surprised that the celebrity's flack fell on the sword? We've seen this before.

Back to Anthony Kaufman, who goes into Mika Brzezinski mode:

It's terribly sad when all the positive critical buzz around a film gets swallowed up by a celebrity gossip meme perpetuated by our tabloid presses, intent on pacifying Americans with meaningless dreck rather than substantive issues. And for American's willingness to buy it -- along with all those tickets to Transformers -- they are to blame, as well. If our citizenry were willing to confront the multifaceted realities of the war on terror and Mariane Pearl's message of tolerance over revenge, we might not still be in this bloody mess we're in today.

Which of course leads us to...Us:

Bad box office numbers can be a real bummer. According to a source close to Angelina Jolie, 32, the actress is “devastated” by the audience rejection of her movie A Mighty Heart (it has earned just $9 million).


Sphere: Related Content