"Red Dawn," the remake of the 1984 cult hit, had plenty working against its box office hopes.
Movie critics rejected its pro-America themes, with The Washington Post's reviewer dismissing it as Tea Party fare.
MGM's bankruptcy woes kept the film on the shelf for years, a situation which routinely works against a film's marketing clout.
The film's Wednesday release also pitted it against current box office champs like the final "Twilight" installment and the latest James Bond spectacle. Plus, it had to fend off burly newcomers like "Rise of the Guardians" and "Life of Pi."
Yet "Red Dawn" is estimated to haul in roughly $20 million over the five-day holiday weekend. It's enough to make a high school football player shout in jubilation. Credit star Chris Hemsworth, the "Thor" standout who's quickly proving his box office clout. But it's likely due to the original film's drawing power and its unabashedly patriotic spirit.
While film critics knit their brows over the notion of ordinary Americans defending their turf, audiences lined up to cheer a rag-tag group of heroes reminding us that freedom isn't free.