After Three Costly Left-Wing Flops, Sony Risks Another
Just last month Deadline reported that Sony is prepping $100 million in cuts and layoffs caused mainly by the humiliating failure of two very expensive left-wing films. Despite big stars like Will Smith, Channing Tatum, and Jamie Foxx, "After Earth" and "White House Down" flopped. Sony then hit the trifecta when the big-budget left-wing "Elysium" disappointed.
What has Sony learned from this painful lesson?
Sony shareholders beware: Sony apparently believes the fourth time will be the charm with "Border Guards," a "comedy" that will star Will Ferrell and be directed by Adam McKay.
A film delivered by the stridently left-wing Ferrell and McKay, about hapless Minutemen-types who accidentally end up on the wrong side of the U.S./Mexican border, is almost certain to be a two-hour political ad for amnesty and immigration reform thinly disguised as comedy. What Sony shareholders need to be most concerned about is that the last time these two teamed up with this same formula, Warner Bros. took a bath.
BoxOffice.com reports that Will Ferrell's 2012 "The Campaign," a comedic attack (produced by McKay) on corporate money in politics, cost a total of $95 million to produce and promote. Worldwide, "The Campaign" only grossed $104 million. This means Ferrell and McKay likely lost tens of millions of dollars for the studio (a movie generally has to gross twice its overall budget to break even).
It is worth noting that "The Campaign" had help from co-star Zach Galifianakis, a major comedic player from the "Hangover" trilogy.
Reviewers were quite friendly and gave "The Campaign" a "fresh" rating of 64%. The audience, however, was less kind. They not only stayed away in droves, they gave the film a 51% rotten rating. This probably had something to do with the stench of hypocrisy as McKay and Ferrell used almost a hundred million corporate dollars to promote a political agenda against using corporate dollars to promote a political agenda. (McKay and Ferrell are okay with using corporate money to promote a political agenda. They just want the practice outlawed for people who disagree with them.)
Regardless, now Sony thinks it can successfully repeat a formula that not only blew up on Warner Bros., but in a big way last year on Sony itself.
Sony's left-wing environmental preach, "After Earth" was an outright financial disaster in May of 2013. This was followed in June with a box office calamity called "White House Down," a divisive, hyper-partisan action flick that pit right-wingers against President Jamie Foxx, an obvious stand-in for President Obama. Then in August Sony dropped "Elysium," another left-wing film that touched on everything from immigration to the environment. After a $115 million production budget and a promotion budget that had to be north of $50 million, maybe "Elysium" broke even.
What in the world is Sony thinking teaming up for more of the same from McKay and Ferrell?
How many millions have to be lost and how many hard-working people have to lose their jobs before Sony starts acting like a movie company instead of a boutique studio for partisan Democrats and their far-left causes?
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC