If you live in the narrow, provincial bubbled corridor of Manhattan/Los Angeles/DC, you were likely surprised that “Anchorman 2” only did okay at the box office this weekend. Granted $27 million isn’t chump change, but the sequel to 2004’s moderate hit certainly is not the phenomenon we were assured of. Everyone assumed that all the free mainstream media hype guaranteed a top spot at the box office (it was number-two behind the second week of the “Hobbit” sequel). Paramount even got caught up in the hype and predicted $40 million.
Never in the history of man has there been a film that received more free mainstream media hype than “Anchorman 2.” Will Ferrell was literally everywhere — either as Ron Burgandy or himself — and if there was a show on CNN or MSNBC that didn’t add to the hype in some way, that would be news to me.
CNN really went all in on this, lending three of their anchors — Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Chris Cuomo — to the publicity blitz.
But after 5 days of release, “Anchorman 2” sits at $40 million; and after 5 days of release, the first “Anchorman” sat at $36.4 million. The first “Anchorman” topped out at $85 million. If the sequel does the same, it is going to be yet another example of a media that has completely lost touch with the pulse of the American people.
It will also be a meaningless but valid sign of the mainstream media’s waning power to influence the masses.
The media love “Anchorman 2” because it is about something they love more than anything else (except Obama): Themselves.
The rest of us live in the real world.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC