What is so hilarious about the entertainment media’s recent post-mortems examining why “Steve Jobs” bombed over the weekend, isn’t that they are protecting Seth Rogen from the fallout; it is that in order to do so they are choosing to look like idiots.
Over at the left-wing L.A. Times Steve Zeitchik spends more than a thousand words blaming the film’s disastrous $7.3 million opening weekend on the glut of material about Steve Jobs and the “bad idea” of a platformed rollout. In summation we are told from on high:
And therein may lie the issue for “Steve Jobs:” too many people may have felt it was too familiar. No matter how much its subject preached the value of thinking different, you can only do so much with a movie that appears to contain more of the same.
One-thousand words and not a single comment about “Steve Jobs” star Seth Rogen’s racially-laced attack on Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.
The L.A Times wasn’t alone. In its own post-mortem, the Hollywood Reporter did the exact same thing. Using almost a thousand words, Pamela McClintock refused to even bring up the online backlash against Rogen. She too blames the release strategy and gives credit to a Sony executive who saw the box office writing on the wall when passing on the film.
Here is the problem with this laughable analysis. None of this information is new. Going into its wide release weekend, the L.A. Times and the Hollywood Reporter were both aware of the film’s release strategy and Sony’s misgivings. Both were aware of the fact that since the untimely death of Jobs in 2011, Americans have been awash in material about the Apple co-founder.
None of this is new information and yet, for good reason, everyone predicted an opening weekend of two to three times that lousy $7.3 million.
As well they should have. Based on the box office track record of Rogen and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, along with the glowing reviews and the near-record box office performance in limited release, there is no reason “Steve Jobs” should have bombed in the spectacular fashion it did.
In no way am I blaming Rogen’s racially-tinged attack on Carson for the entirety of the film’s box office collapse. But for top industry trades to completely avoid the online backlash against Rogen, to cover up Rogen’s attention-getting smear of a black presidential candidate at a time when that candidate is surging in the polls (and more popular than Hillary Clinton), is indicative of why the movie business is in trouble it’s in.
Rather than tell the truth, rather than suggest that an obscene, partisan attack against a man beloved by more than half of the country might not be a very good marketing plan the week before the national rollout of a $70 million product, these so-called analysts prefer to look dumb by saying, “We should have seen this flop coming.”
You see, in Hollywood, politics comes before profit. Seth Rogen is a left-wing sacred cow. Therefore he can do no wrong even when he does wrong. It would be an act of heresy for the L.A. Times or the Hollywood Reporter to tell the truth — to suggest that Rogen’s big-mouthed, racial dogwhistle might have played a key role in derailing “Steve Jobs.”
The world isn’t what it was even five years ago. Hollywood’s Seth Rogens can no longer count on the mainstream media to protect him by bottlenecking information. New Media and social media have burst that bottleneck. Rogen’s partisan, obscene “othering” of a black man escaped out into the world and hurt what everyone believed would be a no-brainer hit.
Why so anti-science Entertainment Media?
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC