The reactionary right wing rage-o-sphere has once again kicked their indignation into overdrive in response to the box office fails of Terminator: Dark Fate and Charlies Angels. With their ‘get woke, go broke’ bumper sticker slogan trending on twitter once again, it really does no good to point out the myriad reasons for the failure of these films. They’ve never struck me as readers, anyway. It’s far easier to reverse their logic, point out that far more films targeted to men fail than any other type, and conclude with the far more believable but still flawed ‘DON’T get woke, go broke.’
Here, true believers, are just a few examples of testosterone-soaked cinematic treasures from the last decade that could have benefited from stronger female & POC characters and some sort of social message besides grunting.
Described by Time Magazine writer Richard Corliss as a stately parade of steroidal machismo, 2014’s The Legend of Hercules was a $70 million budgeted action film that limped to a measly $23 million total domestic box office. With nary of ‘social justice’ crumb in sight, this totally proves if you don’t get woke, you go broke!
The Expendables series was an exercise in Alpha-male diminishing returns. The first two entries managed to make a profit, but by the third go ’round, and it’s $40 million domestic take, the old guys who starred in these 80s cold warriors-inspired movies would need more than Viagra to get it up for a fourth one. Perhaps it they’d gone woke, they wouldn’t have gone broke… right?
The Japanese macho adventure (Hey! Writer John Tucker’s description, not mine) 47 Ronin boasted a budget of $175 million. But even it’s theme of vengeance and Samurai sword play wasn’t enough to impress movie goers. It committed hari kari after it’s dishonorable $38 million domestic take. Shoulda’ went woke!
Assassin’s Creed was lavishly filmed but couldn’t escape it’s own testosterone soaked aggressive machismo long enough to be even mildly entertaining, unless this is the kind of stuff you like. Not that there’s many of you out there. The 2016 film was assassinated at the domestic box office with $55 million against a $125 million budget. International takes made the studio their money back but if they’d JUST gone woke…
I actually like 2010’s The A-Team, even though film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it “an incomprehensible mess” and criticized the film for being as shallow as the television series, as most critics did. Just like it’s small-screen counterpart, some found parts of it condescending to women. Maybe had they been a little nicer to the girls, they would have done a little better at the bank.
2012’s Dredd is a great example of a comic book movie that reveled in it’s decidedly non-wokeness. Then it crashed and burned in it’s brokeness for a total loss of $14 million. Choke on it Dredd.
A film critic for the Telegraph in the UK described 2016’s Ben-Hur as ‘Fast and the Furious meets Jesus.’ The former, of course, is every high school boy’s dream whose ever gotten the keys to his daddy’s car. And we all know the Jesus of Trump mountain ain’t woke. But perhaps… just maybe… a little social awareness might have saved this movie from being a loser of Biblical proportions.
And, finally, here is the ‘Went Woke, FAR from Broke’ hall of fame:
2017’s Wonder Woman, based on a superhero created by a feminist and inspired by feminists, is one of only a few superhero films to hit the cinematic trifecta: Great reviews, big box office, and a cultural impact. Described as a ‘masterpiece in subversive feminism’ by the Guardian’s Zoe Williams, this $149 million budgeted blockbuster hauled in $412 million domestically and $821 million worldwide and became one the most successful superhero movies ever despite complaints from the usual suspects that Gal Gadot is Jewish, doesn’t have blue eyes, and doesn’t have big enough breasts.
After the first trailer featured a black Storm Trooper, conservative crybabies began a ridiculous boycott campaign against J.J. Abram’s 2016 Star Wars reboot The Force Awakens. Stating the film promotes “white genocide” and was made “to demoralize and destroy whites,” they apparently forgot the cast of the prior six films was almost exclusively Caucasian. But they didn’t stop there. They also weren’t too happy with the lead, Rey, being a strong female. But despite the movie’s wokeness, the force defeated the brokeness. This film banked $2 BILLION world-wide.
Even though they cried about black folk escaping the proverbial plantation and getting jobs as Storm Troopers in The Force Awakens, far right trolls saved their ire for women for The Last Jedi. A bit more organized this time, one conservative group admitted to unleashing a bot attack on Rotten Tomatoes to artificially deflate the movie’s audience score. A representative of the alt-right internet group Down with Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and Its Fanboys stated he was bothered by the portrayal of women in the eighth Star Wars film as strong leaders. He said he believes it’s time men be “reinstated as rulers of society.”
Their campaign obviously worked. The Last Jedi only managed to squeak by at $1.3 BILLION! </sarcasm>
The alt-right has a love/hate relationship with Marvel’s Black Panther. Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and Its Fanboys again tried to tank this movie but failed spectacularly. Others decided if you can’t beat them, join them. Some white nationalists have embraced the movie to push their view nation-states should be organized by ethnic groups. They even circulated an image online of the superhero king wearing a red “Make Wakanda Great Again” hat, an explicit reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign gear. Ha ha. Losers. Black Panther was WAAAY in the black with $1.3 billion.
In it’s opening weekend, Captain Marvel scored $455 million in box office cash, the sixth biggest global movie debut to date despite yet another conservative boycott in route to a total box office haul of $1.3 billion. Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie again demolished the alt-right myth that female– or minority-led films struggle at the box office.
Honorable Mention: Despite men’s rights activists calling for a boycott of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ citing a feminist agenda, the film did just fine.