Let me be clear: I have always thought Harvey Weinstein was a scumbag. And now he’s a convicted rapist where he belongs… Dying in prison and disgrace. So bear with me here…
The big, Oscar-bait #MeToo movie She Said went into wide release this weekend and promptly swan-dived into one of the year’s biggest flops. With a $32 million budget and at least that much spent on promotion, She Said just opened in 2,022 theaters to a humiliating $2.25 million.
Why would this movie flop? After all, it earned stellar reviews and all kinds of free corporate media publicity and touches on the topic du last five years — the #MeToo scandal, specifically Harvey Weinstein.
She Said is about the two female real-life New York Times reporters who won a Pulitzer after uncovering the truth that brought down Weinstein and launched the #MeToo Revolution.
Back in 2015, a similar movie, Spotlight, grossed nearly $100 million.
Back in 1976, All the President’s Men grossed $71 million in 1976 dollars, which is like $425 million today.
So what happened? Fewer than a quarter million people bothered to see She Said. How is that possible in a country of 330 million, including millions of unhappy, bitter, unmarried, affluent, over-educated white women?
Let’s start with the trailer…
That trailer is what happens when you run out of movie stars.
Those two ladies might be fine actresses, but they are not exactly charisma machines. Not exactly Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Not exactly Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis tearing up the road as Thelma and Louise. Not exactly Julie Roberts righting wrongs as Erin Brockovich.
Imagine Michelle Pfeiffer and Sandra Bullock co-starring in She Said 20 years ago. Even I’d want to see that.
Then there’s 1) the fact the trailer gives away the whole movie, 2) the movie feels like homework and nothing close to a cinematic experience, and 3) the whole thing comes off as a poorly-shot, washed-out TV movie.
Finally, according to reviewers I trust, She Said is the opposite of an exposé. It’s actually a whitewash. Oh, sure, Harvey takes a well-deserved beating, but the countless number of elite media and Hollywood types who knew this was going on and said nothing get a total pass. The left-wing institutions of journalism and entertainment must be protected!
Oh, I know She Said is a very-very-very-very-very important movie about a very-very-very-very-very subject we have all been battered with for five very-very-very-very-very long years, but you can’t make us pay to go and see it.
The other thing is this bitter irony…
Want to know who could have turned She Said into a $100 million movie?
That was Weinstein’s genius.
He knew how to drive an adult, agenda-driven movie to big box office and Oscar glory.
Weinstein sure as hell wouldn’t have been so dumb as to open She Said in 2,200 theaters when a slow rollout might’ve delivered free word-of-mouth advertising and a sense of anticipation.
Which brings me to my larger point: The #MeToo Brain Drain.
Men like Harvey Weinstein deserve all the disgrace and jail time they’re receiving. But we all know what’s going on here: #MeToo McCarthyism. We’ve all seen countless innocent men like Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, and Bill Murray destroyed based on lies or hysterical overreactions. We’ve watched witch-hunt-level over-corrections wipe out one career after another. Where an apology should have been accepted, a career was ruined. Where a short suspension or demotion should have been the punishment, a career was ruined.
No due process.
No day in court.
And now She Said is about to lose $50 million.
Making movies is hard. Making good movies is nearly impossible. Producing good movies that hit at the box office is something close to a miracle.
While the self-righteous #MeToo Gestapo is running through the industry indiscriminately wielding a scythe, no one’s thinking the following: Who’s gonna replace this guy? Who has his talent, his know-how, his institutional knowledge? Who possesses that same magic and spark, that secret sauce that made him who he is?
Sorry, you can’t just put a vagina in that chair and call it a day.
Ask LucasFilm about that.