Conservatives Triumph at the Box Office

When Hollywood bets big, it bets on traditional values.

Hollywood will waste millions on ill-fated leftist gobbledygook like Green Zone or Promised Land while smaller conservative films have to struggle to even get distribution from the leftists who run the studios. But when theatergoers have the ability to pick well-made conservative films, they do so – in droves.

The last weekend of 2012 saw two conservative big-budget epics triumph: The Hobbit and Les Miserables. The Hobbit is the precursor to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and boasts the same dichotomy between good and evil in the story of  Bilbo Baggins, a young hobbit, who pledges to help the dwarves reclaim their homeland from an evil dragon. Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s novel, is a triumph of Judeo-Christian morality. It features an open conversion scene, when the hero Jean Valjean is shown mercy by a priest and then dedicates his life to God; it shows his constant moral quandary about violating his parole but using that opportunity to do good for others. Most of all, it shows human beings as flawed and capable of great sin – but also capable of great good.

In fact, the vast majority of top films of 2012 are conservative-themed. Marvel’s The Avengers, featuring Captain America leading a patriotic band of heroes against an alien invasion, clocked in at the top. The Dark Knight Rises, the capper to Christopher Nolan’s masterful Dark Knight Trilogy, clocked in second – and that film featured an actual communist takeover of Gotham, communist show trials, class violence, and a hero to rescue Gotham from the scourge of tyranny. The new James Bond film Skyfall came in third – and for the first time in recent memory, featured a film villain who had turned against his government and yet remained the villain. Compare Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva to Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne: Silva tries to take down MI6 because he’s been abandoned by M (Judi Dench), and Jason Bourne tries to take down the CIA because he was ordered to commit an assassination of which he disapproved. Bourne is a hero; Silva is a villain. That’s a big difference.

Other top earners include the final installment of The Twilight Saga, which boasts a traditional relationship ending in marriage, and reserving sex for marriage; The Amazing Spider-Man, which always features the iconic superhero line “with great power comes great responsibility”; and The Hunger Games, centering on a rebellion against a tyrannical state.

Each of these movies was also a big budget popcorn flick. But that’s the point: when Hollywood bets big, it bets conservative (with the exception of Avatar). Hollywood executives may be wild leftists, but they’re not stupid. They’re not going to make a Dark Knight movie in which Batman fights for income redistribution or against fracking. They’re not going to feature a musical about an atheist awakening. (Other big budget musicals that didn’t feature conservative morals this year – see Rock of Ages – have been duds).

Americans are still fundamentally conservative. Their moviegoing choices tend to show that. But that’s why Hollywood is so clever about leveraging politics into its films. It will always trade a few Promised Land-type bombs for an Avatar. It remains for conservatives to stop waiting for Hollywood to cater to them and begin taking advantage of the market loophole that Hollywood’s wild leftism has created.

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