The standard entertainment industry reaction to Hollywood's box office slump reveals the same shallow, materialistic mindset that helped create the problem in the first place. The left-leaning thinking that dominates the movie business follows a common liberal instinct to deny the spiritual dimension to every problem, thereby profoundly compounding the difficulties.
Tinseltown's recent setbacks suggest a crisis of major proportions, with a May USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll showing 48% of adults going to movies less often than in 2000. For 19 consecutive weeks, motion picture releases earned less (despite higher ticket prices) than the year before. Projected ticket sales for all of 2005 indicate a disastrous drop of at least 8% ? at a time of population growth and a generally robust economy.
USA TODAY ran a headline, "Where have all the moviegoers gone?" under which insiders discussed their desperate attempts to rebuild the shattered audience: "The lures include providing high-tech eye candy through 3-D digital projection and IMAX versions of movies. ... Stadium seating, which improves views, is just now becoming standard. Other theaters are opting for screenings that serve alcohol to patrons 21 and older."
More balance needed
Revealingly, none of the studio honchos talked about reconnecting with the public by adjusting the values conveyed by feature films, and replacing the industry's shrill liberal posturing with a more balanced ideological perspective.
Something clearly changed between 2004 and 2005 to cause an abrupt drop-off at the box office, and the most obvious alteration involved Hollywood's role in the bitterly fought presidential election. The entertainment establishment embraced John Kerry with near unanimity ? and bashed George W. Bush with unprecedented ferocity.
Michael Moore became an industry hero and the most visible symbol of the Hollywood left. Innumerable callers to my radio show expressed resentment at the strident partisanship of top stars; no one ever complained about the lack of 3-D digital projection or alcoholic beverages at concession stands.
Despite efforts by entertainer activists, a majority of voters cast their ballots for Bush. If even a minority of those 62 million GOP voters ? say, 20% ? reacted to Hollywood's electioneering by shunning the multiplex, it could easily account for the sharp decline in ticket sales after Bush's re-election.