Faith in America: Evan Almighty

Kindred Spirits

New York Times, June 25, 2007: Two ‘Mightys’ Disappoint at the Weekend Box Office

It restores my faith to see that America rejected the temptation to see Evan Almighty this weekend. And it restores my sense of wonder that “rejection” can mean first in the box office with $32 million in ticket sales.

I don’t think God is responsible for the low draw—God is box office gold. More likely, audiences were turned off by the artificial ring of its environmental message. (This is what happens when you switch lessons mid-franchise.) Who in Hollywood could have pitched a $200 million pro-environment movie with a straight face? You can’t get anywhere near $200 m ($175 for the film plus marketing) without leaving a carbon footprint the size of a small forest. (Fun fact: the movie’s producers promoted the film production as “green,” a term which leaves room for promo airplanes flying over Chicago towing banners of Steve Carrell’s face.)

If anyone has seen it: were the multiplexes green for the show? Did they turn their air conditioners off and stop serving 64-ounce tubs of high-fructose corn syrup?

You gotta give the studio credit for knowing the environment was going to be hot: subtract the standard 18-month production cycle, and you’re at January 24, 2006, the day An Inconvenient Truth premiered at Sundance.

America’s trials are not over, though: License to Wed is still a week away.

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