Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Washington Times reporter Christian Toto points out the remarkable failure of a whole series of Hollywood climate disaster movies – and the cognitive dissonance of producers and critics who keep pushing out movies nobody wants to watch.
Hollywood tries to save the Earth, but moviegoers aren’t buying eco-messages anymore
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Climate change got its close-up in 2017. A gaggle of films either name-checked Al Gore’s biggest fear or built their narratives around it.
The timing, in theory, couldn’t be better for Hollywood bean counters: Three major hurricanes. Massive fires in the West. Record-setting chills. Media reports routinely connected the disasters with a warming planet.
Yet audiences stayed away from films influenced by eco-concerns. Far, far away.
Think “Blade Runner 2049,” “Geostorm,” “Downsizing,” “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and “mother!” They all flopped, some in spectacular fashion.
Justin Haskins, executive editor at the right-leaning, free-market Heartland Institute, said Hollywood insiders remain fixated on saving the planet.
“They believe climate change will bring people to the movies,” Mr. Haskins said. “That’s wildly out of touch with how moviegoers feel about the issue.”
A Pew Research survey this year found that “the environment” does not rank among the top 10 public policy concerns of most Americans, trailing behind “terrorism,” “the economy,” “education” and “jobs,” among others.
Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot and a fiery critic of global warming alarmism, sees the films’ collective failures differently. Mr. Morano calls the box office failures a disconnect between show business and its consumers.
“Hollywood is finding out that the climate scare continues to be nothing more than a big yawn for the public,” Mr. Morano said. “Lecturing the public on climate change is boring, and ticket receipts prove this.”
Unfortunately (fortunately?) I haven’t seen any 2017 climate movies. But I disagree with the premise that the climate movie genre is dead. There is still plenty of scope for a good climate disaster movie. Maybe Hollywood (2017) was not making the right kinds of climate disaster movies.
I still enjoy watching the occasional rerun of “The Day After Tomorrow”. Setting aside the shoddy science, “The Day After Tomorrow” is a watchable movie. The hero Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is a likeable character – brave, resourceful, trying to do the right thing. There is drama, suspense, terror. The movie is entertaining.
You don’t have to believe in The Force to watch a Star Wars movie. You don’t have to believe in the carbon fairy to watch a good climate disaster movie. But the movie has to be good enough to make up for any deficits.
Take “These Final Hours” (2013). Not exactly a climate movie, but the movie contains some very rapid global warming. A huge Asteroid has struck the North Atlantic, the world is slowly, inevitably being engulfed by an enormous fireball. Australia where the movie is based, will be one of the last countries to die. What do you do? Anarchy, chaos and violence on the streets – there is no future, no consequences. Hopeless efforts to find a way to survive. And throughout the movie the slow inexorable approach of certain doom, as country after country in the path of the fireball is silenced. “On the Beach” meets “Mad Max”.
A low budget film festival effort which only took $360,234 at the box office, but brim full of drama and suspense.
Lets just say if the director Zak Hilditch ever makes another climate disaster movie, I shall probably want to see the cinema release.