What if Hollywood gave a gun control sermon and nobody came?
Sure, a few movie-goers lined up to see “Miss Sloane,” Jessica Chastain’s new film about the fight to for “sensible gun control legislation,” over the weekend.
They probably had the theater rows all to themselves.
The movie opened late last month in a handful of theaters but enjoyed a 1,000-plus screen expansion Friday. The result? Mostly crickets. “Miss Sloane” generated roughly $1.8 million at the box office, getting trampled by everything from “Moana” to “Trolls” (in its sixth week, no less).
That’s a dud, commercially speaking.
The results came despite a crush of favorable press tied to the film and Chastain herself. She’s an Oscar nominee and the best, albeit only, reason to see the movie.
Chastain stars as the title character, a take-charge lobbyist battling the NRA over new gun control legislation. It won’t be easy. The gun lobby is flush with cash, and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep those “loopholes” wide open.
Enter Miss Sloane. She gives as good as she gets. And, with her scrappy band of young, diverse lobbyists, she might just win the day.
The film’s key players insisted in media interviews that “Miss Sloane” isn’t gun control propaganda. That’s nonsense. Sloane and co. are shown to be hard-working, dedicated and righteous. The gun groupies? They’re all older white men with resentment in their hearts.
In one scene a gun advocate mispronounces the name of a grieving mother and essentially shrugs when corrected. In Hollywood speak, that’s a “tell” to let audiences know he’s the hissable villain.
The screenplay serves up factually incorrect and/or dubious talking points on gun control. It assumes there’s only one side of this debate. Audiences likely sensed the unfair nature of the storyline and stayed away.
Or, consumers are tired of being lectured about guns from the same folks who glorify them in violent blockbuster films. Remember this saucy retort after another celebrity PSA on gun control?
December is a tough time for new movies. The competition is fierce, what with a crush of Oscar favorites vying for our attention. It didn’t help that “Miss Sloane’s” marketing mavens trotted out the “nasty woman” meme as an advertising ploy.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t work for Hillary Clinton, either.