The Completion Backwards Principle

Comic book writer Alan Moore (known for Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Batman: The Killing Joke, according to his Wikipedia bio) notes how pop culture isn’t exactly progressing forward:

I would say, that if you’re talking about a line of progress, if it can be called progress, that runs from Berthold Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, to Donald Cammell’s Performance, to Harry Potter, I don’t think you can really see that as anything but a decline. I will also point out that if you’ve got, I believe twenty percent of young people polled said that they would be embarrassed if their mates caught them reading. That would seem to me to be a decline, and also I would say that if you’ve got the Avengers movie as one of the most eagerly attended recent movies, and if most of those attendees were adults, which I believe they were, then if you’ve got a huge number of contemporary adults going to watch a film containing characters and storylines that were meant for the entertainment of eleven year old boys fifty years ago, then I’ve got to say, there’s something badly wrong there, isn’t there? This is not actually cultural progress.

When 21st century Hollywood isn’t producing sci-fi and superhero movies, they’re producing what Ace of Spades yesterday dubbed “progsploitation” films, movies that frequently bomb at the box office, but allow Hollywood to feel good about itself and assuage its socialist guilt over raking in billions on films starring men in plastic masks, rubber muscle suits, and/or wielding glowing plastic swords and ray guns. Ace explores “Why Do Progressive Movies Like ‘Miss Sloane’ Keep Cratering?”

Really cratering in Miss Sloane’s case; two weeks after its American debut, and despite an extremely well-funded advertising budget, the film, starring Jessica Chastain, “has made only $3.2 million. During its second weekend, it averaged just $102 per movie theater per day. With a ticket price of $10.30 per adult, that comes to an average of only 9.9 people a day seeing the movie in any given theater. At least people had no problem finding a good seat,” John Lott deadpans at National Review. As Ace responds:

It's not that there aren't progressives who don't want progsploitation factutainment -- it's that this market is so damn well served by TV (is there anything else even on TV?) that no one's going to buy a ticket to see the cow when TV will show them all the milk they could ever want to see.

This type of movie is doomed. It can't give you anything you haven't seen already. Law & Order was, it claimed, "ripped from the headlines." Movies like Miss Sloane are ripped from Law & Order, season 8.