How Progressive Was Hollywood in 2014?

It has become cliché for conservatives to lament the progressive politics of the writers, directors and actors in Hollywood. Whenever a major star “comes out” as a conservative -- Clint Eastwood or James Woods, for example -- the right latches on to them and hangs on their every politically relevant word.

But Hollywood is a multi-billion dollar a year industry.  Box office receipts in the U.S. alone were over $9 billion in 2014. Their goal is to produce films that audiences want to see again and again, not necessarily films that adhere to their progressive worldview.  So what kind of movies did famously progressive Hollywood produce that were successful in 2014?

To answer that question I analyzed every movie that made more than $100,000,000 domestically during the year, a total of 29 films. The U.S. box office receipts of these movies totaled over $5.2 billion, or well over half the total revenue generated by the 682 movies released in 2014 and tracked by

The first thing that struck me about this list is that the top 4 movies, with over $1.1 billion in revenue, were dominated by conservative or libertarian themes. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the highest grossing movie of the year, the villain is a political and religious fanatic hellbent on the annihilation of those who don’t share his views (ISIS anyone?). The government is largely ineffectual and relies on the Guardians to save their society. And while this society is never identified on the political spectrum, they appear to be prosperous so we can assume they are not socialist.