You may have missed it, but a “faith-friendly political thriller” called ‘Persecuted’ opened on 736 screens over the weekend (that’s 732 more screens than ‘Boyhood,’ for comparison). The plot involved “a TV evangelist (James Remar) framed for murder and forced to flee by an evil liberal Congressman (Bruce Davison) after he refuses to support a religious reform bill.”
Practically torn from the headlines, that. But according to the left wing, lamestream media at… uh… Forbes, ‘Persecution’ didn’t do so hot:
The film earned $935k for the weekend, for a lousy $1,302k per-screen average.
HOWEVER, according to the real Americans at something called “Red States At The Movies” who emailed me a press release just now, ‘Persecuted’ is actually doing just super.
July 20, 2014 (LOS ANGELES, CA) – PERSECUTED, a new faith-friendly political thriller is surprising box office watchers by out-performing blockbusters Sex Tape and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes in key heartland markets including Wichita, Memphis, Columbus, Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Cincinnati.
Okay, first of all, ‘Sex Tape,’ as previously established in this week’s Box Office round-up, is not a blockbuster. Secondly, I’m not surprised that ‘Persecuted’ outperformed ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ since that film came out in 2011, and hasn’t been in theaters for a few years now, not even in Wilkes-Barre. Thirdly, since when is Philadelphia considered a “heartland market?” It’s like a two-hour drive from New York City. They threw batteries at Santa Claus for God’s sake.
The marketing department of ‘Persecuted,’ which, like a lot of these “faith-friendly” ventures, seems to believe that appealing to the fundamentalist right’s persecution complex is key to success, has apparently decided that more people will see ‘Persecuted’ if they see just how persecuted it is. It’s like they took a lecture on subtlety from Tyler Perry and scribbled down every word.
Despite these strong numbers, the movie hasn’t been as popular with critics who have criticized the choice of Fox News Channel host Gretchen Carlson who makes her acting debut in PERSECUTED.
The New York Times opines, “The title — “PERSECUTED” — and the presence of the Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson in the cast are really all you need to know.”
“PERSECUTED is a heavy-handed and didactic drama which also manages to be totally mushy in terms of the message it’s trying to convey. The ubiquitous presence of Fox News Channel anchor Gretchen Carlson ensures that,” wrote Christy Lemire for Rogerebert.com
“Featuring Fox News Channel personality Gretchen Carlson as a television news anchor the not so fair and balanced film might have made its religious themes palatable if it worked reasonably well as a thriller,” noted The Hollywood Reporter.
If you didn’t believe me about a persecution complex being critical to success, consider that in the press release, negative comments about it from meanie liberals make up five out of the eight paragraphs. So, what do you think the makers of ‘Persecuted’ are doing after being so rudely persecuted? Probably just packing up and leaving town, right? That’s usually what religious folks do when criticized, they fold up and compromise their core values, just like Jesus.
“I’m used to being attacked simply because of where I work,” said Carlson. “But I am shocked to see so many criticizing the movie because of my association with Fox News of which I am very proud.”
Great Scott, I never saw that one coming! Someone grab a spatula and let’s see if we can stop my bow tie from spinning.
“I’m glad we chose Gretchen and I’d do it again,” said director Daniel Lusko. “I don’t mind criticism of my movie but singling out Fox is ridiculous. If I had to choose between critics and fans I’d go with the fans any day.”
So you’re saying that if given a choice between people who by definition don’t like your movie and those who by definition do, you’d take the ones who do? Whoa, bold statement there, Iconoclast Q. Maverick. Someone get out the tranq darts, I think he may have gone rogue. He’s speaking truth to power in a manner that may alter the physical properties of things.
Anyway, it’s pointless to criticize something that exists solely to prove that it’s persecuted, so instead I’ll just leave you with the trailer and with a review from Meghan McCain, who think it’s a damned fine film. A damned fine film indeed.