Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Goring the messenger

Lies or misunderstandings?

It's always difficult to tell whether right-wingers are liars or ignoramuses. Do they know they're spouting falsehoods or do they actually have no clue? Beats me. While perusing the San Francisco Chronicle over breakfast this morning, I was treated to a new entry in the cavalcade of conservative confusion. But is confusion the letter writer's goal, or is it his condition?

From the Chronicle's Letters to the Editor, June 21, 2006:

Gore's message

Editor — Al Gore's movie on global warming has hit rock bottom in the weekly box-office ratings, while “Cars” by Disney grossed millions of dollars. Poetic justice, or do American theatergoers know a lemon when they see it?

W. Grossi, Alamo

I presume that Grossi was referring to the June 9–11 receipts for the weekend when Cars made its debut. The Disney movie came in at #1 and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth was down at #11. How humiliating for the former vice president! Oh, the shame of it all! But what do the box office receipts actually show?

Cars pulled in an average of $15,086 per theater while being shown in 3,985 theaters. (For the math-challenged, that works out to a weekend gross of more than $60 million.) That made Cars the #1 movie that weekend. At the same time, Gore's movie was pulling in an average of $12,333 at each at 122 theaters (a gross of more than $1.5 milion). The overall rankings are based on gross receipts, not the per-theater average. An Inconvenient Truth would have been a strong runner-up in the #2 spot if ranked on per-theater average. The performance of Gore's documentary is truly phenomenal.

The June 16–18 box office results are also out. Cars is still #1, although its weekend gross fell by nearly 44% compared to the weekend before. As for An Inconvenient Truth? It retained its #11 position among all movies in national release and increased its gross take by 27%. It's also increasing the scope of its distribution. Next weekend the movie opens in Sacramento and I'm looking forward to seeing it. An Inconvenient Truth is already showing in San Francisco. Grossi should go. And maybe learn something.

Update: The poor-mouthing of Gore's movie is now a full-fledged right-wing meme. Like the first swallow of spring, Grossi's letter was just a harbinger. Fodder for the neo-cons is being provided by Moonie-owned UPI (which is now merely a propaganda arm of the Unification Church), which published a negative report on An Inconvenient Truth, although it at least acknowledged that Gore's movie ranked high among documentary films: “Yet despite its failing numbers, the film has brought in $9.6 million to date, making it one of the most successful documentaries to date.” The always reliable Powerline blog (no, I'm not linking to those creeps) quickly picked up the UPI item, although spinmeister-in-chief Hindraker (affectionately known as “Assrocket” in blog circles) carefully omitted the one positive point from UPI's article. The grown-ups are beginning to weigh in. Tim Lambert at Deltoid (always one of the best places to separate science fact from neo-con fantasy) put up a post this morning with a graph that illustrates the monotonically increasing weekend grosses for An Inconvenient Truth. (Hi, there, Deltoid readers. Thanks for visiting.)


Keanus said...

I live an hour's drive from City Center Philadelphia, the only place in this region where Gore's movie has been shown. I and many friends will not get a chance to see it until the middle of July when it plays at a theatre only 25 minutes away. I expect it's draw there to be just as good as that in City Center, just delayed.

runrun hurryhome said...

Even if CARS does well then the age 3 to 11 demogtraphic is not convinced of the importance of scientific doumentaries??? An age corrected measure, but still irrelevant might be weekly gross for internet porn films. The film has Gore who is as hard to listen to as ever, not for content, but personal weakness in public speaking, in delivery, and is on a serious topic, requiring attention and maturity. If it has any impact on informing the underplanning public then bravo, but leave all entertainment comaparisons alone!

Zeno said...

Those kids in the 3 to 11 demographic are going to have to live tomorrow in the mess we leave today. I hope we redeem ourselves a bit before the next generation just writes us off as the most myopic and selfish cohort of all time. The "Great generation" won World War II, while the "Waste generation" is busy shirking the war on global warming.

Quick! Look over there! Make-believe terrorists in Florida!

Global warming? What global warming?

Mr B said...

Thanks for your comment, Keanus. I saw An Inconvenient Truth at a well-attended Sunday showing in Davis, a university town not far from Sacramento, the state capital. It's also being shown in Sacramento itself. I think we're going to run up some good numbers in this part of northern California, just as is already occurring in the Bay Area, where the movie opened even earlier than for us.

Anonymous said...

I wept after I saw this movie. I wept for Gore. What a brave brilliant moral man.

What do the right stand for now. Torture, Greed, lies.

Jonas Henricsson said...

Umm, take a look at this:

I'm not sure Gore is such a moral man...

Mr B said...

That's fairly sad, Jonas. You cite an 8-year-old paper by a noted skeptic of global warming (an elderly fellow whose lengthy resume includes working for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and similar credibility-building ventures) and then question Gore's morality. You're not content to say you think he's wrong. You imply he's immoral.

Is that the best you can do?

Jonas Henricsson said...

Well, Mr. Gore has been holding roughly the same lectures about global warming for almost as long as I've lived (about 20 years) and you're complaining about an 8-year-old document? If the age is such a problem, then check out more recent reports from CO2 Science:

And by the way, are you saying that the voice of 17 000 researchers in natural science should not be taken seriously? And do we have reason to believe the facts in that document do not still apply?

Consider also the reconstruction of the "hockey stick"-curve by McIntyre and McKitrick from the very same facts Mann used. In that curve we can see that the earth had a higher temperature back in the 40's-50's than now. And data from satellites and balloons (which suffer less interference than surface temperature measures) show that the most strongly determining factor for our temperature variations seems to be variations in the activity of the sun.

I don't trust Al Gore on this issue. He has built a great deal of his career on this. Just 30 years ago the big doom's day scenario was that we were entering a new Ice Age. And now global warming is the issue? True is that there is alot of money for some people in covering up a true global warming. But there is also strong incentive for some people (money, fame and career) to make us believe there is a problem when in fact there is none.

Call it immoral. I call it human.

Anonymous said...

I guess I have to say at this point, in response to: "Just 30 years ago the big doom's day scenario was that we were entering a new Ice Age. And now global warming is the issue?"

A great movie quote come to mind:
"It is lovely, isn't it? Mr. Roarke, takes a geological event to heat a million degrees of water by six degrees in twelve hours."

Sadly for us, we're providing that in the form of pollution, therefore though thirty years may seem like harldy any time has passed, as far as industry is concerned it's been quite awhile, and what I'd find most amusing is if the producers of The Day After Tomorrow were the ones who had someone gotten it right, and the earth is going to fix itself, with an Ice Age.