Conservatives in Hollywood have been in the closet almost as long as the gay community. Despite the fact that both may well be born this way, living openly as either (or, God forbid, both) can be harmful to one’s career. Hollywood telegraphs itself as being extremely progressive. Painfully so. But while openly gay men and women seem to be welcome behind the scenes, they will never be cast as straight leading men or women. Shamelessly pandering to hostility toward homosexuality in lucrative foreign markets (China, the Middle East, etc.) is just one of the hypocritical dirty little secrets of liberal Hollywood.
And openly conservative actors or actresses (with the exception of several who wield immense box office power) can kiss any meaningful roles or Academy Award nominations goodbye the minute they air their political views.
To be fair, their conservatism (although a large contributing factor) itself isn’t entirely to blame. Any conspicuous expression of politics by people whose stock and trade is in escapism will always be fraught with danger. You can easily alienate almost half your audience of ideological others, and even those who agree with you may still find it distasteful as well. Conservatives have long realised this.
Leftists in Hollywood do not. A lot of the time, they don’t even seem to realise that their tweets or press statements are political. Many have gone so deep down the Champagne Socialist rabbit hole that they believe they aren’t being political at all, merely voicing what they perceive as a completely infallible opinion based on reason and decency. Many of the more subconsciously liberal Hollywood types don’t even realise they’re leftists, and think that the only kind of left wing is something you’ll find in a KFC bucket, or stuck to the side of Leonardo DiCaprio’s private jet.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens made a squillion dollars on the back of escapism and nostalgia. I’ve noticed something about the difference between Star Wars fans and Trekkies over the years. Trekkies tend to be very left leaning, possibly due to the themes explored in the show (which, of course, rightly or wrongly have influenced their worldview from an early age). Star Wars fans, on the other hand, either seem escapist and apolitical, or conservative.
Others have come to similar conclusions (it would be interesting to hear whether conservative XYZ readers were into Star Wars or Star Trek while growing up).
With this in mind, I thought it was more than just a tad bad for business when the writers of the soon-to-be-released Star Wars spin-off Rogue One not only made a personal overt political statement, but injected their politics post-production into a film that really has no business being politicised at all.
This film is already a troubled production with extensive reshoots, and a lot less excitement generated than its predecessor (largely due to the fact that The Force Awakens holds up very poorly on repeat viewings once the initial excitement dies down), so really an overt and unwanted political stance is the last thing it needs for box office success.
So given that at least half of the potential Rogue One audience leans conservatively (many more if you buy into the Star Wars/Star Trek politics theory already mentioned), and that many more are apolitical and only interested in the pew pew of blasters and the swish of light sabres, the whole safety pin statement of the Social Justice Writers of Rogue One could be as damaging as a well-aimed proton torpedo fired into an exhaust port.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while the opening screenings of Rogue One have been sold out for weeks, the first big weekend could drop off quickly and dramatically if much is made of the inflammatory statements of Rogue One writers Chris Weitz and Gary Whitta, or if they double down on them in the media upon release.
While Rogue One may not become the box office disaster that Ghostbusters (a shameless exercise in social engineering that nobody asked for) was this year, good will toward this franchise will only extend so far if the film suffers the double whammy of being as poorly executed as the extensive reshoots are hinting at, and the creators being annoyingly preachy.
It’s your XYZ at the movies.