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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Paul Verhoven, Basic Lunatic

The director of Basic Instinct 2 is blaming the Religions Right for his box office woes (Link via Powerline and Instapundit):

Paul Verhoeven, director of the first "Basic Instinct" (which scored $353 million worldwide) as well as the widely ridiculed "Showgirls" (now regarded as something of a camp classic), attributes the genre's demise to the current American political climate.

"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States," said the Dutch native. "Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends."

Scribe Nicholas Meyer, who was an uncredited writer on 1987's seminal sex-fueled cautionary tale "Fatal Attraction," agrees, noting that the genre's downfall coincides with the ascent of the conservative political movement.

"We're in a big puritanical mode," he said. "Now, it's like the McCarthy era, except it's not 'Are you a communist?' but 'Have you ever put sex in a movie?"'

I've got two words for him: Brokeback Mountain. Budget: $14 million, US gross: $82.8 million. Granted, it's not as explicit as Basic Instinct 2, but it's not the sort of film that would thrive in the country imagined by Verhoven's paranoia. And both appeal to near-exclusively adult audiences.

Keep in mind that even the biggest blockbuster is seen by a small percentage of the US population. The CIA World Factbook places the general population at 295.7 million, and citizens 15 years or older at a little over 230 million. Assuming an average ticket price of seven dollars, sold almost 12 million tickets. (We can never know how many ticket sales to any particular film are repeat sales.) Do the math - less than 5.2% of Americans over the age of 14 saw this movie. (Now why did so many cultural liberals choose not to see Brokeback?)

The highest-grossing movie of this decade - Shrek 2 (2004) - earned $436,471,036 per IMDb's All-Time USA Boxoffice page. Using a $6/ticket guesstimate (to account for the large number of children in the audience), that's almost 73 million tickets - less than 24.7% of Americans saw Shrek 2 in the theater. Even the biggest blockbuster falls short of predicting overall cultural trends.

Update: To correct Verhoven on another issue, Christianity is unfreindly only with reckless sexuality (such as this), not sex as a whole. He should get out and meet some actual Christians.

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