Between now and the 2012 presidential election, Hollywood filmmakers will be put under even more scrutiny for every political statement they make. The latest twist is whether the movie moguls think politically outspoken actors shouldn’t be cast because 50% of the country who disagree with their views won’t turn out at the box office to see their pics. The latest case study is Morgan Freeman who on Friday went on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight and denied he’d provided narration for a Tea Party-supported Republican candidate’s attack ad last November. Then the Oscar winner blasted the Tea Party, calling their aggressive ambitions “racist” for their opposition to President Barack Obama. ”Their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term,” Freeman said. “What underlines that? ‘Screw the country. We’re going to whatever we can to get this black man outta here.’” Freeman claimed the Tea Party agenda ”just shows the weak, dark, underside of America” and added, “We’re supposed to be better than that.” The timing couldn’t have been worse for Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros and their Dolphin Tale starring Freeman. Immediately, the Internet filled with media chatter that Freeman’s statements would hurt Dolphin Tale at the box office this weekend because it featured him prominently in the movie trailer and TV ads aimed at the American heartland. So this morning I asked Alcon Entertainment co-founder Andrew Kosove whether he thought the Freeman ruckus had hurt the pic this weekend. (Kosove had expected it to win the box office derby but it finished No. 3 with a solid $20.2M):
We are of course delighted (and humbled) as it was a very unusual movie to greenlight in this day and age….a live action family drama. It was a “throwback” to a different time in Hollywood when family films had a very different composition from today. As far as Morgan, I don’t need to be “off the record”. (I am not really an “off the record” kind of guy). I do not believe it affected Dolphin Tale‘s gross by even one dollar! I do not share Morgan’s view and do not believe this kind of harsh partianship by either end of politcal spectrum is helpful in these very difficult times. That said, as a person who has some libertarian viewpoints myself, I STRONGLY believe in Morgan’s right to express whatever beliefs he has on any topic. We are a free country….thank god!