Michael Bay’s action movie about the Benghazi, Libya, terror attacks stumbled at the box office this weekend, opening at No. 4 in American theaters.
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” opened with an estimated $19.6 million domestically, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “American Sniper,” which opened the same weekend a year prior, pulled in a stunning $107.2 million, while “Lone Survivor” opened to $37 million in early January 2014. Bay's last opening as a director — for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" — brought in more than $100 million.
Ouch. Not only did the movie fail to meet expectations, but it was the worst performing film by Michael Bay in a decade. And it might even end up actually losing money as well.
I have to say, I'm somewhat surprised that the movie flopped. Considering how polarized the country is, and with a massive marketing campaign by Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media, I figured there would be enough die hard Hillary haters to make the movie perform much better. Maybe not achieving American Sniper numbers, but still something more respectable than how it actually did.
Of course, I suppose it's important to note that, while a film like American Sniper is loved by conservatives, it wasn't a film that was only seen by conservatives. It was far less politically charged than BAYGHAZI! and thus seemed to have gained a wider audience, one that was made up of a good portion of people who believe Obama was born in the U.S., but also just simply wanted to see a fun action flick.
Despite the claims of Michael Bay and many of the people involved with the movie that it was "apolitical", it was pretty damn clear it was in fact, quite political. I haven't seen the movie myself, but I've read a good chunk of reviews. While it's true that the movie isn't "political" in the sense that it never once mentions either President Obama or Hillary Clinton, there's a lot dog whistling throughout. It makes several references to things like protests, the anti-muslim Youtube video that was initially believed to have led to the attack, the constant failure of the U.S. government to send help, and probably the most prominent right-wing meme, the alleged "stand down" order that was featured prominently in every single trailer since the movie was unveiled. Every single one of these things were nods to hardcore Republicans, and despite Obama or Hillary not being uttered by name, it was made blatantly clear to the conservative faithful who the true perpetrators of Benghazi were.
Alternatively, it's also quite possible that the movie failed to live up to expectations because it wasn't political enough. As mentioned, the movie makes plenty of allusions to the incompetence/malevolence of the Obama administration and the State department, but unless you've actually been religiously following the scandal via Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, you probably wouldn't make the connection as to who was really responsible for what transpired. The typical indifferent American voter might walk away thinking the reason those four brave Americans died was because of the movie's antagonist, the CIA station chief, or probably some random government bureaucrat at either the State department or the Pentagon. The idea that the President or the Secretary of State (or both) murdered their own ambassador is not something any low information voter would immediately conclude from the movie unless it was specifically spelled out for them.
Thus, it stands to reason that the typical Fox News fanatic probably might have felt disappointed at what they may have perceived as a lost opportunity to properly educate the American public, and so didn't bother recommending the film to any of their friends that didn't already share their opinions to begin with.
In any case, while I don't know for sure why BAYGHAZI! bombed (no pun[s] intended), I'm glad it did. If for no other reason than to relish in the tears brought forth by dashed conservative hopes and dreams that this would be the one thing that would finally bring Hillary Clinton to justice.