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This post is nearly twelve years old. It’s proof is the fact that you almost certainly don’t remember its details, or if you do, you never would have thought of them had you not been reminded.

A while ago, after watching a movie on DVD, probably due to some masochistic impulse, I watched the “special features” on the disc. You know, the usually incredibly boring “making of” segments and interviews with the director, cast, and sundry crew. As I watched, it struck me how important some of these entertainers thought their work was. Words like “innovative” and “ground-breaking,” describing various aspects of their latest product, abounded. It was evident that they were really quite impressed with themselves. I found myself scoffing at them: Come, on, people, it’s just a movie! Maybe a good movie, or even a great one, but still, just a movie. How important can it be?

To put it into perspective, let’s consider some numbers. Just last weekend, The Dark Knight opened, breaking the previous record for opening weekend ticket sales (Spiderman 3, 2007) and grossing $155.34 million. Well, that’s pretty impressive, I suppose. But how impressive, in the big picture, is it really? According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average 2007 ticket price was $6.88. Using that number, I estimate that 2.5 million people watched The Dark Knight opening weekend. That’s a lot of people, nearly four times the population of North Dakota—but only 7.5% of the entire U.S. population. That’s not so big, after all.


Now, I don’t know how many more will see the movie in coming weeks. Seriously, who cares? Twenty years from now, will it matter? Ten years? Five? Who will remember? The next blockbuster will come and go, and Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, et al, will eventually be forgotten; and the stars of the latest big show will think that they, too, have made a profound contribution to . . . whatever it is they think they’re doing.

So, what’s my point? I’m not sure; there are probably several that could be made. In any case, I have growing impression that I ought to go read Ecclesiastes.

July 21, 2008

Posted 2020·03·24 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Reruns

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