Let's get the obvious fact out of the way: movies based on current wars, more often than not, are box office poison. Sometimes to no fault of their own.
The recent history of the "genre" has been a fairly ugly one. Green Zone,Body of Lies, Charlie Wilson's War,Lions for Lambs and The Kingdom each saw disappointing box office results relative to their production and marketing budgets. On average, those five films actually lost money for their backing studio - the most "profitable" of the bunch being Charlie Wilson's War, which banked a low 16 percent more than its combined budget. By the time exhibitors were given their share, its unlikely even that film became profitable until long after it hit the home video market.
2005's Jarhead - which holds the second best opening weekend of any recent war movie with $27.7 million - didn't exhibit strong legs at the domestic box office (finishing with less than $63 million) and totaled $96.9 million worldwide against its combined $103 million negative costs.
The cause seems simple: whether or not a film plays well with critics and among the film industry itself, the trend has shown that movies based on current or recent war events (particularly those revolving around Iraq and Afghanistan) aren't piquing the interests of a wide audience. After all, don't most moviegoers visit the theater for escapism? For the past decade, war movies venturing into cinemas have been doing so against the grain of that cardinal rule when it comes to movies.
Edited by ShawnMR, 01 January 2013 - 11:39 AM.