Here we go again. With the upcoming movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, it’s time to wonder, yet again, whether moviegoers will want to see a film whose plot seems ripped from the headlines. But unlike its escapist cousin, Bride Wars, or even the “easily approved mortgages” plotline in Yes Man, Confessions isn’t all reckless spending. Indeed, the most real part of the movie might be that the film’s protagonist finds herself drowning in debt and forced to change her ways.
And that’s where predicting how the movie will do at the box-office becomes a bit tricky. There really haven’t been any ripped from the headlines recession films released since September. The closest one we can think of is Zack and Miri Make A Porno, in which the characters resort to the titular activity to pay the bills, and we kind of think that film suffered more from bad reviews and gross-out scenes.
Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer [Ed note: How’d that happen?] seems to think audiences will respond to the art-imitating-life storyline.
LA Times: “The timing for this movie couldn’t be better,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer said. “This is the journey of a young girl who has a problem and she turns her life around. It’s a tale the whole world can learn a lesson from.”…
Bruckheimer and Disney, however, say that “Shopaholic” is not a celebration of the joys of shopping and that the film’s protagonist, Rebecca Bloomwood, eventually sees the light and reforms her ways. The movie’s trailer makes a reference to Bloomwood’s transformation when, asked how she plans to pay off $9,412.25 of credit card debt, she replies, “I know I’ve made some mistakes, but I’m turning my life around.”
But there is a precedent for films about current events striking out at the box-office: Iraq war movies, anyone?
“If people wanted movies to reflect real life, then Iraq war movies would have done a lot better than they did,” says Paul Dergarabedian, who heads the box-office tracking firm Media by Numbers, referring to recent pictures torn from the headlines such as “Stop-Loss,” “In the Valley of Elah” and “Redacted.”
Then again, unlike those Iraq war films, Disney financed Confessions all by itself. Let’s hope the art-imitating-life feel of the film doesn’t go the other way.