Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Won't Back Down" a "loss leader" for the privateers?

See Diane Ravitch’s blog today about the fact that the anti-teacher, anti-public school film “Won’t Back Down” continues to tank.  The movie premiered Sept. 28, and had the worst opening of any film in thirty years opening “wide” (2500 screens), despite shameless promotion by CBS (remember their “Teachers Rock” concert show which featured the film?) and NBC’s Education Nation.
"Won't Back Down" revenues after 21 days
Yet on Thursday the film averaged $39 per day per screen.
The movie’s producer Philip Anschutz and distributor Rupert Murdoch have likely lost millions keeping this critical and financial flop in the theaters this long, helped by the fact that Anschutz also owns the Regal Cinemas theater chain, which was  offering two tickets for one to see the movie.  Last weekend, Murdoch was still buying half page ads in national papers, including the NY Times, featuring rave “reviews” of the film, that were actually drawn from Wall Street Journal and NY Post editorials (papers he owns), proclaiming that the film deserved as Oscar on the basis of its attack on the teacher unions.
For both of these privateers, their apparent desire to dismantle the public schools apparently won over their greed.
Will they manage to keep the film going nationally for another week?  In NYC, starting Monday the only theater that will still be showing the movie is in Glendale Queens; offering discounted tickets at 5:40 PM.
As Diane Ravitch points out, however, the US Chamber of Commerce along with other corporate reform and astroturf groups are holding free screenings of the film nationwide, to aid in their privatization campaign as part of a nationwide tour called “breaking the monopoly of mediocrity."
Speaking of monopolies, Murdoch is set to expand his control of the mainstream media and is in negotiations to buy up the LA Times and Chicago Tribune to further grow his mega-empire.   As we know too well, he has expanded into “education technology” products in a division run by Joel Klein, now renamed “Amplify.” 
Klein has expressed outrage that he and the division he runs for Murdoch are solely motivated by profit.  To some extent the marketing and continued promotion of this film might support his claim, which has been a money loser at least in the short run. 
Murdoch, Anschutz and the cadre of privateers they represent are focused on the long-term goal of putting public schools and educational services into corporate hands; arguing that this will somehow improve outcomes for kids.
 Of course, to the extent they achieve the privatization of the public schools, the more potential profits they are likely to reap in the long run.  In this regard, the film “Won’t Back Down” represents a “loss leader,” defined by Wikipedia as follows: “an item is offered for sale at a reduced price and is intended to "lead" to the subsequent sale of other items, the sales of which will be made in greater numbers, or greater profits, or both.”


Mike Simpson said...

usually a loss leader is something people want, in this case is more like a fire sale or "distressed" merchandise sale :)

Anonymous said...

"Loss leader" Kind of like Doombag's $1 a year salary, wich masks the massive quid pro quo pay to play money flowing by wire to his offshore accounts from all those lovely contractors,metastasizing standardized testing providers and privatizing charter school operators, enter alia, wouldn't you think?