Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

“War, Inc.” strikes box office nerve

June 6, 2008

john-cusack-2.jpgIn the past two years, a lot has been written in the media — including by Reuters – that movies about modern war simply haven’t worked at box offices while real world battles rage in Iraq and Afghanistan. Audiences, the experts say, don’t want to escape to a movie theater and be confronted by images they see almost daily on TV news and in newspapers.

But along comes John Cusack in “War, Inc.,” which according to its studio backers has been winning fans and building ticket sales with a satirical tale of a country, Turaqistan, occupied by a private U.S. company run by a former U.S. vice president who hires a hit man (Cusack) to kill an oil minister.

In only two weeks in theaters, “War, Inc.,” has been enough of a success — a john-cusack.jpg$22,857 per screen average in two theaters in New York and Los Angeles — that First Look Studios is expanding to 20 theaters on June 13 and delaying the DVD release by more than three months to Oct. 14 to give the movie time to build an audience. That strategy is very rare these days in Hollywood where the rule of thumb is promote the movie, hope to breakeven in theaters, then sell the heck out of the DVD and maybe turn a profit.

What the eventual outcome is for “War, Inc.”, of course, remains to be seen. But with widely-hyped movies like “In the Valley of Elah,” ”Lions for Lambs” and Cusack’s own “Grace is Gone,” bombing at box offices last year, it could be that “War, Inc.” has just the right stuff to make a hit film out of a war movie.




Great job Cusack and Friends. Worth every minute of the time you spent battling to get it out to audiences. It is too politically savvy to gain sufficient and deserved appreciation but will become cult viewing over the years. Which of you has spent enough time in the Middle East to create the Yonica character so cannily? Incredible film which was crying out to be made. Thank you Mr Cusack you clever, clever man….


Posted by Phillie Hall | Report as abusive

very funny and sophisticated, we will probably go see it again to catch more of the subtleties.

Posted by Lisa Banwell | Report as abusive

I’m glad the movie is doing great at the box office! Everyone should go and watch it in won’t be disappointed.

Posted by Claudio Garay | Report as abusive

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Some really brilliant ideas here. (Unfortunately the satire is not so far from the reality.) It’s kind of a Brazil in a war zone. John Cusack gives a phenomenally subtle, deep and rich performance. His sister Joan displays comedic genius. (Her warped, hyper close-ups towards the end are a great directorial decision.) Ben Kingsley’s southern accent is worth the price of admission. Hillary Duff, well, I didn’t recognize her, and wondered what country they’d found this actress in; her accent is spot-on. And as a long-time Nation subscriber, I will never read the magazine the same way knowing that its reporters are as gorgeous as Marisa Tomei. Congratulations to all involved for creating this very dark, very funny–and very timely–comedy.

Posted by Josh Tarjan | Report as abusive

I live in Dubai and I love John Cusack’s movies,especially Con Air ,(and I’m sure War Inc is great too) but it was’nt a success at the box office,as this article claims.The budget was 10m US$ and so far it grossed .5m only(refer to box office mojo).Anyway,I’ll help sales by getting a dvd soon !


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