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The Passion of the ‘Alamo’

The Passion of the 'Alamo'

So, there was definitely an interesting contrast between this weekend’s box office performance of The Alamo and the pulse of the theaters here in Austin over the weekend. Not surprisingly, the film was an incredible success at least in the capital city of Texas, with sell-out screenings nearly all day every day between Friday and Sunday. Of course this wasn’t the case in the rest of the country. In Texas, though, the niche audience rejoiced. This leads me to draw a parallel between the real B.O. champ this weekend, The Passion of the Christ, and The Alamo.
Both films are highly anticipated adaptations of “history.” Both draw upon “historical facts,” but then leave many aspects open to interpretation. And both are appealing to enthusiastic audiences who treat the subject matter with a sense of undying devotion (for better or worse, Texas history is like a religion in this state). In the case of the former, the devoted audience is Christians and in the case of the latter, it’s Texans. As scary as this sounds, there are people that treat the legacy of Davy Crockett and the Alamo tales as seriously as many treat the Bible. Trust me, I grew up trying to get away from them (both groups, really). It seems like with all this fanfare about the real Alamo, this film should have done much better. There’s certainly lots of finger-pointing going on today in Hollywood and even here in Austin (where a good deal of the film’s cast and crew permanently reside). But why the incredibly soft box office for The Alamo, especially when it received about as much critical praise as the mixed reception of The Passion? It doesn’t take movie marketing genius to figure it out… there are more Christians than Texans, quite simply. The real money may lie in a combination, Christian/Texan epic story… but that just sounds too scary.

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