The mainstream press seems sold on the idea that “Brokeback Mountain” remains a small movie that remains outside of the zeitgeist. I wonder if this is somehow part of the insidious campaign to discredit the film as a Best Picture Oscar contender. Remember “Crash” was supposed to have tapped a national nerve? But if you simply look at the numbers, “Brokeback” has made close to $20 million more than that inferior film.
And yet, the the USA Today published a story: ‘Brokeback Mountain’: Milestone or movie of the moment? which starts with the premise: “Not that many people have seen it,” and later, the film has been “seen by fewer people in the three months since its release than who saw ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on television last week.” But there are hundreds of Hollywood movies that haven’t been seen by primetime TV-level audiences. According to Box Office Mojo, “Brokeback” ranks 33rd at the annual box office so far at over $72 million, well above such mass-market pictures as “Guess Who,” “Jarhead,” “Red Eye,” “Sahara,” and “White Noise.” It’s also a drama, and as such, beats every other drama at the box office (except maybe Walk the Line.) And by the end of its run, boostered by a few Oscars, it will probably exceed “March of the Penguins,” that other little movie that everyone said had captured the hearts and minds of Americans. So if that’s the case, why can’t the media just accept it: “Brokeback” broke through.