Too 'American' for the Globes?

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"United 93" might have nabbed the New York Film Critics Circle award, and "World Trade Center" might have gotten a lot of critical hoopla, but as their Golden Globe shutouts suggest, there might be some films that are a little too U.S.-centric for the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., let alone the rest of the world.

"I think there is an anti-American backlash out there, and people are looking for movies that are not U.S.-centric," says "Babel" producer Steve Golin.

Indeed, the Globes may be seen as Oscar's sillier, tackier cousin, but since the awards are chosen by journalists around the globe, they are a good window into what the rest of the world thinks about American pop culture. This year, the Globe nominations remind us that the list is long for exercises in Americana that leave the rest of the world cold.

Who outside of the American South loves NASCAR? Apparently no one. "Talledega Nights" earned $148 million here but only a measly $14 million abroad. While the NASCAR-lite themed "Cars" was certainly a hit, it reversed Pixar's long-running trend of boasting bigger international box office than domestic box office.

Ditto for the mom-and-apple-pie "Superman Returns," which, unlike most superhero tent poles, did better in the U.S. than abroad, and "Little Miss Sunshine," about the curiously American phenomenon of child beauty pageants, which enchanted U.S. moviegoers so much that box office receipts were double what they were for the rest of the world. And poor George Reeves, the man who once played Superman: His tale as portrayed in "Hollywoodland" earned $14 million on his home turf but a mere $244,583 around the world.

At least there's some consolation for Ben Affleck, who played Reeves, and "Little Miss Sunshine" — they received nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. As did two works that remembered America at times of historical glory— the TV-movie western "Broken Trail" and "Bobby" — set on the eve of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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