Could a celebrity’s criticism of a political party (or rather, a faction) hurt the box office of the project? Some have speculated that recent comments by Morgan Freeman, accusing the Tea Party of being racist, may have hurt ticket sales for Dolphin Tale, a film he is prominently featured in, especially for the film’s ads.
Last Friday, Freeman went on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight and denied he’d provided narration for a Tea Party-supported Republican candidate’s attack ad last November. Afterwards, the Oscar winner called the Tea Party’s virulent ambitions of opposing President Obama’s at all cost, racist. “Their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term,” Freeman said. “What underlines that? ‘Screw the country. We’re going to whatever we can to get this Black man outta here.’” Freeman called the Tea Party’s agenda as showing “the weak, dark, underside of America.”
Freeman’s statement caused a buzz on the web, with some speculating that his criticism of the Republican faction would hurt Dolphin Tale at the box office, especially in the heartland. Andrew Kosove, co-founder of Alcon Entertainment, which produced the film, expected the movie to win the box office race but it finished number three.
To speculation that Freeman’s interview was the cause of Dolphin Story not being number one, Kosove told Deadline: “As far as Morgan, I don’t need to be 'off the record.' (I am not really an 'off the record' kind of guy). I do not believe it affected Dolphin Tale‘s gross by even one dollar! I do not share Morgan’s view and do not believe this kind of harsh partisanship by either end of political spectrum is helpful in these very difficult times. That said, as a person who has some libertarian viewpoints myself, I STRONGLY believe in Morgan’s right to express whatever beliefs he has on any topic. We are a free country…thank God!"
(Photo: Phil McCarten/PictureGroup)