Friday, May 24, 2024

Bruce Springsteen’s “Western Stars” Box Office Bomb: Highly Praised Documentary May Have Been Hurt by Boss’s Anti-Trump Rhetoric


Warner Bros. lavished attention and money on Bruce Springsteen’s “Western Stars,” that’s for sure. The Boss’s first directorial effort, with Thom Zimny, was brought to the Toronto Film Festival, shown in Asbury Park, and given many premieres.

But the Springsteen audience may have been a little drained after the long and incredibly successful run of Bruce’s “Springsteen on Broadway.” After all, there’s just so much money to spend on any artist, even our favorite.

“Western Stars” was a bust in movie theaters over the weekend. It brought in just $530,000, or $1,000 per screen. You could see it on Fandango: just apathy from fans in New Jersey and New York. That’s even with releasing “Rhinestone Cowboy” as an extra, non sequitir track.

Was it over-saturation? Or was it Bruce’s Trump bashing? I like it, but this could be a real sign that audiences–whether they hate Trump or tolerate him– don’t want their rock stars’ invective ruining their cultural appreciations.

Ironically, Springsteen’s interview with CBS Sunday Morning was knocked out by Trump’s crazy rant this morning about the killing of ISIS leader Baghdadi.  The press went out for it anyway, with Springsteen criticizing Trump. A lot of his fans don’t even realize how liberal and anti-Trump Bruce is, which is weird, but there it is.

Conversely, “Western Stars” and its new soundtrack are a hit on amazon as CDs. I think that album deserves a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, and “There Goes My Miracle” should get a Best Song nomination. It’s a tremendous piece of work.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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