My blogging friend Egghead23 had a great post on September 19 about that new movie, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." When she first wrote about this, I thought it was a remake of that great 80s classic "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," one of my all-time favorite movies. Alas, something tells me that the Chihuahua is not even in the same doggie-park with Mike the Dog. (Extra credit to whomever can provide the dog's name from "Down and Out" without checking IMDB.com or some other such site.)
Anyway, on page A4 of my local newspaper today, there's mention that "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" was (and I quote) "top dog at weekend box office." For the second straight week. This weekend alone, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" brought in $17.5 million. Since it opened a mere 10 days ago, it's made $52.5 million. As Egghead23 shared, that's about what it cost to make the flick, give or take a million or two.
Also in my very same local newspaper - right on the next page - we have this AP article: Bailout Numbers Boggle Minds of Most Americans.
I'll tell you what boggles the mind of this American. Have you been to the movies lately? Our family hasn't. Why? Because if our family of four wished to go to "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," it would cost us $30.00 just to walk in the door - not including the requisite snacks and drinks that the kids would need to have.
$30 is what it costs me to fill the tank of my minivan - halfway. $30 is what we tend to give in three weeks as an offering to our church. $30 is what I will likely spend on fresh fruit and produce at the farm this week.
The thinking behind the success of "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" is that Americans needed an escape from the dismal financial news of late. Hell, nobody can argue with that. The issue is not that we need an escape - but it's how we choose to escape. Take that $30 and use it for a family outing at a state park, a day trip to the beach if you're close enough, or as your registration fee for a charitable walk-a-thon or some such event. Use it towards a yearly membership to your local zoo. Buy some bulbs and spend time as a family planting a spring garden. The possibilities for escape are endless.
When enough Americans have enough money to support "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" to the tune of $52.5 million dineros, that tells me that we've still got our priorities screwed up.
As David Carr writes in this piece in the New York Times, "[t]he fact that “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” has topped the box office for two weeks running and has taken in over $52 million may be one of the signs of the apocalypse, but not the kind that has anything to do with credit default swaps."