"White House Down" earned a disappointing $24.8 million during its opening weekend (less, as it turns out, than "Battleship" did after its debut), and now conservative pundits are cheering the film's failure as a victory.
"In the eyes of Hollywood, the military is an all-white, all-male organization so dedicated to unfocused imperialism that it is willing to commit mass murder of fellow Americans for the chance to die in some Middle East hellhole," wrote Townhall.com columnist Kurt Schlichter about the plot of "White House Down," which finds the president (played by Jamie Foxx) under literal siege after a group of old, white conservative politicians become unhappy with his decision to withdraw troops from the Middle East. "Who needs to risk getting a mouthful of fist by spitting on our soldiers in-person when you can do it safely from on-screen? If you spend one damn cent on this crap, you’re spitting on our troops too." Schlichter, it should be noted, wrote that he didn't actually see "White House Down."
One conservative reviewer who did, however, was Christian Toto. Writing for Brietbart, Toto noted that "White House Down" furthers director Roland Emmerich's "ideological sludge" while also slamming "conservatives, the 'military industrial complex,' defense contractors and any politician who thinks it might not be wise to withdraw all troops from the Middle East." The headline on Toto's review calls "White House Down" "unrelenting liberal propaganda."
For his part, Emmerich -- who previously directed "The Day After Tomorrow," a global warming cautionary tale masquerading as a summer blockbuster -- was prepared for attacks from the right. Emmerich told HuffPost Live that he was "excited" about the prospect of bad reviews from Fox News, and that he would even go on the network to discuss "White House Down" if someone called. "To promote the movie, I will talk to everybody," he joked. Not that he was waiting by the phone: Emmerich said he was banned from the network after "Day After Tomorrow" was released.
Perhaps in response to the slings and arrows from conservative pundits, Sony announced Tuesday that all active military personnel and veterans will be able to see "White House Down" for free on July 4 -- at least while ticket supplies last.
“We think 'White House Down' is the summer’s best action movie," Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures, told THR in a statement. "[Seeing 'White House Down'] is a great way to celebrate the holiday and to honor and thank the troops for their service to our country."
For more on the conservative backlash to "White House Down," head to THR.