Anti-Teachers' Union Film Is Biggest Flop in Decades


I really do love actresses Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhall (still pulling for an Oscar for Davis), but in this case, I'm not particularly sorry to hear that "Won't Back Down"--widely derided as a piece of blatant anti-union propaganda pushed into being by corporate reformers--did not sit well with critics or audiences.

In fact the film, which chronicles parents taking a school over from the teachers union, has now vaulted into history (or at least until it gets surpassed) as the worst opening weekend of all time for its distribution size.

Maybe the poor opening was because no one, parents least of all, wanted to see a film that simplified a complex issue like their kids' education.

Or maybe it because the film only has a 34% fresh rating at Rottentomatoes, with many critics saying they'd be a bit more willing to excuse the anti- union talking points if they were embedded in an actually decent film. Quoth the critic from the LA Times: "This poor film is so shamelessly manipulative and hopelessly bogus it will make you bite your tongue in regret and despair." Ouch.

As a parent and education blogger in NYC noted this week, no amount of corporate effort and cash could save this film from itself: 

All the advance screenings sponsored by astroturf corp reform groups and the film's distributor, Rupert Murdoch, the big push by CBS and Walmart, the promotion by NBC's Education Nation, the multi-million dollar advertising campaign financed by right-wing producer Philip Anschutz, and Students First sending in their staffers to write glowing reviews didn't bring people into the theaters. 

Read Liza Featherstone's fabulous takedown of the film from Dissent magazine here at AlterNet.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}