Who fell the hardest for the dopey yet soporific movie version of "The Da Vinci Code?"
Because "The Da Vinci Code" was released almost simultaneously around the world, it's relatively simple to calculate which countries blew more of their available money on this nonsense. All we have to do is compare the film's box office haul through its first two weekends across 56 countries versus each country's Gross Domestic Product to award the coveted title of the Nation Most Easy to Fleece.
The four most credulous countries, finishing in a near dead heat, turn out to be Iceland, Denmark, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Each spent about 90 percent more than North America on "Da Vinci Code" tickets relative to their GDPs. Then come Spain, New Zealand, Bolivia, Greece, Mexico, Australia, and the UK, all spending at least an index of 157 where the US/Canada (the "domestic market" for movies) is 100.
The least credulous country of all those reporting box office revenue was Nigeria, which spent only $38,000 on "DVC" tickets out of a GDP of $99,000,000,000. Nigerian skepticism should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading their emails. Nigerians have been making up more plausible stories than "The Da Vinci Code" for years: you know, the ones beginning, "I am the unrecognized natural child of the deposed God-Emperor Mbubu." Nigerians want us to send them money in return for their storytelling creativity. They're not going to send us their money if the best we can come up with is "The Da Vinci Code."
|US / Canada||$136,513,000||13,615,933||100|
Overall, "The Da Vinci Code" has been a smash overseas, making $317 million through its first two weekends versus only $137 million in the US and Canada (which are combined into the "domestic market.")
It's striking how little difference there is in the Index figures around the world. You might think that, say, Venezuela, Germany, North America, and Thailand are culturally quite dissimilar and thus would likely react quite differently to "The Da Vinci Code." Yet they each spent almost an identical amount to see the film, relative to the size of their economies. It's a testament to globalization, although it's hard to avoid the phrase "lowest common denominator." A future in which everybody around the world rushes out to see the same new Hollywood tripe on the same day strikes me as a little dreary.
Notes: I somewhat arbitrarily adjusted the Index to account for the slightly different opening dates (e.g., Wednesday May 17 in France [multiplying revenue by .9545], Thursday May 18 in Germany [multiplying revenue by .975], Friday May 19 in America [leaving revenue the same], or Saturday May 20 in Japan [multiplying revenue by 1.1]). The last date included for each country was Sunday May 28. Countries with only one weekend reporting, such as India and Russia, were excluded. All revenue figures came from www.BoxOfficeMojo.com .
For more on "The Da Vinci Code," see my analysis of "DVC, Women, and Catholicism."
And here are excerpts from my review of the movie in The American Conservative: first and second.