Grover Norquist: president of Americans for Tax Reform, anti-communism operative, Republican activist, film buff.
In a crowded media environment, Norquist tells HOH that the new movie “Won’t Back Down,” which opens Friday in theaters, has the potential to become a significant part of the 2012 presidential campaign between President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
“Watch how that plays out,” he says of the Maggie Gyllenhaal/Viola Davis vehicle about fed-up parents taking on the entrenched bureaucracy of their kids’ school.
But could the movie, coming at the height of the presidential campaign, have a political effect? After all, it’s not the only movie out there exploring political themes, such as the currently playing “2016” that posits what Obama would do with a second term or the second part of the “Atlas Shrugged” trilogy that is slated for release next month.
But “Won’t Back Down” is targeted at a mass audience, and its political message is wrapped in the saga of a sympathetic heroine: Gyllenhaal’s hard-working single mom.
“That’s gonna have a lot more impact on how people see the world than 2016,” which is seen by “only the guys that already don’t like Obama.” Norquist said he had talked to the movie’s producers and touted the $25 million advertising budget that will promote it.
The movie can be seen as the fictional companion to “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary about education reform from the same studio.
It has drawn protests from teachers unions, and some critics have dinged the polemical screenplay even while praising the film’s production values. The Los Angeles Times reports that the movie’s opening weekend box office expectations “remain soft, with the $19-million movie on track to pull in less than $5 million when it opens against the sci-fi time travel film ‘Looper’ and the animated comedy ‘Hotel Transylvania.'”