First Man was a gigantic flop at the box office, coming in well below expectations, with just a $16.2 million opening weekend. It reportedly cost $60 million to make and earned just $16.2 million at 3,521 venues in its opening weekend
At worst, the story of Neil Armstrong’s historic trip to the moon was projected to do much better, anywhere between $19 million and $21 million.
Keep in mind, though, that those projections are usually downplayed as a means to save face and to inspire free publicity when a film over-performs.
In other words, $16 million is a catastrophe for a movie that probably cost $100 million to $125 million to produce and publicize.
Directed by Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle, First Man roared out of elite film festivals with a ton of buzz and rave reviews. The movie took a big tumble, though, when moviegoers learned that one of the most iconic moments of the last century was arrogantly removed for touchy-feely and oh-so woke globalist purposes.
First Man tells the story of astronaut Armstrong and the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that ensured his place in history as the first man to walk on the moon. This was not only a triumph for Armstrong, his pilot Buzz Aldrin, and NASA, it was the single most important moment of the Space Race, which itself was a hugely important battle in the overall Cold War.
In the late ’50s and early ’60s, the Soviets were kicking American butt, which was a much bigger deal than a blow to U.S. pride. After Russia launched the first satellite and man into space, it was President John F. Kennedy who understood the existential stakes and directed NASA to do the impossible.
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,”Kennedy famously said in late 1962.
But in a Special Message to Congress the previous year, just months after assuming office, Kennedy made clear to lawmakers that the Space Race was something bigger than bragging rights.
“If we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take,” Kennedy wrote.
“Now it is time to take longer strides — time for a great new American enterprise — time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth,” he added.
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