If Secretariat, the horse, was still alive today, and if the thoroughbred received a visitor who happened to have boxofficemojo.com bookmarked on his laptop, the visitor might well turn to the horse and say, “Why the long Facebook?”
To which Secretariat might well bite the visitor on the nose and go back to munching his oats.
Would Secretariat be simply put off because of the Richter-level lameness of the joke? Or might he be just a bit peeved that The Social Network topped the box office for the second straight week?
The much ballyhooed Network outran a couple of newcomers and won the box-office derby by a length, collecting $15.5 million in the process. Life as We Know It, Katherine Heigl’s newest interchangeable romcom, came in second with $14.6 million. And Secretariat—who, when the horse was racing, was always something as a slow starter—moseyed into third with $12.6 million.
Secretariat actually performed better than some had thought it might—the estimates I had seen had the horse film finishing with around $10 mil through the opening weekend—but I was kinda disappointed with the results, because I think Secretariat deserves better. While The Social Network has already garnered some Oscar buzz, it’s the sort of film that speaks to the head, not the heart. Secretariat, meanwhile, inspires. Secretariat moves. I had the opportunity to talk to director Randall Wallace a bit about the film (look for a special podcast soon), and he was such a nice, sincere guy that it made me root for this project even more. Disney has said that Secretariat‘s an example of the sort of movie they’d like to make in the future. I worry that, without some box-office oomph to bolster its strategy, they may recant.
While I find it a little odd that Disney worked so hard to woo Christians to the film (outside a couple of quotations from Job, there’s nothing explicitly Christian about Secretariat), there’s little question that this is the sort of movie that, in my reading, Christians, and families in general, been asking for: a film high on art, low on problematic content and with the rare ability to make you smile when you’re on you’re way home.