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From mkelley@U.Arizona.EDU Tue Apr 16 18:41:08 PDT 1996
Article: 31539 of alt.revisionism
From: Marty Kelley 
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Repost: Tom Moran's Lies about _Schindler's List_: A FAQ
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 12:11:26 -0700
Organization: The University of Arizona
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(Note: Calling this document a "FAQ" seems a bit odd, since the only
person who's Frequently been Asked Questions about this topic has been
Tom Moran.  But since his answers have been consistently evasive and
untrue, here's a Factual FAQ to present the truth about Mr. Moran's false
claims about _Schindler's List_)
In one of his earliest posts to alt.revisionism, Tom Moran asserted that
despite having won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, the
1993 film _Schindler's List_ was, in his words "a bomb."  When I included
this claim in a post called "To Err is Moran," and noted that the film
had actually made $110 million in its U.S. theatrical release alone, Mr.
Moran again claimed that the movie had been unpopular with the public. He
          "Schindler's List" was a bomb. Only two weeks and 50,000 people
     after opening in Europe - venidos. After only two weeks on the
     circuit in the U.S. - venidos. You say it grossed over 100,000,000
     dollars? You mean they were in for the money? Anyway, how would we
     check it out for truth.
And so I went off in search of some information.  First off, let's
examine Mr. Moran's "proof" for his assertion that _Schindler's List_ was
a bomb.  In a January 22, 1996 post replying to my request that he
document his claim that _Schindler's List_ closed in the U.S. after only
two weeks, Mr. Moran wrote:
          When the movie was still in it's propsal stage, it strated to
     get coverage in the N.Y., L.A. Times. AS it went into production it
     was followed the whole time. Then it got the Academy Award sweep.
     Then their were reports about how it was doing in Europe. Not too
     good. The article blamed it on it being in black and white, it's
     three hour length, poor weather.
          There was only a couple of reports on it's popularity in the
     U.S. in the first week or so. It was being shown at a number of
     theatres in the area. Full page ads raged almost daily. With in two
     or three weeks it was gone from the marqis'. After that, it
     disappeared from the papers. No articles, no columns, no letters to
     the editor - venidos.
          Do I have documentation? No. Do I have the financial records to
     the movie company? No. Do I have the attendance record? No. Do I
     know the "box office" take? You gave that didn't you? Or maybe it
     was someone else. That was 100,000,000 dollars, a figure which was
     taken off some other group.
          Do I have documentation? No. All I have is the above. In all
     there were maybe 70 or 80 articles, ads, letters, columns, etc. in
     the L.A. Times, up to the time it flopped. Since then - ninguno. 
Two days later, in response to Richard Schultz's post citing the 1996
_World Almanac_ (Full citation below), Mr. Moran again insisted:
     Face up to it. It bombed. Splat. In N. Dakota, Oklahoma, the moon.
     Two weeks and it was gone. Fifty articles in the L.A. Times, to a
     certain date, then none. I don't know about whats on TV since I
     rarely watch it, but as the newspapers, only a whisper here and
This is apparently, to date, Mr. Moran's best "evidence" that _Shindler's
List was a failure--he saw a lot of articles and ads around the time of
the film's release, and didn't read much about it thereafter. Using those
purely inferential criteria, of course, one could claim that ALL movies
are failures: Disney's _Toy Story_, the top release of the 1995 Christmas
season, was heavily (and successfully) hyped, but since the publicity has
since died down, can we assume that the movie "flopped"?  Not by a long
shot.  Although _Toy Story_ is no longer the #1 movie in the country,
it's still chugging along and drawing in millions of dollars. 
So, how well DID _Schindler's List_ do at the box office?  With the
generous assistance of several alt.revisionism readers, especially Edward
J. Suranyi, who did exhaustive research in the publication of record for
the entertainment industry, _Variety_ magazine, I have put together the
following rebuttal of Mr. Moran's lies about the movie's performance:
This is the most easily-refuted of Mr. Moran's claims--all one has to do
is check the movie listings in newspapers during the time of _SL_'s
release. For instance, since Mr. Moran seems to like mentioning (but not
actually citing) the _Los Angeles Times_, we might note that it carried
listings for the film from its initial week in release (December 17,
1993, p. F6) to at least the end of June (June 24, 1994, p. F2), when the
film was still playing at 22 theaters in the Los Angeles area.  Let's
see...two weeks versus (at least) six and a half far off was
Mr. Moran for the L.A. market?
Further, the national release figures from _Variety_ tell a similar
story. According to _Variety_ for the week of August 1, 1994, by the time
_Schindler's List_ finally dropped out of the top 60 movies nationwide
(the point at which _Variety_ stops tracking a film's week-by-week
performance), it had been an unqualified success:
            Weeks in Top 60:  32
            Weeks in Top Ten: 21
So there you have it: it took a full thirty more weeks for the movie to
"disappear from the marquees" than Mr. Moran said it had.
Financially, _Schindler's List_ did quite well, thank you.  A movie is
generally considered to be a "blockbuster" if it makes around $100
million dollars, which _Schindler's List_ certainly did.  By the time it
dropped out of _Variety_'s top 60 in August 1994, it had made about $96
million in the U.S. and Canada.  As previously noted, Richard Schultz
posted, in reply to one of Mr. Moran's claims,
     I happened to see a copy of the 1996 "World Almanac and Book of
     Facts" and they had a list of "Top Movies of 1994."  According to
     that list, "Schindler's List" grossed $91.1 million dollars in 1994,
     and there was a footnote indicating that it had been released in
     1993, but the receipts from 1993 were not included in the total.  
     So now we have an official confirmation of another lie from Moran.
     Unless, of course, the "World Almanac" is part of the JOOSH
To this post, Mr. Moran (Jan 24) only repeated his assertion that the
film "bombed. Splat" and asked "Official"?  The "official" information
comes from where?" I'm not sure why Mr. Moran doesn't trust the World
Almanac, but if he has reason to think their totals are incorrect, he may
wish to take it up with them.
_Schindler's List_'s total revenues for its 1993-1994 U.S. release came
to well over $100 million, according to the 1995 _Variety_ Film Guide. 
(This would presumably include totals from second-run houses, college
campuses, special engagements for private groups, and so on).  
In comparison to other films, _Schindler's List_ was #13 in domestic box
office gross for 1994, even excluding the revenue it collected during its
limited-major-cities release at the end of 1993.  Only one other film
released in 1993 did better than _Schindler's List_ in 1994: _Mrs.
Doubtfire_, which was #9. (Source: _Variety_ (January 30 - February 5,
1995) p. 17; information contributed by Raymond Lahey, Jan. 3 1996 e-mail
to me)
Not bad for a film that cost $22 million to make, I'd say.  If Mr. Moran
still wants to contend that a gross return that's five times the initial
cost of production constitutes a "bomb," I'm sure there are plenty of
directors who would dearly love to have such a "bomb." (Actually, of
course, the gross box-office receipts don't equal an exact five-fold
return on the investment: distributors and theater owners take their cut,
plus taxes, and so on...nevertheless, a $100 million gross on a $22
million film is impressive by any standard.)
Here are the figures for _Schindler's List_'s performance in several
European countries and a few cities, as culled from _Variety_ magazine by
Ed Suranyi.  (These are totals; Mr. Suranyi also sent me the week-by-week
figures for North America and Europe; I'd be happy to forward those to
anyone who requests them.)  If, as Mr. Moran asserts, only 50,000 people
in all of Europe saw _Schindler's List_, those 50,000 folks would have
had to do a lot of travelling, not to mention paying a few hundred
dollars per ticket, to account for the numbers reported by _Variety_.
U.K./Ireland: Total Gross: 19.98 million dollars
              Weeks in Top Ten: 17
              Weeks at No. One: 6
France:   Total Gross: 14.95 million dollars
          Weeks in Top Ten: 14
          Weeks at No. One: 2
Germany:  Total Gross: 36.61 million dollars
          Weeks in Top Ten: 16
          Weeks at No. One: 7 or 8 (one week in the middle
          of the string of first places is missing)
Holland:  Total Gross: 1.71 million dollars
          Weeks in Top Ten: 21
          Weeks at No. One: 8
Italy:    Total Gross: 11.09 million dollars
          Weeks in Top Ten: 10
          Weeks at No. One: 4
Madrid:   Total Gross: 1.26 million dollars
          Weeks in Top Ten: 12
          Weeks at No. One: 2
Sweden:   Total Gross: 4.06 million dollars
          Weeks in Top Ten: 25
          Weeks at No. One: 8 or 9 (one week in the middle
          of the string of first places is missing)
Zurich:   Total Gross: 870 thousand dollars
          Weeks in Top Ten: 17
          Weeks at No. One: 5
That's an estimated total of $90.5 million dollars in Europe, folks. 
Again, I think most producers would be fairly pleased to have such a
"bomb" at the box office.
I'll grant Mr. Moran the benefit of the doubt on this error of his,
since, unlike his assertions about the movie's popularity and the time it
was in general release, it's not clear that he's actually lying.  He
could very well simply be misinterpreting the significance of the data. 
In making his incorrect assertion that the movie's performance in Europe
was "not good," Mr. Moran said that an "article" (which he never
identified) "blamed it on it being in black and white, it's three hour
length, poor weather" (Jan. 22 post).  
I recall seeing articles which mentioned the first two factors as well--
but they were not cited as excuses for poor box-office performance. 
Rather, the reports I recall noted that _Schindler's List_ was doing a
very brisk business *despite* those factors, which often scare off a lot
of viewers.  As Raymond Lahey noted in his Jan. 3 e-mail to me, "One of
the factors that did keep the box office returns on SL from being higher
was the length of the film.  Many screens had only one or two showings a
day"  Again, that's not an excuse for poor performance--as I've already
established, the movie performed quite well.  It's simply an economic
fact that even a very popular three-hour movie (which _SL_ was) can only
be shown twice per screen in an evening, whereas a very popular 90-minute
or two-hour movie can be shown three times.  
This FAQ has provided documented evidence that concretely refutes Tom
Moran's claims that _Schindler's List_ "bombed" in North America and
Europe.  Why would Mr. Moran claim that the movie was a failure when it
was, by every available measure, an unqualified success?  One can only
guess.  However, in other threads on alt.revisionism, Mr. Moran has
claimed that Jews have special access to the major media (his term is
that they are "given the usual accomodation"). To judge from Mr. Moran's
posts, he appears to believe that newspapers and other media colluded to
promote _Schindler's List_, and he appears to believe that the publicity
surrounding the release of the film, as well as its overwhelmingly
positive critical reception, was part of an orchestrated Jewish strategy
to fool people into thinking positively of the movie. In Mr. Moran's
eyes, then, the "failure" of _Schindler's List_ may represent the
successful resistance of non-Jews to a coordinated Jewish plot to
inundate the world with what he calls "Holocaust propaganda."  (I believe
he wrote in one post that moviegoers refused to "believe the hype" about
the film.)  Ironically, Mr. Moran's claims are out of synch with those of
many other Holocaust deniers, who tend to claim that the success of
_Schindler's List_ is evidence of a "Holocaust industry."
Mr. Moran has acknowledged already that he has no documented evidence to
support his assertion that _Schindler's List_ "bombed."  All that remains
now, is for him to acknowledge that he was not truthful, and to retract
his claims about the film.  Surely, since he has stated elsewhere that he
is willing to "recognize his errs" (sic), he will do so in this case.

Marty Kelley  (mkelley@U.Arizona.EDU)

"We are now living in an era where the wall between news and 
entertainment has been eaten away like the cartilage 
in David Crosby's septum."
	--Al Franken, in _Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot_

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