A curious change has occurred in the way we regard films, politics, and life itself. Figures, statistics, polls, box office results, have taken on a new significance in the press, and I suppose, in the minds of many in the American public. When I was growing up in the dark ages, or, as I prefer to think of that time, a golden age, there was a place for the box office earnings of a film - and it was on the business page. Today, The New York Times, runs the box office figures of the latest film in the Arts section. The Arts section? Do millions of Americans really hold their collective breath waiting to discover if "The DaVinci Code " has made it to top place in the box office, or if it has earned in its first week the millions necessary to justify its enormous cost? Do I care what the gross is? Do you care? I doubt it. I do care if it's a good film, that if I go to see it, it won't waste two precious hours of my life. Quality no longer seems the big issue in entertainment - financial success is the key. Sure, if films fail at the box office it is more difficult for the artists and businessmen involved to get the financing for other films - but success and failure are not to be measured by the standards of The Wall Street Journal. So, I am truly grossed out by all the talk of grosses.
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