I recently read a review of a new documentary that addresses the housing issues and racism of the American suburbs. This led me to a question: do Americans in a largely suburban country watch films that directly criticize the suburbs?
I made a list of the first movies that came to mind as being known for their critique of suburban life. I have also included their box office earnings:
American Beauty – 1999 – $356 million
Far From Heaven – 2002 – $29 million
Pleasantville – 1998 – $49 million
Revolutionary Road – 2008 – $75 million
Stepford Wives – 1975 and 2004 – $4 million, $102 million
This is not an exhaustive list at all though it does quickly become tricky to determine whether a film is truly about suburbia and its way of life or the plot is simply set there.
Two quick thoughts:
- There is clearly an audience for such films. Not all of them were blockbusters but they made decent money.
- Some more data would be useful such as how much money was made on each film and how these box office figures compare to other films of their time.
Based on the research I have done on suburban-set popular television shows, I would guess television shows that try to critique suburbia do not tend to be popular.