Monday, October 05, 2009

Capitalism Allows This: 97.3% Gross Profit Margin; Should There Be a Windfall Profits Tax on This?

Michael Moore: Capitalism did nothing for me.

According to
Box Office Mojo, Michael Moore's movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" had a worldwide gross of $222,446,882, with a production budget of only $6,000,000. That's a gross profit margin of 97.3%, and a gross return on investment of 3,607% (not all for Michael Moore, since there were obviously distribution costs and payments to theaters, etc.). Not sure if that sets any kind of profit record for a movie, but it's a pretty impressive, eye-popping profit margin and ROI, and the kind of capitalist return on a movie that a Cuban filmaker would only dream about.

HT: Argonaut

Update: As MJD suggests in the comments, perhaps Michael Moore should be investigated for making "windfall profits" on this movie.


At 10/05/2009 8:26 AM, Blogger Paul said...

I'm proud to say not one cent of my money has ever made it into the pocket of his XXXXXXXL jeans.

At 10/05/2009 9:04 AM, Anonymous Rand said...

Or as Michael Moore might say, "I've got mine, to h*** with you!".

At 10/05/2009 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to see Roger & Me and thought it was great documentary film-making. I also paid to see Bowling for Columbine.

Being a moderately informed person, I immediately recognized the numerous errors and outright deceptions in this "documentary". I was terribly disappointed by this film and began to suspect that Roger & Me probably had the same problems... which it did.

I've not wasted a single penny on Michael Moore since then.

At 10/05/2009 9:20 AM, Blogger David Foster said...

I'm sure this vile movie was a very profitable film, but your ROI calculation appears to have some holes in it. Does't "gross" refer to gross receipts at the box office? Some portion of this money is retained by the theater owner: the film producer doesn't get it all. There may be other intermediaries in the chain as well.

At 10/05/2009 9:35 AM, Blogger marketdoc said...

For someone who would like a lesson on whether Moore's socialistic ideals are superior to a free enterprise system, may I suggest another movie-- Dr. Zhivago-- a timeless classic set around the 1917 Russian Revolution. Socialism is portrayed at its best (and worst.)

At 10/05/2009 10:12 AM, Anonymous Predator said...


First of all, don't ever expect accurate calculations or analysis of anything here.

Second, don't fail to see the main point, which is correct no matter how fouled up the analysis is: that $6 million in expenses generated a hell of a lot of revenue.

"Capitalism did nothing for me" is the most ignorant and intellectually dishonest statement ever made. His waistline is the most obvious evidence to the contrary. The correct statement would be "Socialism did nothing for me" since the porculent bastard never lived in a socialist country and never will.

At 10/05/2009 10:16 AM, Anonymous Tibalt said...

Bowling for Columbine was the last Moore film I ever saw too. Practically every statement of fact was false, factual data was misrepresented, and the logic was convoluted.

Aside from a waste of money, a Moore film is a waste of three hours of your life.

At 10/05/2009 10:37 AM, Blogger QT said...


Good for you. Testing the data for accuracy and bias, and being prepared to change one's mind if new information comes to light, are the essence of critical thinking in an age where one is bombarded with information.

All too often, we accept information based upon our opinion of the speaker rather than looking critically at the substance of the message.

Kudos :)


Reading books by leading historians and/or accessing original source documents offers far greater insight into the complexity of historical events than celluloid. Images are powerful and can influence our perceptions in ways that are very subtle.

Movies generally don't do history very well and if they did, the results would likely be too horrific to watch. These vehicles are primarily about entertainment not historical accuracy.

At 10/05/2009 12:21 PM, Blogger marketdoc said...

Unfortunately, Moore's latest movie is not even entertaining. It is more like a total waste of time. Many factual based stories have been brilliant on the large screen.

At 10/05/2009 12:52 PM, Blogger QT said...

I agree. Das Boot, Saving Private Ryan seem to spring most readily to mind. There are certain things that one cannot imagine like on D-Day.

My father was a WWII vet and described seeing an endless stream of wave upon wave of planes as though they would go on forever. He could not watch Private Ryan. He just said "I don't have to see the movie. I lived it".

At 10/05/2009 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the previews, I gather that Michael Moore's idea of "capitalism" is that the government bails out banks at the expense of the tax payers. I think he's a little confused.

At 10/05/2009 2:06 PM, Anonymous Benny "The Tell It LIke It Is Man" said...

This was a great film. Seeing the Bush family in a love-fest with Saudi royalty--the szme guys who finance an international system of terror schools--was great. In early indication of the role Bush would play to protect the Saudi throne against any US investigation.
Let's ee" Saudis finance madrassas gloablly, teach hate, and 19 of the 23 guys on 9/11 were Saudi--but we invade Iraq. Oh, that makes sense.
Hey, give the Fay Guy credit--he makes great films. You may disagree with him, but at least he is thinking.

At 10/05/2009 2:27 PM, Blogger QT said...


I agree that Michael Moore seems to be tapping into the anger that people have towards the bailouts and corporate wrongdoers.

To associate criminal behavior at Enron with capitalism is like suggesting that every man is a latent wife beater, rapist and/or child molester. One cannot judge the spectrum of private enterprise by the criminal actions of a Bernie Ebbers or by actions taken to avert a collapse in the global financial markets.

The film is therefore not about capitalism at all but about the ability of a filmmaker to exploit the emotions of his audience. Not much different from a Lee Atwater

Film is a medium that easily lends itself to manipulation of information and emotion.

At 10/05/2009 3:22 PM, Blogger QT said...


So...the House of Saud & the Bush administration...relevance to topic of the day "capitalism"?

Perhaps, we should review the definition of the word in question:

Capitalism typically refers to an economic and social system in which the means of production (also known as capital) are privately controlled; labor, goods and capital are traded in a market; profits are distributed to owners or invested in new technologies and industries; and wages are paid to labor

You have the privilege of deciding what goods/services you wish to consume. If that's Michael Moore, enjoy but...don't ask me to go to the pics with you.

At 10/05/2009 3:44 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

Sadly, Michael Moore's propaganda films have far greater effect than well reasoned tomes that we wish all would read. Maybe we need a "Fairness Doctrine" for movies!

I wonder how the Left would feel about THAT idea?

Sadly, they'd support it -- knowing full well that the "Progressives" would probably dominate the bureaucrats overseeing the program.

At 10/05/2009 3:47 PM, Anonymous Benny The Real Libertarian said...

It was a great film!
Did you see it? Or (as I suspect) are you panning it just because you think a "liberal" made it?
And, do you not think a film can be "great", even if it presents a view different from your own?

Here is my view: There are so, so many mindless films made, lightly entertaining, about guys with guns who drive fast cars and shoot at other guys with guns. Or second-rate love stories.

Michael Moore's films at least address serious topics. Are they fair? Do they have errors? No, and yes.

Hey, give unto us a libertarian filmaker who will address these same issues in a lively way, and I will go to her/his films too.

At 10/05/2009 3:50 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

In this day and age, one near-universal characteristic misapplied to "capitalism" is government subsidies -- and protection from market failure.

No, that's not capitalism in theory and in the neutral textbooks (ARE there any neutral economics textbooks still out there?). But as we know, these government subsidies do exist everywhere in our "free market" economy.

I guess we "free market" types must continue to educate the public as to the stark difference between the capitalism ideal and the bastard son who lives in our home today.

At 10/05/2009 3:54 PM, Anonymous MJD said...

I think this warrants a congressional investigation into Michael Moore's "windfall profits", to determine if a higher tax should be levied on him.

At 10/05/2009 5:02 PM, Blogger QT said...


You're right I haven't seen Michael's latest saga. I have seen some of his other works and the preview did not suggest that I would enjoy the movie.

I don't care for blowhards of any stripe and the idea of being cooped up in a theatre for 3 hours with an ego-manical Moore isn't my idea of fun. If I understand correctly, you think that his message has value because he is exposing corruption.

I would agree that investigative journalism is very important in a democracy. I believe there is, however, a distinction between presenting facts and multiple points of view allowing viewers to come to their own conclusions and the very heavy handed approach taken by some in the media.

If I didn't like liberal film-makers, it is unlikely that I would have watched thousands of movies, documentaries, or public affairs programming.

At 10/05/2009 6:52 PM, Anonymous Benny Free Marketeer Man said...

I thought we were discussing his Farenheit movie, which was a lot of fun.
Anyway, go see my comemnts about rural telephone subs in the latest post.

At 10/05/2009 7:41 PM, Blogger QT said...


Sorry, I guess I'm off topic. Was thinking that Fahrenheit 911 profits were being commentary on the new film, Capitalism. Agree with several posters who have said that the profit does not include all of the costs of distribution.

If one is going to criticize, one should at least get the #'s right.

Re: rural telephone subsidies. I think I conceded that you were right..there are rural subsidies for telephone service. Will take a look when I get a chance.

At 10/05/2009 8:51 PM, Anonymous Minty said...

Some people need to re-learn the definition of capitalism: left, right, and libertarian.

Capitalism is an economic system where the means of production are privately owned. The definition says nothing about government intervention although increasing levels of intervention amount to "control" which obviates the rights of ownership.

To deny the existence of market failures and the potential for government to deal with them, as authorized in the Constitution, in the absence of a decentralized solution is to turn away the past 50 years of microeconomic research. That government often does a poor job of mitigating market failures is quite evident.


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