Where they differ is in their political bias in how they present their stories, in which the post 9/11 U.S. war against terror is the backdrop. The Hurt Locker suggests that U.S. military servicemen conducting operations against terrorists are psychologically-impaired, irresponsible rogue elements who are dangers to themselves and others. Zero Dark Thirty portrays American spies and secret military operatives as devoted avengers of a horrific act of terror against the United States.
Same quality movie, made the most of the same people, different political bias. Our chart below shows the cumulative U.S. box office receipts as reported by Box Office Mojo for both The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty against the number of days since release in their original theater runs. We also show the inflation-adjusted box office for The Hurt Locker in terms of constant 2012 U.S. dollars:
Through their first 65 days of release, Zero Dark Thirty has made over seven times as much in U.S. box office receipts as did The Hurt Locker, with nearly $90 million in receipts just in the United States. That figure then represents the real difference between being pro and anti-American at the U.S. box office.
As for why Hollywood keeps making anti-American movies even though it would appear to cost them so much at the U.S. box office, well, when it comes to America, it seems they have other values....
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