Let's Talk About "Love, Simon's " Cultural Influence
We are entering the fourth weekend since the release of Love, Simon, and it’s a good time to look at how the film has performed both financially and socially.
First, we have to look at the film’s Box Office records. As stated in an earlier article, the film opened with a so-so box office of about $11.5 million. This is neither a major success nor a major failure. In fact, its just as middling as the angle in which the film was promoted.
What I mean by that, is that director Greg Berlanti hoped that the film would subtlety open the door for more gay representation and inclusion in Hollywood films. As he told IndieWire, he once had to fight for a gay kiss on popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek, which then helped open the door for gay characters and stories in American television.
“I went from executives telling me, ‘You’re not allowed to have a gay kiss. If you’re gonna have a gay kiss, you have to shoot it from across the street.’ To within five years—’Wait a minute, why would you cut away here? Wouldn’t the characters kiss?’ And I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, sure. I’ll go back and put a gay kiss in the scene.'”
“In TV, when we were trying to do certain kinds of LGBT representation over the last 15 years, walls started to fall, then they fell really fast. And we were able to get more and more specific with the storytelling. Cinema has always been at the forefront of that stuff. But I don’t think that mainstream studios have been.”
His hope was that by presenting Love, Simon as a typical teen rom-com, it could discreetly present a precedent for future films with gay characters to come.
Though, perhaps Love, Simon failed Greg Berlanti’s plan in the most pleasant way. You see, the film has been holding incredibly strong in the following two weeks after its initial release. The film held an impressive 34% hold in its second week and a respectable 37% hold in its third week of release.
In addition, the film has already made a profit. With a production budget of $17 million, the film had a relatively low number to overturn. Then, with a $33 million domestic box office record and a $1.6 million international box office, the film has made about $35 million worldwide.
On top of keeping a steady hold while in movie theaters, Love, Simon still has the potential to do well in the ancillary market.
Once the film leaves movie theaters, it’ll go over to Video-On-Demand and streaming platforms, DVD racks, airline galleries, and more.
\Let’s be honest, can you imagine yourself picking Love, Simon over another film while flying across the skies? I can, and hopefully many others will. This only means more money is on the horizon for the film.
But now, lets shift gears and look at Love, Simon’s cultural and social impact. As stated earlier, Greg Berlanti hoped for an eventual effect where future films will look at Love, Simon as an example. While that could still hold true, the film has also had some instant influence.
First, Love, Simon has inspired many celebrities to buy out theaters in order to help make the film accessible to others.
Not only did Greg Berlanti and his former soccer playing husband Robbie Rogers buy out theaters in Mississippi and Kentucky, but many other celebrities have done similar acts.
Part of the reason for this massive support by celebrities is the fact that the film stands for something bigger. Not only is the a film centering on a gay character, but it’s a solid film that isn’t being promoted as a movie just for gay people.
Love, Simon’s strength is in its relatability to all people who’ve had a crush or felt the pressure to present themselves differently in order to fit society’s standards. At the same time, the film’s message is that everyone ironically loves it went people are authentic and real.
In addition, the film’s focus on coming out is both familiar and refreshingly new. As many article writers have written before me, this a film that all youth should see (gay or otherwise).
This return to the classic “feel good movie” has also already helped others to come out and celebrate being LGBTQ. For instance, Love, Simon star Nick Robinson shared that a close family members of his came out thanks to the film.
In addition, the film has introduced us to gay actor Clark Moore who played openly gay character Ethan in the film. After the movie's release, Moore shared that he was honored to act as the type of gay teen he wishes he was back in High School.
Ultimately, Love, Simon started out as a film hoping to open doors through being relatively average in both box office numbers and presentation. Despite that, what we really got was a fantastic film with an A+ cinema score and a successful hold in movie theaters. On top of that, celebrities and movie-goers are praising the film with their wallets and their computer keyboards.
Love, Simon has done some great things, and we’re all thankful for it.