Civil War Movie Reaches #1 at the Box Office


The dystopian thriller movie “Civil War” was the top movie according to the receipts, hauling in an estimated $25.7 million in North American ticket sales on its first weekend.

  • According to exit polls, the audience was comprised mostly of males, at 70%, and with moderate or liberal political views.
  • The film is set in a near-immediate future when the United States is at war with itself, with journalists as the protagonists, and militia members trying to prevent them from traveling to D.C. to interview the authoritarian president before his regime falls.

A group of secessionist states known as the Western Forces, led by Texas and California, has been battling an authoritarian president (Nick Offerman) who is serving a third term, has disbanded the FBI and physically attacks his political enemies. (The movie takes pains to pretend it’s not an allegory about Trump, but it opens with Offerman giving a distinctly Trumpian speech on the eve of a fight: “Some are already calling it the greatest victory in the history of mankind.”)

Alex Garland’s production has mostly been discussed as a reflection of, and a warning about, America’s current partisan divisions, but Garland has purportedly taken pains to avoid labels and judgements.

When armed troops finally breach the Oval Office, you don’t know whether you’re witnessing a victory over tyranny, the beginning of a new one, or both.  Mkay.

These are the moments journalism exists to contextualize, not record with the neutrality of a security camera. The only shock comes from witnessing what amounts to a replay of Jan. 6 and realizing you feel nothing at all.


Politico, CNN, NYT