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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Leonardo DiCaprio's Eco Movie Bombs

Leo's Eco Movie Bombs

It's a good thing Leonardo DiCaprio made so much money from "Titanic" a decade ago.
al documentary, "The 11th Hour," has been a total bust at the box office. After 18 days in release, the film has grossed only $417,913 from ticket sales. The 90-minute snore-fest is playing on 111 screens this week, but that number is likely to be reduced this Friday. The film will be sent to DVD heaven after that.

By comparison, Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim's similar but far more engaging "An Inconvenient Truth" had already made $3.5 million by its 18th day of release.

I hesitated to say before "11th Hour" actually opened how mind-numbingly dull it was for fear that I would ruin it for those interested in the subject of global warming. But at Cannes, when the film by Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen was shown to journalists, nearly the entire room fell asleep.

A Russian filmmaker told us afterward that she was the only person in the room who was awake at one point.

I can believe it. "The 11th Hour" is grindingly boring. Basically, a series of scientists, one after another, warn the audience that the world is coming to an end. These talking heads are interspersed with stock footage of melting glaciers. The film has the effect of Ambien — with no hangover post-nap.

And this certainly is not meant to belittle the idea of global warming on my part. Last week, we met an Australian civil engineer whose specialty is the environment. He told us he had just flown over Mount Kilimanjaro and was quite surprised by what he had seen.

"There's very little snow," this scientist told us. "I was shocked. Something is very wrong and we're not doing anything about it."

Unfortunately, "The 11th Hour" is not going to win over any converts to the cause. It's also not going to earn what it cost to make. Luckily, DiCaprio is rich, rich, rich thanks to "Titanic" and a slew of other hits like "The Aviator," "The Departed" and "Catch Me If You Can." He won't feel a thing.

My guess is that this was his last foray into the documentary world.

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