Oliver Stone Ponders W.'s Box Office Prospects, Says No More War Movies

In a new interview with The Times UK, director Oliver Stone ponders the domestic box office prospects for his W. biopic, opening in limited release the 17th of this month. The Lionsgate film had a budget of $30 million—financed by Chinese investors—and arguably there is no precedent for how well it might do. High profile movies about U.S. presidents tend to always be posthumous (Stone's Nixon, HBO's John Adams, Spielberg's planned Lincoln), and the political climate has only grown nastier and nuttier since Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed $119 mil domestic in 2004 (seems longer ago). American Carol, anyone? With the election too close to call and the economy exposing orifices daily...

"I'm not sure that we'll succeed," Stone concedes. "But this movie is not for the 12 per cent who still approve of him – it's for the other 88 per cent. On the other hand, I don't think there's anything in the movie that the other 88 per cent would have any reason to detest. It is a human portrait of a man, not meant to insult people who believe in what Bush believes in."

How much of this majority will show up, either in hopes of a good movie or to magnify their displeasure with the current administration, remains to be seen. And back to the economic crisis, Stone says comparisons to the rampant greed and corruption depicted in 1987's Wall Street are nil...

"I don't even think a Gordon Gecko [sic] could exist in 2008, not as an individual buyer or seller. He'd have to work for a bank. Those [Wall Street] guys – they pigged out, man, to a degree that I never thought was possible."

On that note, I wonder where things are at with Michael Douglas's Wall Street 2 (Stone is said not to be involved)? Stone says he has no interest nor plans in making another war film, citing his age and specifically calling Iraq too much of a "bummer" to confront. Coming from Stone, who served in VietNam, directed numerous films related to that war (including the aborted Pinkville with Bruce Willis), and is a history buff, I'm not sure I buy it. He even seems to hint that Pinkville might be rescued in the same interview.

Discuss: How much do you expect W. to gross domestically? More than $30 million? Do you agree with Stone's sentiments on Gekko and today's Wall Street?