From star-studded films to low-budget documentaries, efforts to tackle the ongoing war in Iraq have struggled to find an audience.
On the theatrical side, there’s been “Jarhead,” “Stop-Loss,” “Lions for Lambs,” “Redacted” and “In the Valley of Elah,” among others. While networks have launched FX’s “Over There” and HBO’s “Alive Day Memories,” “House of Saddam” and “Generation Kill.”
Not all were failures, but none were considered breakout hits. Media stories frequently concluded that Americans do not want — or are not ready — to watch stories about the conflict.
Then, on Saturday night, HBO debuted “Taking Chance,” which drew 2 million viewers and became the most-watched original movie to debut on the premium network in five years.
It did outperform Generation Kill, but it didn’t do as well as the John Adams mini-series that, compared to say, The Sopranos, went mostly unwatched. It will be interesting to see if HBO can keep it’s subscriber numbers relatively flat during troubled economic times, but HBO can definitely afford to have That’s So Raven style numbers with original content as long as millions are paying monthly fees for it (as of October, Nielsen estimated over 30 million subscribers to HBO).