He had a crappy experience at the theater, too. But I’ll skip that rant for the more pertinent bits:

WaTi – PC reels away. By Mark Steyn

A breathless Associated Press dispatch on the opening weekend of “Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire” reported that “the latest Potter movie led a lineup that helped reverse the Hollywood box-office slump.”

I wouldn’t say the boy wizard and his Hogwarts chums exactly “led a lineup” of slump-reversers. When you look at the weekend numbers, Harry Potter’s $101.4 million is more than the gross of the rest of the Top Five movies combined and doubled. Indeed, the rest of the Top Ten together managed $66 million. Harry Potter is an industry apart, and tells us nothing about Hollywood’s general malaise, or alleged recovery.

I was ranting about that to Peter the other day. Don’t tell me, I said, that people are more interested in video games and DVDs than movie theater opening nights, I said. Because whenever a good movie comes out, it does so freaking good it usually breaks a record or two, I said. So I would just really like it if those gutless wonders in Hollywood, who some how still manage to carry an ego around the size of Louis XIV’s ermine robes, would quit blaming their own failures on our wandering attention spans.

This is the pitiful state Hollywood’s been reduced to. Safer not to have any bad guys. Let’s make the plane the bad guy. No wonder it’s 20th century Britlit — “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Narnia” — keeping those Monday morning numbers up. Hollywood’s yarn-spinning is what’s really out of focus, and in the end even home entertainment revenue won’t save a storytelling business that no longer knows how to tell any.