Matt Damon Anti-Fracking Movie Flops at Box Office

Oil-nation-funded film villainizing natural gas industry earns half what it cost to make.

Matt Damon’s much hyped anti-fracking film “Promised Land” has failed to make the impact that its producers and environmental groups had hoped for. As of January 20, “Promised Land” has raked in a whopping total of $7,542,000 since it opened on December 28, according to Box Office Mojo. According to The Hill, the movie cost $15 million to make. Box Office Mojo ranked it 139 out of all movies from Jan. 23, 2012 to Jan. 21, 2013.

Matt Damon said that he didn’t make a biased movie and claimed to have just wanted to start a conversation on the subject. “Nobody wants to go see a movie where they get a message at the end. That really wasn't our intent. It was just to show this moment in time in our country, and what happens when big money collides with real people, people who are struggling on the back end of a recession.” he told The Morning Call, a Lehigh Valley, Pa., newspaper. Apparently Damon was right about nobody wanting to go see his movie.

"The Promised Land," which starred Damon and John Krasinski of "The Office," was financed in part by Image Nation, a film company completely owned and operated by the oil-rich government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Damon was asked about the foreign-oil funding by documentary director Phelim McAleer at a Dec. 3 promotional event in New York. Philem McAleer, who directed the pro-fracking film "FrackNation," asked Damon, "How does it feel to be a fully-paid advocate for an oil-rich Middle Eastern government - and doesn't that really negate any artistic credibility... that 'The Promised Land" might have?"

Damon, who also serves as writer and producer of “Promised Land,” replied, "[T]he first time we were aware that Image Nation was involved with our movie was when we saw the rough cut and saw their logo."

Many oil-rich nations stand to lose a substantial amount of income if fracking opens up an alternative fuel source inside the United States. Crude oil represents a full 45 percent of the UAE's exports, according to the CIA World Factbook.

McAleer’s “FrackNation” is a response to anti-fracking films like Josh Fox's "GasLand" and Matt Damon's new movie "Promised Land." The McAleer documentary investigated claims that "fracking," or hydraulic fracturing, a process for removing natural gas from shale deposits, could potentially harm the environment. "FrackNation" is set to premier on January 22 on AXS TV.