It’s not been a great couple of weeks for Eli Roth. Not only has his Hostel Part II underperformed to the point of flopping and leaving theaters in the next week or so, his next project, an adaptation of Stephen King’s Cell, has been delayed until at least next year.
On his MySpace blog Roth blames piracy for the stunted opening of Hostel Part II. ‘Piracy will be the death of the film industry, as it killed the music industry, and while it makes a smaller dent in huge movies like Spider Man 3, it really hurts films like mine, which have far less of an advertising and production budget,’ he writes. I just don’t believe this to be the case, and I think his claim that piracy has ‘killed’ the music industry is overblown at best – the music industry is changing, and the last couple of years have been hard on it as the big ship attempts to make a course correction and learn how to deliver music to us in a new way. The truth about why Hostel Part II failed is more complex, and if I was Roth I would be more annoyed at the film’s release date, which didn’t give the picture any elbow room at all.
At the screening of Hostel Part II that I saw, Roth said he would be rolling right into either Cell or his planned movie of fake trailers, but now it seems that everything is being delayed. He doesn’t say so, but the opening of Hostel Part II probably put the brakes on Cell in a big way – you’re in favor and out of it damn quick in Hollywood. If that’s the the case, it’s too bad – Roth has been improving as a director from film to film, and I’d like to see him keep growing.
In the meantime, Roth should keep a close eye on the grosses of Sicko, which has been completely leaked online, going so far as to appear on YouTube. I bet that the availability of that film won’t hurt the grosses… but then again, the different audience it will attract could be a defining factor.