I just reviewed Sucker Punch, sort of, so you should read that. You should also read everything else on this site. But, hey, you know, hey. You know.
HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?
March is Zack Snyder’s month. Every film he’s made has been released then (I don’t count the Owls movie). For 300 it was a blessing as the film had little competition and turned the first week of March into a money weekend. That’s how it starts – one really big hit after some smaller ones, and you’ve got a date to launch a title that might not be a summer film, but can make the money. Now he gets the end of the month. Perhaps Warners were afraid of Rango, though it hasn’t been the trump card that was hoped, nor was Battle Los Angeles. Having seen the film, the truth seems to be that they wanted an emptier playing field.
There was hype, and the internets seemed ready for this at a certain point. Kick-ass girls, insane action sequences. But Warners – though they hired Snyder for their Superman movie – has seemingly backed away a little. I read a couple of tweets this weekend from people surprised the film was opening in a couple of days. And when screenings started last week, I talked to a number of people who saw it and no one said much positive. Doom set in. I went with my girlfriend to a screening, and sat with other critics, and it was amazing to see how few liked it. Even people considered “marks” were at a loss to defend or like the film. I described it as a fiasco.
For business, it feels like WB has backed off some, but this should have been a bigger opening than it’s tracking for. Snyder went for the PG-13, but currently it doesn’t look to get above $30 Million for the weekend. Word of mouth is likely going to be very mixed to toxic, so the film is going to struggle to get much past $60 Million.
And yet – even though I trashed the film somewhat – I’m very happy that Snyder got the chance to make this film. Both he and his studio should be commended for taking this chance. Though Snyder obviously needs a writer and a story to fall back on, he deserved his shot, even though he missed. Perhaps the years will be kind to the film. Perhaps a director’s cut will fix some problems. Perhaps my perhaps will prolapse.
At the same time I think Warner Brothers was right to back away. Snyder’s name may be on the Superman posters – if he gets to keep the project, but frankly I think he’s perfect, and I think the studio knows it too – but he won’t be the selling point. And also, as much as Watchmen may have seemed like the pay-off film, in retrospect everyone wanted to make that film, so in that sense Snyder was the sperm donor, not the father per se. After 300 the studio owed him a chance to play, and after Sucker Punch, Snyder owes the studios something they can sell.
Perhaps I’m too negative, but I see nothing good about this. The only thing they have going for them is that competition is weak until April 15, when Rio and Scream 4 come out.
I’M BRINGING PREDICTIONS BACK. THEM OTHER PREDICTIORS DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACT
With Sucker Punch there’s a question of how bad WOM (as the Dutch call it, Word of Mouth) will be. The reviews have not been kind. Will Friday’s number be best? Will young kids go because of scantily dressed women? Will anyone respond? Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is a weird sequel in that no one seemed to demand it but here it is. If it bests Punch, it’s going to be a weird, sad weekend for a number of people. I am also fascinated with what’s going to happen next weekend to Punch, as it could plummet. It’s a heady film for what it is, but not smart enough for that audience. It doesn’t work like Inception. And therein lay the problem. Still…
1. Sucker Punch – $22.2 Million
2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules – $19.5 Million
3. Limitless – $9.5 Million
4. Rango – $9.3 Million
5. Battle Los Angeles – $6.6 Million
It’s possible that one of last week’s titles – especially The Lincoln Lawyer – could sneak into #5. It should be solidified Monday, but numbers post Sunday, so there’s that.