August 21, 2006

News Flash: Snakes Can't Fly

The numbers are in this morning and it looks less than promising for the "bloggers enthusiasm molds studio policy" trendlette. While Snakes on a Plane was the number one movie for the weekend, it did not hit the $20 million mark for distributors New Line as they hoped. The flick cost only $30 mil to make, which is quite slight for a summer action/horror film, but so far the numbers for the past three days only added up to $15.3 million and that's including the $1.4 from Thursday late night.

Here's what Cinecultist has said all along about the idea that public opinion can change the outcome of big studio filmmaking: Awesome, but it'll only be a success if that final movie is actually good. We're living in an age of audience participation with comment sections, text message voting and amateur blogging run rampant. More power to the people, we say. But really all of this feedback only works if the product is worth seeing. A segment of the movie going public will plunk down $11 bucks for camp fun and screaming at the screen, but not everyone. If the word of mouth after Thursday or even Friday was that Snakes on a Plane is fun AND a good movie, we'd be seeing something different in the numbers. Which leads Cinecultist back to the Captain Obvious point that New Line refused to screen this movie to critics before release. They knew it still wasn't good, despite adding after the first wrap more violence and more cursing. Critical opinion, and the notion of absolute merit, still holds true.

The moral of the story (one which the studios still won't get from this experience but oh well): Make good movies. All the rest shall follow.

But of course in the face of bad movies, bring plastic snakes to throw at the screen and hiss every time Samuel L. Jackson appears. [P.S. Cinecultist was out of town this weekend and missed this movie. For a fun review plus a video clip of cheering audiences check out Matty's review on The Movie Binge.]

Posted by karen at August 21, 2006 10:19 AM