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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Looks like the bloom is off the rose (Rose McGowan, that is); despite lots of good reviews, GRINDHOUSE got a serious shellacking at the box office during its opening weekend and will probably continue to decline for a few legitimate reasons:

1. Unless it's a flick about Hobbits hauling their asses to a volcano, the majority of the American moviegoing public are not willing to sit through a three hors-plus movie.
2. Add the well-deserved "hard R" rating to the running time, and you automatically shear off a percentage of the audience.
3. Why release a carnage-loaded thrill ride during a holiday weekend traditionally associated with Jesus, going to church, and dressing up in foofy Easter duds?

I was discussing this with my pal Chris Weston (he's in England and the film is not yet scheduled for release over there) and he suggested that due to it's failure in the US, GRINDHOUSE would most likely be split into two separate features for its European release; I pooh-poohed that idea on the grounds that the film is constructed as an "experience" rather than two disparate efforts, but just this morning Chris sent me the following, cribbed from somewhere on the internet:

"After its disastrous opening weekend, many have begun the manic speculation as to why "Grindhouse" failed to click with US audiences.

The film's extended 192 minute runtime, lack of audience awareness of the 'Grindhouse' concept, and generally bad counterprogramming move to release the film at Easter is being cited as the most likely reason.

Harvey Weinstein told that "I'm incredibly disappointed. We tried to do something new and obviously we didn't do it that well" and adds that according to research, it was that runtime that was "the single biggest deterrent".

The fate of the films now is in question and there's already one idea - splitting the movie in two like it will be in European territories. With what is said to be a near $70 million budget, and an at least admitted $30 million marketing cost, the company is in definite need to try and recoup its money. 

"We could split the movies in a couple of weeks. Make Tarantino's a full-length film, and Rodriguez's too. We'll be adding those 'two missing reels' that's talked about in the movie" says Weinstein.

Whilst non-English speaking territories have already been set for the dual-film release, there's now also talk that the planned single releases for the UK and Australia will be turned into dual-release films as well."

Pfooey, sez the Bunche. Oh, well, It'll probably go over nicely on DVD where the viewer has control over the running time and can take breaks as neccessary. In the meantime, here's some GRINDHOUSE-related spank material:

If the producers really wanted to recoup their losses, they'd release this cover as a big-assed poster! 'Scuse me, but I have to go be alone for a while...


Anonymous said...

Typical Hollywood/Big Box Media bullshit. The film doesn't make a mint on opening weekend, and four days later everybody's calling it a failure. Apparently, the only "legs" anyone's willing to give this film are Rose McGowan's.

And between this and the quick crash-and-burns afflicting Black Snake Moan and Snakes on a Plane (which I adored for its utterly stupid fun-factor), I think we can safely say that the country is now officially No Goddamned Fun At All. So much for other high-ticket/ high-talent schlock projects... shit.

Well, I'm hittin' the theatre tonight, then. I would have done it earlier, but I came off the cold snap this weekend with a monster-sized flu. Nice to know that you can't even wait a few days to see a film before its box-office fate becomes front-page news. Man, sometimes I hate Entertainment Weekly and its culture of "boom/bust" success. Dammit...

Jared said...

I haven't seen the movies so I can't comment on their quality but why is it such a surprise that they "tanked"? They are based on bad 1970's B movies. That's a niche genre at best. They are not trying to emulate the best or most popular movies of the 70's they're trying to emulate some of the worst. That is not a recipe for popularity. It's fun stuff for the fans of the "exploitation" movie genre but the general public couldn't care less. And 16 year olds aren't nostalgic for the 70's grind house experience. That's grandpa stuff to them. Hollywood spends $70 million to pay homage to movies that cost a hundred grand to make and wonders why it's losing money? I feel like I'm in crazyland.

Suki said...

Thanks, Jared. When I told my guy I didn't think "Planet Terror" was very good/didn't hold my interest, he said that it wasn't supposed to--just like the original er--"art form."

I think they forgot that they don't sell booze at movie theaters, and that these were supposed to be make-out flicks.--Suki

Anonymous said...

Just saw Grindhouse last night, and I loved about 75% of it. The trailers were howl-worthy, the action great and the stunt-ride toward the end phenominal. I did feel, though, that Tarantino got his head a bit too far wedged up his own ass with the first 1/2 of "Death Proof." Too much dialog, not enough action. "Planet Terror," on the other hand, had us in hysterics. LOVED that!

shades033 said...

Actually, the two movies were going to be separate in Europe before the movie bombed here, and there's been talk of Harvey splitting up the movies here so that the people who don't want to sit through 90 minutes of Rodriguez wankng can just go and see the awesome Tarantino movie. (But maybe that's just my opinion cause I prefer Tarantino's movie more and wish it was longer.)