Well, we are now two weeks in and Grindhouse slipped to number 10 at the box office. One step closer to being forgotten. I know folks are probably sick to death of this film “experience” (as the numbers prove), however, I just can’t let something as fun and special as Grindhouse slip into the Hollywood ether without so much as a gasp. Therefore, you will just have to bear with me on this one… Or, come back later when I get back to the real reason you read this site… Sci-Fi babes. (Little bit of Google optimization there, every time I type Sci-Fi babes, I go up one more notch within these interwebs… Sci-Fi babes). Sorry, little diversion there… Anyway, over the past 10 days or so, I’ve been flooded with emails from people asking if I had any idea why Grindhouse tanked so very hard. First, if I knew the true answer, I wouldn’t need to write on this site… Second… I don’t really know.
But, I got some ideas.
Bad marketing Harvey. Bad, bad, bad… I don’t mean that actual media blitz, as nobody markets like the Weinsteins. (See the last 15 Academy Awards if you don’t believe me). No, I am talking about the completely idiotic idea of opening this film on Easter weekend. Regardless of your religious belief, opening a film based on the pinnacle of American schlock cinema was just a poor choice. I can picture Weinstein rubbing his pudgy little digits together, chuckling at his own genius as he attempts ram this film down America’s throats during a “home with the family” holiday. I understand the concept of counter-marketing, I really do… Hell, it helped bring down Star Trek: Nemesis, along with the crappy writing, acting, and editing… but I digress.
Counter-marketing works when you are a small little indie flick or (and apologies to my lovely lady friends out there) chick flick… Which why I can all but guarantee a cheapo romantic comedy will open against Die Hard 4 – Live Free or Die Hard. (Known in the Geek tower as “Bruce gots to get paid”). However, counter-marketing a big ass gore-violence-explosion-fest-o-rama is just friggen stupid. Look Harvey, stick to what you are good at: ramming Oscar flicks down the Academies throat and movies designed to offend the Great Plains States. Hell, Tarantino already delayed Grindhouse for 5 months, should have held out till the kids with money were out of school… ( I know, Grindhouse was “R”, but that wasn’t gonna’ stop any 16 year-old from watching this sucker).
Sick of the Violence.Yes, this is the excuse I’ve heard some members of a certain morality group provide. (Technically, they called it a victory, not an excuse). This is clearly wrong. Just take a gander at 300. That was a bloodbath of epic proportions and it raked in a ton of dough, to say nothing of how it affected the careers of all involved. Rightly so. (Quick tangent… Hey Dark Horse Comics, why in the name of Xerxes’ butt-hole would you NOT fight to get your company’s name attached to 300, but proudly slapped it on Pathfinder… That new P.R. agent you hired sure is paying off, ain’t he…Ahem…). Anyway, if there is one thing Americans will never get sick, it is violence in the movies. Just face the facts, we Americans like crap that blows up. We like things that burst in fantastic and completely cartoonish gore. You know its true.
The movie was too long. For some idiotic reason, this is always the excuse movie executives latch onto when placing blame. Okay, this is a stupid excuse. Not to drag up the frozen corpse of Jack Dawson, but Titanic clocked in at damn near three and a half hours long. Yes, the running time is clearly a factor when determining box office results. (Huh, sarcasm doesn’t work very well on when typed). Look, it doesn’t matter how long a film runs, if it is entertaining it will perform. The only real issues with a long-running film is that multiplexes can’t run as many daily showings. However, in this age of 18 screen multiplexes, the concept of one movie per screen just doesn’t happen. Hell, Spiderman 3 will probably show in half of every Regal Cinemas screen. (With the other half going to Pirates of the Caribbean 3). Regardless of time, a well-made film flies by; while a Ghost Rider’esqu stinker drags like the proverbial maple syrup in January.
However, Hollywood being Hollywood, they are indeed reacting to the argument that Grindhouse tanked due to its running time. Rumor has it that Warner Bros. is thinking about cutting the running time of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in order to ensure strong box office numbers. Ah, nothing like the knee jerk reaction…
Crap, I know I promised I would have the answer to Grindhouse tanking… However, as I read over this rambling and search my own Geeky heart I realize that the only answer I have will make me come off as an elitist ass. Even if it is true… You all know what I mean… The same people that made Blades of Glory #1 for two weeks in a row are the same people that made sure Grindhouse never got off the ground… Just don’t make me write it, just ask me next time you run into *me…
Which will be at Rick Emerson Listener Party X – Emerson History X on April 19 at 7pm at Barracuda… The whole damn cast and crew will be there… Shattering ear drums and slaughtering livers!
*I will be more inclined to answer if said question is posed with a Jack and Diet Coke…