Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
October 17, 2011
Kim Hollis: Footloose, the remake of the 1984 hit film, made $15.6 million this weekend. How should Paramount Pictures feel about this result?
Bruce Hall: Any time your film is in the discussion for the number one slot on opening weekend, that's a good problem to have. Any time that same film is a remake and by many accounts no worse than the highly overrated original, that's also a good problem to have. And for a $30 million budget, $16 million really isn't a very big problem either. Bottom line - a virtual first place tie with Rock'em Sock'em Robots: The Movie counts as a win in my book.
And by the way, Kenny Wormald has a Bacon Number of 2. But since he played Kevin's old part, I wonder if that doesn't somehow make him some kind of Überbacon. Just food for thought.
Matthew Huntley: For the most part, they should be pleased. While they won't get the bragging rights to say their movie opened at #1, they did cover about 2/3 of the production budget on opening weekend. Plus, the exit polls for Footloose were high, suggesting small declines in the weeks ahead, or at least until the end of October. Considering this could have been an all out disaster (people literally booed when the trailer was released last summer), it's a decent start and practically guarantees profitability.
Edwin Davies: Given the budget and the genre, this is a pretty solid result. Dance movies tend not to break out unless there is some serious heat behind them (as in the case of High School Musical 3) and Footloose definitely didn't have that. As Matthew pointed out, this remake has induced nothing but eye-rolls since the trailer debuted, so for it to overcome the "Really?" attitude that has dogged it for so long isn't a bad result.
Brett Beach: I think Paramount should be slightly underwhelmed. True, it did make more than the Fame re-go did its opening weekend (and will outgross that), and it performed in line with its genre (with the gold medal out of nowhere crown for the last 10 years still being bore by Save the Last Dance at the moment) although more like a Step Up sequel. With all the crossover/promotion this has received in recent weeks, I expected something a little stronger, maybe in the 20 millions. It seemed to me, from a gender standpoint, that this is one that women who liked the original might take their daughters to. So, at least partially a family film or outing. It stands to make back its budget, but that is the most positive thing I can say.
David Mumpower: I lean toward the "impressive performance" side of the spectrum. Given the cheap production cost, Footloose will prove to be a financial win, which is enough to justify the decision to remake the movie. How lucrative a win it proves to be will depend upon exterior factors such as the popularity of the soundtrack as well as the video demand for the movie. Perhaps my biggest shock about the project is that the movie is by all accounts good. Given that the original is...well, painful to watch now, I am impressed that Craig Brewer managed to find an enjoyable film idea in this. The one aspect of this I believe hasn't been discussed enough is that if we stop comparing Footloose to other remakes such as Fame and Arthur, it's a lot like Country Strong and Pure Country 2 on paper. One of those is a straight to video title while the other grossed $20.2 million domestically. Footloose has name recognition neither of those possessed but its opening weekend is quite impressive, relatively speaking.
Kim Hollis: The Thing, a remake of the *1982* not-hit-movie-but-still-a-cult-classic, made $8.5 million over the weekend. Should Universal be happy with this result?
Bruce Hall: No, because the 2001 edition earned even less in proportion to its budget than the original did. Not only that, John Carpenter's version was a truly groundbreaking film. The love it's earned since its release is well deserved, and I don't see this version being anything near that kind of achievement. And being a prequel, the new version was sort of locked into a certain sequence of events from a creative standpoint. Watching a horror movie hit most of the same beats as the original might work for the Scream or Final Destination crowd, but in this case it doesn't make for a very rich viewing experience. But I doubt all that was on the minds of most consumers this weekend. If anybody was anticipating another version of The Thing, it was a relative handful of dorks and fanboys like myself - and that's exactly who showed up this weekend. Expect to see a Thing with no legs, and expect a bargain when it eventually drops on Blu-Ray, bundled with the original. I'd buy THAT for a dollar.
Matthew Huntley: No, because the production budget and P&A costs likely add up to over $60 million, and this being a horror movie and all, which are prone to very short legs anyway, it probably won't cover a third of that by the time it leaves theaters. Even with Halloween around the corner, there isn't much hope this movie will recover. I haven't seen it yet, but the trailer made it seem too mediocre to find interesting and just another attempt to cash in on the popularity of the 1982 version, only with a female hero (nothing against this of course) and digital effects. I'll take Kurt Russell and practical effects any day, and it would appear I'm not alone.
Shalimar Sahota: No, and on the basis of this there's a chance that it could end up making less than Carpenter's version, which would be a real blow to Universal. That many have been mistaken into thinking that this is a remake rather then a prequel hasn't helped matters. Further confusion arises when viewing the trailer and we see that the film has a group of beardy looking scientists in the same Antarctic setting, and soon they're seen wielding flamethrowers. The thought of a Thing prequel sounded like a good idea to me, but by simply offering the same scenarios and scares, I imagine that the film simply hasn't done enough to distance itself. Carpenter's film is held in such high regard and I imagine fans have made their opinion on this prequel (which some still think is a remake) by simply refusing to go and see it.
Brett Beach: I have to wonder how well they honestly thought this would do. Like Blade Runner and Tron, this flopped in June of 1982 - when the public was in the mood for Cuddly ET and Captain Kirk - only to become a cult hit (probably the cultiest of those three). Like Footloose, to an extent, you have the audience that grew to love it in the last 25 years probably skeptical of a re/do/boot/make and a younger generation wondering what's in it for them. Poor reviews topped it all off.
I personally am looking forward to seeing it (in a double feature with Drive next weekend) for what I note is the key difference between the two films: casting a woman in the lead. Considering that the breakdown of male social groups was a key theme in Carpenter's version, this either will do something with such a change, or . . . it won't.
David Mumpower: I agreed with Curt David's (always hilarious) evaluation of The Thing in last Friday's This Weekend Watch This. The Thing has had quite entertaining commercials that turned me from a Pushing Daisies quote of "OH HEEEEEELL NO!" to "Hmm, that looks pretty good." So, kudos to the people who cut the trailers, especially since the movie is by all accounts awful. Mr. Huntley is absolutely correct about the negative cost of The Thing making a clear loser in the short term. The only way it avoids that fate long term is if it proves to be every bit the cult classic the original became. That seems...unlikely. Mary Elizabeth Winstead deserves a better box office fate, Live Free Or Die Hard notwithstanding.