Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

October 5, 2009

He's about to knock it out of the park.

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Everybody do the Thriller dance

Kim Hollis: Audiences flocked to Zombieland this weekend, as it opened to a surprising $24.7 million. How did Sony manage such a strong debut from a film starring mostly unknowns?

Tim Briody: The marketing clearly worked and "nut up or shut up" is one of the best taglines of the last few years. I hope the folks involved find something extra in their paychecks this week.

Michael Lynderey: It's the same basic strategy as District 9. Zombieland didn't look like much on paper, but they "chose" to make a good movie out of it and so the buzz grew in all the right places. It's one of those bi-annual occasions in the horror genre when quality wins out at the box office. As we saw with Drag Me to Hell, good reviews don't necessarily buy you much clout when it comes to horror.

Reagen Sulewski: The ad campaign seizing on the film's Rules for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse certainly had a large part of it. There's an unconscious association there that the film has a lot more to show you than what they're giving you in the ads, which could alleviate the kind of "one-joke" fears that people might have had with this. But overall, they were dealing with some quality comic mayhem, and had a pretty easy job to sell this, just needing to push fence-sitters over.


Shane Jenkins: Zombieland is the odd genre mashup that actually delivers the goods. I think the overwhelmingly positive reviews managed to expand its audience beyond the usual gore-hounds and bored teens. And if my audience is any indication, word-of-mouth should sustain it nicely in the upcoming weeks.

Pete Kilmer: Marketing, marketing, marketing. I think the time was right for a comedic look at the zombie genre here in the U.S. Yes, I know Shaun of the Dead was there first, but it really faded once it opened here in the states (though it took off on DVD). It certainly helped pave the way for Zombieland to come about. I think the movie going audience was also ready for a horror comedy that actually looked funny.

Max Braden: It made zombies feel safe. Filmgoers who are turned off by gore-fetishists like Rob Zombie (did he ever get around to trademarking that word?) could see that they weren't going to be bombarded by grossness or "mean" violence. That tone can sell itself, but the people who put the trailers together really went above and beyond in selling the comedy and the action. I think they were a couple of the best trailers we've seen in a year.

Sean Collier: People want to love zombies. Every fourth discussion on the Internet involves zombie apocalypse survival strategies (something that Zombieland knew,) and of all the horror tropes, they're probably the most enduring and versatile in terms of plot possibilities (again, something the producers were aware of.) The trouble is in the preponderence of bad zombie films, particularly the more extreme horror entries. These turn casual audiences off, but a tongue-in-cheek treatment isn't bound by the same effects that a violent film has on the crowds. Zombieland is just a smart, well-timed project.

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