Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

June 8, 2010

We all know the truth, buddy.

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Chihuahua! Er, wait.

Kim Hollis: Marmaduke, the latest talking animal comedy sired in the depths of hell, opened to $11.3 million. Where did Fox go wrong with this movie?

David Mumpower: Watching the trailer answers that question, Kim. Still, the thought that keeps spinning in my head that I have trouble reconciling is that the same consumers who looked at Beverly Hills Chihuahua and thought "I want to see that" just universally rejected Marmaduke. There is an indictment for the ages. I had expected Marmaduke to be a hit because all of the other recent talking animal comedies like G-Force, the Squeakquel et al have offered shocking performances. I didn't understand it but I also don't have children. The fact that even these people with such ridiculously low standards shunned Marmaduke is telling.

Kim Hollis: I just have no idea how to distinguish the poorly performing talking animal films from the blockbusters. They all look the same to me. I mean, really, a Great Dane is just a giant chihuahua, right? And the dogs danced in the trailer. It's the same damn thing!


Matthew Huntley: I think the weak opening of Marmaduke can be attributed to kids simply not knowing who the title character is. I've heard of Marmaduke before, but I've never read the comic strip and I doubt any kids have, either. This was a misfire on Fox's part due to a basic lack of awareness and a non-existent fan-base from the target audience. Unlike the studio's own Alvin and the Chipmunks, kids don't follow Marmaduke. They probably saw the trailer and said, "Marma-who?"

David/Kim, I think the reason Beverly Hills Chihuahua can open to nearly $30 million and Marmaduke only $11 mill is because the former had the Disney marketing machine behind it. Disney has a way of making bad family films look appealing and audiences trust the brand name to no end. That's why when a Disney family movie fails at the box office - and it isn't often - it's always a surprise. It would be interesting to see if Chihuahua and G-Force could gross as much as they did if they were released by another studio. Marmaduke's performance suggests they might have flopped.

Reagen Sulewski: I definitely agree that the lack of Disney's marketing muscle had a lot to do with this, but even still it's the most surprising result of the four new films. I suppose it's just pessimism that made me think Marmaduke would do as well as Hotel for Dogs, but I'm pleased to be proven wrong here.

The best thing that comes out of this is to kill any hopes of a Family Circus movie, if anyone had been thinking about it.

Josh Spiegel: Though I was always wary that the worst - a huge opening - would happen, I'm genuinely not surprised that this movie has failed. As Matthew points out, kids don't know who Marmaduke is. I barely know who he is. What's more, the marketing, again, as Matthew points out, was awful. I saw just about no ads here, not that I'm crying about it. Thrilled that this failed.

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