Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
June 21, 2011
Kim Hollis: Green Lantern becomes the latest example of a poorly-reviewed film that opens big. Why do you think action films have been bulletproof on opening weekend?
Edwin Davies: I think it varies from case to case. Sometimes, it might be because of a lack of other options for people who just want to watch stuff explode and see people get punched in the face. At this time of year there is a veritable glut of explosion/facepunch heavy fare, so it might otherwise be the result of franchise loyalty, or at least recognition. The latter is, in my mind, the reason for Green Lantern's "success" so far. Fanboys had decided they were going to see Green Lantern, so they went to see Green Lantern.
Bruce Hall: I agree that this is sort of a case to case thing. In this instance I think part of it is the fact that if you wanted to see a slam bang popcorn film, there was only one option this week. Reviews may have been poor, but we're not talking Duke Nukem level disaster here, either. This is a lowest common denominator society and I think a lot of people who were in the mood for action felt that while The Green Lantern may not have been good, it was good enough for this weekend.
Reagen Sulewski: I'm not sure I'd call this a case of being bulletproof, exactly, as it's clear that reviews did knock off some large portion of the opening weekend. It's not like Thor was better known than Green Lantern, for example. But it does show that for some comic book projects that there's a floor that you're not going to break through. Nerds are loyal.
David Mumpower: Reagen's point is well taken. Something Green Lantern did have going for it was the passionate support of DC Comics fans. While people who do not follow comics at all have no idea who this character is, the sales for Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night were tremendous with the latter actually performing better than a similarly timed Marvel comic book event. This is a weird situation wherein some people are passionate about it but most of the public is utterly unaware. It's a larger scale version of BOP's beloved Scott Pilgrim.
In addition to this aspect, we have frequently discussed the impact of positive reinforcement. The two most recent comic book movies, Thor and X-Men: First Class, were both well regarded. While those are Marvel projects and this is a DC outing, I doubt the general movie going public cares about such distinctions. They simply focus upon the fact that Thor was a fun 3D outing and that makes them more likely to enjoy a 3D spectacle such as Green Lantern. Let's also be honest about the fact that for all of its other failings, Green Lantern looks shiny. This is a key aspect of summer popcorn films. People want their action to be visually stimulating, because that is how George Lucas trained them. Green Lantern looks very much like a Lucas-flavored comic book adaptation. That helps it in terms of being at least somewhat review proof at the start.