Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
August 1, 2011
At least actuals put the Smurfs in second place...
Kim Hollis: The Smurfs continued their decades long feud with Gargamel this weekend and for some godforsaken reason, $35.6 million worth of North American consumers paid to watch. How in the blue smurf did this happen?
Bruce Hall: The most obvious explanation would be that everything I learned in Sunday School is a lie and there is no God. My second guess would be that there hasn't been a new release aimed squarely at the pre-teen set since Winnie the Pooh on July 15th, or if you're looking for something less esoteric, Paul Blart: Zookeper back on July 8th. Although The Smurfs is rated PG, it's one of just a handful of new releases I'd have been comfortable sharing with small children over the last month or so. But only if I didn't mind them growing up without a soul. And no, I would not take the average eight year old to Harry Potter. Disagree if you want, just use your own kids.
Edwin Davies: As much as we talk on here about how we'd love for Hollywood to make films for kids that were actually, you know, good, the sad fact is that Hollywood keep making films like The Smurfs because kids are not discerning consumers and love stupid talking creatures, and The Smurfs fills that particular gap in the market pretty much perfectly. The casting of Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria might have been mitigating factors for parents who hoped that there was going to be something in it for them, but this result rests firmly on those tiny blue shoulders.
Brett Beach: When I first heard Smurfs and Neil Patrick Harris, I was very excited. Then I learned it would be a "they cross over into our world" type story and all my hopes were quickly dashed. I enjoyed the show in the '80s when I was between seven and 12, but I really didn't think that the Smurfs had had much of a presence in the last 15-20 years. I don't know where to place the success since the ads and trailers I saw in recent months didn't seem to have that "hook" that would make it a must see. I guess it should be chalked up to a "nothing else" for the target demographic currently playing kind of victory, though a high school Facebook friend took her three daughters - all teenagers - to see it, and had a blast. Home Alone 3 aside, it appears that Raja Gosnell helming a project means it should never be counted out (He did direct Never Been Kissed, I wanted to say that in his favor)
Matthew Huntley: I saw The Smurfs this afternoon (for free, mind you), and it is actually better than I expected it to be. I can see why Brett's friend's daughters had a blast, because, if nothing else, the movie is jolly, high-spirited and energetic. At the screening, kids were having the time of their lives, and one little kid even physically cheered when Gargamel got his comeuppance. It was a cute sight to see, and perhaps that made the whole experience more tolerable. As an adult, I can rightfully say the movie speaks to kids, without necessarily speaking down to them, and there's some witty, self-referential humor in it for grown-ups that I appreciated. Granted, I would not tell adults to see it without kids, but I would let my kids see it because I know they'd enjoy it and it's the kind of slapstick, family comedy I would have liked if I was, say, 10 or younger. Why shouldn't kids be able to enjoy this? It's harmless and we probably saw all material that was just as stupid when we were young.
As for its box-office receipts, I can't say I'm really surprised, especially given how other cartoon adaptations like Scooby-Doo and Alvin and the Chipmunks have performed. There was little reason to expect The Smurfs would do differently. With strong exit polls and little kids who will be asking their parents to see it again, this will probably go onto $125 million +. I guess we can never underestimate (or predict) what little kids will want to see.