Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

August 23, 2011

This is what 'goodwill' looks like.

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Edwin Davies: The ads and trailers did a really terrible job of selling the film by failing to establish what it was about. The people behind the team seemed to think that the character was iconic enough that they could just throw in a bunch of slightly ropey looking CGI and Jason Mamoa looking large and angry, but that's not enough to convince people who fondly remember the Schwarzenegger film or, and I would say that this is a far larger group, people who haven't heard of any Conan other than the one on TBS that this was worth taking a shot on.

Jason Lee: When I think back on watching the original Conan with my dad, I remember it was a cheesy, semi-self-aware period action movie. I think that with this type of original product, you either have to embrace the cheese and lace up the product with special effects (Clash of the Titans) or add a twist or new realism to the story-telling (Robin Hood). The new Conan effectively did neither.

David Mumpower: With regards to the $90 million budget, we should note that Lionsgate paid only $25 million to distribute, making them no more than collateral damage in this implosion. Keeping that in mind, I think that the only decision that was correct in all of this was casting Jason Mamoa in the title role. Anyone who watched Game of Thrones or Stargate Atlantis knows he is a believable badass. Everything else about the project speaks to that flaw we have seen with so many recent remakes. Everyone wants the name recognition money but consumers have the expectation that the projects will be treated with some respect. Max is absolutely right when he points out how dull those trailers are. I always thought the 1980s Conan movies were absurd, but I had felt that a 2011 update could be quite good. By all accounts, this one is not in any way, shape or form. This is a cautionary tale, the flip side of the coin from The Smurfs. It is also the old school end of summer August dump job for a big budget film with little upside. This might be the worst one of its type since Babylon A.D. in 2008.


Welcome to Fright Night

Kim Hollis: Fright Night, the $30 million remake of the largely forgotten '80s film, opened to $8.1 million. What do you think of this result?

Brett Beach: Well, first off I have to take umbrage with the "largely forgotten" tag. It may not be all that familiar to today's 17 year olds (or maybe it is) but I think of it fondly and often and I would like to think that other discerning film geeks do as well. It's a fun little film, both campy and straight, satirical and serious. It may be the "definitive" Chris Sarandon film.

As with the other modestly budgeted films that opened, uh, not so strongly this weekend, this is weak, but shouldn't be tagged as a flop or bomb. It looks like it won't make back its budget domestically, and I don't really how this may play in the rest of the world (if at all). I think it does suggest that studios may not how to properly market smaller-budgeted films anymore, with schedules structured around tentpoles. I think it is actually performing a little akin to Arthur, another completely unnecessary and hard to market but well-cast remake/reboot of an 80s film. As good as this Fright Night sounds (and I do hope to see it sooner rather than later), it may catch on and thrive in the home markets, much like the original did.

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