Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

May 14, 2012

You dropped a bomb on me, baby. You dropped a bomb on me. (Repeat.)

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Listen! Time, howling, withering!

Kim Hollis: Dark Shadows, the latest collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, opened to $29.7 million. What do you think of this result?

Edwin Davies: Even though no one was expecting Dark Shadows to manage Alice In Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory numbers, since to describe its source material as a cult property would be putting it mildly, this is still a pretty disappointing start. It's possible to spin this result and say, "Hey, who else but Tim Burton and Johnny Depp could get a Dark Shadows film made and open to almost $30 million?" but the reality is that this cost a lot of money to make, and despite the A-list talent involved it hasn't done very well. I think it's easy to blame this on the obscurity of the original show, but to be honest, I think the problems lie in the trailers, which had a few amusing gags but did little to dissuade people from thinking that the film was damn weird. Also, despite its success, Alice In Wonderland was pretty indifferently received by a lot of people, so there may have been fewer people willing to give Depp and Burton the benefit of the doubt this time around.


Bruce Hall: Who else but Tim Burton and Johnny Depp would even have MADE this movie? I admire the two men for thinking they had the cachet to make a blockbuster film out of something that exactly the same number of people who can fit into my back yard even remembers being on television. Tim Burton is a little bit Walt Disney, and a little bit Wes Craven. I can't ding him for lack of ambition.

Alice in Wonderland did some solid, if not earth shattering business. Part of the reason was Tim Burton, and part of the reason was Johnny Depp. But part of the reason was also Alice in Wonderland, one of the most ubiquitous stories in the English language. It's not that I don't see the logic here. The man made a version of Lewis Carrol's classic fever dream that almost nobody liked, yet it brought in $300 million. Why not let him have Dark Shadows? But I doubt even the combined success of Alice and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory implies that the Gothic version of Falcon Crest required a $150 million budget. And since so few people are familiar with the source material, it didn't help that trailers made Dark Shadows look like a cross between The Addams Family and Celebrity Home Makeover.

If they make this movie for $75 million - and believe me, they could have - this is a different story. I'm not sure enough help is coming from overseas to make this anything other than a disappointment. Either way, I feel certain that the majority of people who were interested in Dark Shadows have now seen it. If it wasn't irrelevant when I began writing, it definitely will be by next week.

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