Monday Morning Quarterback Part III
By BOP Staff
June 27, 2012
Don't know much about history.
Kim Hollis: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter only swayed $16.3 million worth of box office. What do you think of this result? Do you think this concept was too out there for most consumers?
David Mumpower: At times, I use various family members as litmus tests for the box office potential of particularly divisive titles. When I asked my brother about his thoughts on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the look on his face told me that he wouldn't see this if his seat were guaranteed to have a winning lottery ticket under it. This is the struggle Fox was always going to have in trying to capitalize on the odd melding of classic literature and gothic staples. Curt David mentioned in his most recent column that while he was less enthusiastic about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and that struck me as the fatal damnation of the project. If someone inclined to enjoy this storytelling style is not juiced to watch Honest Abe slay New Orleans' answer to the Cullens (I guess that's the Comptons, right True Blood-ers?), what is the average movie goer going to think of it? This $70 million production has an unknown lead, a distracting title and a premise that alienates a *lot* of people. I attribute the body of the film's debut to the visual style of Timur Bekmambetov, which did entice us into going to see the movie on opening weekend, a regrettable mistake in hindsight. On the plus side, with the director's popularity in Europe, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has a decent chance to wind up profitable before it exits theaters, even allowing for mediocre to terrible word-of-mouth.
Edwin Davies: I was discussing the film with some friends a couple of days ago and one of them said that they weren't interested in it, even though it's exactly the sort of film that they usually go nuts for, because it all seemed forced, and that the ads seemed to suggest that they were taking the premise deadly serious. Whilst I enjoyed the film for precisely that reason - I was impressed that the film-makers really committed to the idea and kept it reasonably grounded up until it goes a bit stupid in the last half an hour or so (why would the vampires get on the train AND burn down the bridge they knew it would be heading towards? That's a sure-fire way to end up un-undead) - it's also probably the very reason that a lot of people would not have bothered with it, especially since the buzz going into the weekend was not good enough to make people decide to take a chance on it.
On a somewhat related note, I think that the main problem with the film, quality-wise, was that the film-makers never found a way of transferring the unique selling point of the book to the screen. I think the absolute best version of the film that anyone could have made would have been a Ken Burns-style documentary done in a completely deadpan style. It would have made even less than this version, but it would have probably been truer to the original conception of the story.