Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
October 31, 2012
The silence speaks loudly here
Kim Hollis: Silent Hill: Revelation debuted to just $8 million. What do you think of this result? Why aren't more polished-looking horror films as appealing as the low-budget ones?
Edwin Davies: This was a sequel no one wanted to a film people barely remember, so this result is hardly surprising. (It also doesn't help that the video game franchise has become less relevant in the same time period, which must have eroded the audience somewhat.) Couple that with the ads, which were both ridiculous and dull, and you've got a recipe for trouble.
As far as the question of polished horror films, I think that it's more often down to concept than execution, since a solid idea will often draw an audience regardless of the film's budget. However, low-budget films do have a slightly rougher edge to them that can denote danger and the unexpected. If a film looks too shiny and clean then it loses some of its capacity to shock. (Though there are exceptions to that rule: both The Exorcist and The Shining look amazing and are very scary.)
Jay Barney: I wonder if there was a little bit of over saturation of the market with Halloween/horror films. $8 million is not a great opening for a film like this right before Halloween, so you have to wonder what other factors were in play. The $20 million dollar budget will take some of the sting off from the numbers here, but it will have to fight like hell just to pull even with production costs. There is a lot of horror out there at this point. If you take a look at the top 20 films, which is a good breadth of entertainment choices for anyone living in an urban area, the genre is clearly represented. Hotel Transylvania, Paranormal 4, Sinister, Frankenweenie, and ParaNorman were all competing for the same dollars. Silent Hill had competition in this pre-Halloween weekend and it showed.
Max Braden: I think the stark difference between the Silent Hill series and the Resident Evil series is the star. I'm guessing the RE gaming community is larger than the SH community, but by this many sequels, general audiences are probably the driving factor in box office performance. And I think general audiences respond more to the lead actor in polished horror movies than the shock value of the more independent ones. I know who Milla Jovovich is; I can't recall any of the actors in the trailer for Silent Hill: Revelation.
David Mumpower: What I would add is that Silent Hill wasn't even billed as a sequel. The hope would be that consumers forgot the original existed, instead focusing on a better looking product with this reboot. I also think Max's comment is important in that there is no point in casting older, proven thespians such Sean Bean, Malcolm McDowell and Carrie-Anne Moss if the trailers fail to highlight them enough. Of course, in deciding to market that way, they risk losing the teen market that is the lifeblood of horror box office. With regards to why polish seems to hurt a horror production, I believe that paranormal shows and movies have fostered an expectation that low budget shaky cam is requisite for true fear. The early 2000s Japanese remake craze focused on polished premises and those seem outdated to this new generation of teens. The whole process is a moving target. With the Paranormal Activity franchise dying, we're all waiting for the next big concept to drive the market for the next few years.