Repo! The Genetic Opera
November 7, 2008
Movie of the Day for Friday, June 27, 2008
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In the past couple years, movie musicals have made an impressive comeback. Both Dreamgirls and Hairspray grossed over $100 million each, and 2007's Beatles-inspired love story, Across the Universe, showed unusually strong legs for a limited release.
It’s only natural that every Hollywood studio, including the reputably dark Lionsgate, are jumping aboard the latest lucrative bandwagon. This spring, Lionsgate releases the macabre musical, Repo! The Genetic Opera, based on the play written and composed by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich.
Darren Lynn Bousman, a Lionsgate alum after the last three Saw pictures, directs the deathly comic film, about a biotech company that loans out body organs in the wake of a worldwide epidemic. When the patients can’t keep up with payments, repo men come a callin’ to take back the goods…by any means necessary.
Repo! follows the modestly successful, though highly praised, Sweeney Todd, which, despite its high-profile actor (Johnny Depp) and director (Tim Burton), never quite found a mass audience, though it’s common for dark musicals, including notable juggernaut The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to succeed mostly as cult films. It’s the brighter, cheerier and more colorful ones that break the bank with general audiences. Repo! seems destined to continue that trend, which means it will have a tough time earning back its reported $45 million production budget.
Still, the film's early trailer is energetic, catchy and boosts curiosity, and that’s what the film will need to draw crowds. Without much starpower (the cast includes Paul Sorvino, Alexa Vega and Paris Hilton), Repo! will have to sell itself on its concept and strong reviews, which are common for the genre.
Lionsgate will have to make a strong impression on opening weekend. It’s a long shot, but given the current popularity of musicals, Repo! might be able to crack $50 million by the end of its run (similar to Sweeney Todd's domestic earnings), but it will most likely earn the majority of its revenue (and audience) on the home market. (Matthew Huntley/BOP)