Watchmen screenwriter* David Hayter wants fanboys and fangirls to see Watchmen for a second time. This is the movie’s second weekend in the US (and here in OZ) and it looks like it will stiff – comparatively speaking. Apparently it’s pulled in US $92 million, but adverse reviews and word-of-mouth will stop it from having that huge second weekend that a movie needs to be a true blockbuster. And a film as expensive to make as this one ($120 million) really does need to pull in the big moolah.
I’m not sure what I think about being asked to go see a movie for second or third time to give it that really big lift that it needs to be an unequivocal success. Don’t I live in a free-market economy where this kind of thing sorts itself out? I mean if the movie was truly kickarse in an obvious crowd-pleasing way, then I don’t think it would need this kind of special pleading in order to make it the huge success that screenwriter Hayter and director Zack Snyder want it to be.
I thought the film was excellent. However, apart from my geek buddies, all the other film-heads that I am in contact with have labelled it boring, confusing and overlong. That’s the sort of word-of-mouth that kills.
If they wanted a film that pulls in $200 or $300 million, then it needed to have a simplified storyline with clear goals like an X-Men flick. The back-stories and multiple plot strands are not the sort of thing that excites the popcorn crowd. And by not having an explosive ending in which the hammer comes down on the bad guys, the movie cheated its audience out of its thirst for retribution. That would have had ‘em telling their buddies about the film’s must-see awesomeness. Violent closure. Smiting the enemy. That kind of satisfaction is what gets your filmgoer talking. See what happens when you’re faithful to the source material! Bad Hayter! Bad Snyder!
So although I think Hayter seems sincere, I believe that I will keep my money in my pocket. I’ve already plonked down AU$16 to see this. I wasn’t going to see it a second time at the movies and asking me to do so, seems, well, naff and a bit wrong. It’s not a cause or a charity, it’s a multi-million dollar film that didn’t do as well as expected. The writer and the director got a big payday out of this and asking me for more of my cash seems rather impolite.
Interestingly over at Slate Magazine in their Big Money section Chadwick Matlin and Chris Wilson predicted this soft box office result a week ago. See why here.
I first saw mention of this in the Defamer column at gawker.com, but have linked instead to the original letter at Hardcore Nerdity because is a snarkfest that doesn’t need any more hits than it already gets. Not on my watch!
Elevate the Insignificant,
*Alex Tse has a co-writing credit.