SMH – You want me to see WHAT?!?!
This mostly isn’t a post about Cowboys and Aliens, but for me it originated there. I’ll make a long story short and get to the point. I was really really excited about Cowboys and Aliens. And then I wasn’t any more. I kept waffling back and forth until finally the day came to see the movie and I couldn’t resist any further. It was a fine movie. I didn’t regret paying money for it and I’d probably see it again if someone asked, but it made me think about what I would have done if it had been awful.
I don’t have to tell you guys that a lot of the movies we’d be inclined to watch have been terrible. We’ve recently had a spate of breakout hits from Marvel, starting with Iron Man and continuing with the recent Captain America movie, but we’ve seen a lot of crap too. Plenty of movies I’ve been excited about that have been just plain unwatchable without booze or good friends to help ease the pain. That’s right Jonah Hex, I’m looking at you. Movies like Jonah Hex bring me to my actual point: Should we spend money supporting movies that are terrible because we want their success to drive the creation of more movies we’ll be interested in watching?
I love Jonah Hex as a character and I really love the Weird Western genre. So, knowing Jonah Hex will be a weakly written piece of film, do I spend my money to see it so I can get a better sequel in the future or because maybe it’s financial success will cause other film makers to create Weird Westerns of quality? For me, as of right now the answer is a resounding maybe. Sometimes I shell out the dough for a bad movie and sometimes I don’t. I saw Jonah Hex in the theaters. I didn’t go see Dylan Dog (3% on Rotten Tomatoes! Three freaking percent! League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had a 17%. THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS!) and wild horses couldn’t have dragged me into a theater that was screening that movie. I had the same problem with Priest and a whole host of recent sci fi/fantasy/comic book movies.
These are movies I wanted to like, to love and cherish and add to my DVD collection. But these weak pieces of crap turned out by the studios just weren’t worthy of that. The sad thing is, I’m pretty sure when these movies bomb the studios don’t say: “Well, our phoned-in poorly written and directed movie bombed, let’s make something better next time!” They say: “Well that urban-fantasy comic-book adaptation failed. Must not be our fault. There just isn’t a market for that type of movie right now.” We’ve seen it happen time and time again. Fans demanded a movie based on Firefly and we got it. But it bombed at the theaters and barely managed to break even for the studio through DVD sales. But it didn’t make enough money that we’re likely to see a sequel and that’s a shame. Hellboy is the success story here. A mediocre first movie came out (although I enjoyed it quite a bit) did ok in the box office and then blew up in DVD sales. It made enough money that we got a much better sequel and the prospect of a third film in the franchise (and damn you, The Hobbit [Not really. You know I love you, The Hobbit.] for preventing me from getting a third Hellboy movie!).
So how do we decide where to weigh in with our money to try to save a movie/genre? I wish I had the answer for you. I probably would have seen Cowboys and Aliens in theaters even if I’d heard it was abysmal. I saw 9, even though I’d heard it wasn’t very good, because I loved the animation style and wanted more strange movies like that one. On the other hand, I didn’t even look to see if Dylan Dog or Priest were playing near me and chances are we’ll never hear from them again. How do you good folks decide what to try to save?