Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Record setting box office bomb?

I just read that the new fantasy animated adventure Delgo has set a record as the biggest opening weekend box office bomb for a movie released on so many screens. Now, when hollywood types want to talk about a bomb they reference Kevin Costner's Waterworld, which they've dubbed "Fishtar", a reference to a previous bomb, 1987's Ishtar. So, I'm asking for your submissions. Without having seen the movie (and, let's face it, no one has seen this movie) what should we rename it to capture it's truly epic box-office floppy-ness?

Ishtar cost $55 mil and made only $12.7. Waterworld cost $175 mil to make (the most ever until Titanic) and made $88 mil, though it eventually made a tidy profit with international sales and VHS and DVD. Delgo cost some $40 mil to make. Here's the salient number: Considering how wide a release it's had, here's the per-screen average: $237 for opening weekend. For a point of reference, Frost/Nixon made $16,061 per screen, and Doubt made $33,815, though it was only on 15 screens. So when I say Delgo bombed, it's difficult to come up with any kind of analogy that's in remotely good taste which describes just how big a bomb this is. (Bomb analogies are dangerous territory.)

Perhaps, like Fishtar before it, Delgo will do well enough overseas and on DVD to make a profit. But I hope not. Because in the previews the production values looked terrible. Many of my Xbox games' cut-scenes look better. If it's going to take Hollywood seven years and $40 million dollars to produce a movie, they should expect that by the time it comes out it will look like outdated technology compared to the world of video games.

Pixar's Wall-E is still fresh in my mind, as I recently bought it and watched it again because I'm going to show clips from it as part of the dystopia unit in my Sci-Fi Lit class. If Pixar can produce something as high quality as Wall-E, and fill theaters despite the fact that the story's protagonist not only lacks an overpaid actor doing the voicework, but barely has the ability to speak, then movies that look as bad as Delgo should go the way of the dodo. Aha! Maybe that's what we should call it. Dodo!

1 comment:

@bdul muHib said...

But I have to say, Ishtar and Water World- two excellent movies! It's so sad they got so panned.