Variety magazine has published a (very US-centric) review of the biggest movie flops of 2006. Many of these aren’t surprising, and some of them I haven’t heard of – suggesting that they might not have been released in the UK yet. On a side-note, it’s rather patronising how ‘foreign money’ is barely considered worth accounting for in the calculations, despite often being twice the US takings. Anyway…
What is it about lists of the worst performing films that always mkes them interesting? I guess it’s just that so many people had such great belief in a project and it’s strange to see them all being so wrong… Or maybe they didn’t have the belief in it either? Perhaps the makers of the films were all busy trying to convince themselves and others that they were in on a big thing and missed the chance that none of them realised the other person was only pretending too.
The emperor is wearing no clothes, and he appears to be Nicolas Cage in the remake of The Wicker Man: surely if there was ever a film that was going to be a no-brainer appearence in turkey lists then this was it. A remake of a classic British horror/thriller, relocated away from Britain, starring a man better known for his action movies and equine face than his acting range, and ill-advised plot alterations. Nicolas Cage is not Edward Woodward, but what the film really lacked was a convincing big-name enemy, someone against whom the hero could pit his wits. In the first film we had Christopher Lee, and in the second…? Do American actors play ‘evil’ as well as British ones? Can anyone compete with someone like Christopher Lee? Or Alan Rickman? Hell, even Bob Hoskins can play a completely twisted nutter convincingly.
Variety doesn’t take the ‘this was a turkey from the beginning’ view of its films, but their response to The Wicker Man is quite amusing:
Cage’s mopey face didn’t make for titillating marketing.
Another phrase that they use is more telling though:
[The Wicker Man] faced the dilemma of not fitting neatly into either the horror or thriller genre.
Do audiences really need such comfortable boundaries? In recent years films like Donnie Darko and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind have shown that you don’t have to be in a genre, or even have the biggest stars, to work. Maybe the secret that Hollywood is missing is that audiences are getting better at spotting yet another dud remake, and that should strike fear into a lot of projects that are probably being pitched as you read this.