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It’s the weekend that proved… what, exactly? As Fright Night, Spy Kids: All The Time In The World and Conan all bombed ay the box office, it’s tempting to draw some kind of larger conclusion from what turned out to be a brutal weekend for genre properties, but I’ll be damned if I really know what that larger conclusion could be.
After a weekend that saw the three highest profile new releases flop with moviegoers – while The Help continued to draw them in without any trouble whatsoever – all manner of expert commentary and insight is being spent letting us know that something happened over the last few days. The problem is, no-one seems to know just what that something actually is. Apparently, seeing remakes of Conan and Fright Night – two middling to cult properties at the best of times, at least in terms of movies – and a fourth Spy Kids movie featuring none of the original stars (and coming eight years after the last installment) dramatically underperform somehow means… Is it an inditement against remakes? Perhaps it’s a lesson to moviemakers from an audience growing sick of 3D! Or maybe something to do with ticket prices! Yeah, that’s right. Or was it a backlash against genre movies after a summer filled with them? Who can keep track anymore.
The correct answer is, of course, all of the above, and none of the above. I’m sure that there are elements of each and every explanation that people are offering for the mass failure of these particular three movies that hold true for different people, but each argument can also be disproven when unfolded across a larger canvas. What it really comes down to is more likely that people just didn’t want to watch those particular movies because none of them looked that great, and none of them had been hyped enough to overwhelm that particular level of apathy.
There’s nothing special about either these movies or the fact that they weren’t hits. The idea that the failure of any of these films is in any way important comes, of course, not from any of the films themselves – Did anyone really expect any of these to be massive hits? Honestly – but the fact that they all bombed on exactly the same weekend. That might be the lesson for movie execs, really; that midlevel genre flicks should really be spaced out, so that they can fail quietly, and no-one would bat an eyelid.