OnÂ Friday WATCHMEN will open on thousands of screens. The $100 million film is directed by Zack Snyder, the man who gave us 300. The question is, will WATCHMEN meet HollywoodÂ’s expectations or beÂ a disappointment? Pundits are getting ready to pontificate over the popcorn crumbs.
What are the expectations for WATCHMEN? Simple. Blockbuster or bust. ThatÂ’s what they are saying.
For those in the dark, WATCHMEN is another comic book adapted into a special effects laden movie. The year is 1985. Nixon is still president, the Cold War with Russia still smolders and superheroes are banned. OK, it doesnÂ’t make much sense. LetÂ’s just say WATCHMEN is a comic that changed how comics are viewed. It had grown so pop culture relevant that in a moment of weakness Time Magazine called it one of the most important 100 novels of all time back in 2005. Really?
Right now Hollywood is relishing 2009. The first seven weeks have attendance up 16%, revenues up 17.5%. The studios are feeling downright smug. Their industry is indeed recession proof. ThatÂ’s debatable, but since the people populating the industry live in a dream factory world, they believe their own dreams, manufactured or not.
If WATCHMEN does less than expected, gloom will fall over Hollywood. Their smugness will be replaced by unbridled anxiety over a worsening economic downturn. Film production will be cut back, salaries will be lowered and people will be laid off. If all goes well, film production will be cut back, salaries will be lowered and people will be laid off.Â
HereÂ’s the new reality. It doesnÂ’t really matter how WATCHMEN does. Hollywood is no longer owned by studios. They are owned by big companies stuck in the middle of a worsening recession. The idiot savants running these companies will over react to anything. Economy good, act disproportionately. Economy bad, act disproportionately.
So no matter how WATCHMEN performs at the box office, the savants will be looking to cut back on everything, including those areas of profitability.
So donÂ’t listen to all the popcorn shoveling pundits. HollywoodÂ’s studios will make decisions based on a unique set of rules. How one film does has nothing to do with their decisions making. Instead, go see WATCHMEN and decide for yourself. Is it a good film or not. ThatÂ’s what we care about.
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Garen has been in the dark for years. As a film exhibitor, programmer and reviewer, he has seen thousands of films.Â Regularly seen on NE Cable News & NH Public Radio, he produces the Boston Science Fiction Film FestivalÂ and like his popcorn without turkey fat aka ersatz butter.Â Besides film, he has a passion for being a Frugal Yankee.