Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Ramblings

Ah, Monday. Don't know about you, but I sure do love the smell of stacks and stacks of paperwork in the morning.


But, as it is recommended for all good, hardworking employees to do, I need to take a moment of my time to whip up a blog post for this morning. Well, okay, so that's not really true at all. The part about it being recommended. I do, however, need to post something for this morning.

And, as luck would have it, this weekend brought some pretty significant comics news. I guess the big story (okay, so I'm speaking in relative terms here, as the real "big story" would likely be much more important than what I'm about to talk about) is this weekend's box office take. Watchmen, in its second week of release, took a pretty steep drop-off from last week.

And, by "pretty steep," I mean it fell head first off a cliff and landed on the rocks below. And by "rocks below," I don't mean the nice, flat ones. I mean the jagged, pointy, and surely death-inducing ones off to the side.

Watchmen comic cover - The Manhattan on the MoonThe Zach Snyder-helmed flick took in $18,070,000 (according to Box Office Mojo), a nearly 70% decrease from opening weekend returns, and it finished second behind Disney's Race to Witch Mountain.

Not exactly Dark Knight numbers, those.

With a reported production budget of $150 million, Watchmen's worldwide take thus far is still under that number, clocking in at just over $112.5 million.

So, what does this mean? Well, in my opinion it means that the flick has underperformed a bit, but I can't say that I'm all that shocked. I mean, the biggest obstacle that the movie needed to jump over is the fact that there's no Batman or Spider-Man running around Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' masterwork. And, because of that, the vast majority of moviegoers have never heard of the book.

HOWEVER, DC Comics reported an estimated one million--yes, one million--sales of Watchmen graphic novels since the first trailer premiered during the theatrical release of Dark Knight last summer.

And, you have to assume (well, I guess you don't have to, but I did, anyway) that the majority of those purchases were by brand new readers, and I'd even surmise that traditionally non-comics people made up a large portion of those numbers.

When I read about those figures, and I saw the full-on assault of Watchmen merchandise (including...shudder...a Rorschach bookmark...) in chain bookstores all over the place, I started to think that this movie might just have a much wider appeal than I originally thought, and that "civilians" would flock to it, much like they do to any well-made comic book movie.

So, what happened?

Well, as a friend of mine pointed out, and as we are all feeling every day lately, things are pretty lousy right now. The economy stinks, and there's still a war going on, and people are unemployed and anxious and tired and losing money. And, in the end, Watchmen is just not an uplifting story.

RorshachPeople want to escape when they go to the theater, which would explain why Paul Blart, Mall Cop killed at the box office. That, or a Kevin James/Satan pact that I'm not aware of.

Paul Blart: Mall CopAnd Watchmen certainly isn't an escape from the darkness--it's an immersion into said darkness. I mean, at the end of the film...


Rorschach doesn't get the bad guy, becasue 1. the bad guy is one of the good guys, and 2. Rorschach doesn't make it to the end of the film.


And, if people read the book before going to see the flick (which, according to the above statistics, many people did just that), then they knew what they were in for with this movie, and this story.

So maybe that had something to do with it.

Anyway, as we wrote about in-depth last week, the film was a big hit here at Exfanding, and in my case, it's made me go back and read the graphic novel for a fourth time. I just finished Chapter Nine last night, and I haven't once thought, wow, Snyder really messed that up.

So, hopefully it makes back its budget in the theaters, and I think it'll be a very strong seller on DVD...or Blu-Ray...or Laserdisc...whatever.

Now, before I let you go, I wanted to mention one other thing. The Web site Ain't It Cool News has released the first images of the David Fincher-produced Goon animated movie (!!!!) and you can check them out right here.

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