This week has been a weird amalgam for me. I haven’t quite shed the trappings of a story line, but have succeeded in omitting most of the dialogue. It’s been a fun little exercise in writing visual gags.
Truthfully, after Monday’s comic, I just went where my imagination led me and I like how things turned out. I like this comic a lot for the pacing, the action and the overuse of blue – which hardly seems to appear in Theater Hopper, now that I think about it.
I probably could have been making more jokes about Watchmen, but I was more entertained by the idea of people having a fight using spray paint instead.
Speaking of Watchmen – and I know I said I was all Watchmen’d out – have you guys seen this? It’s a letter from Watchmen screenwriter David Hayter begging people to see Watchmen in the theater a second time this weekend.
Long story short, it’s basically a call-to-arms of the geek nation. Hayter implores us to see Watchmen a second time not only because “everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week” but because if you don’t, you aren’t supporting “movies that have a brain, or balls.” Begs Hayter, “if it drops off the radar after the first weekend, they will never allow a film like this to be made again.”
Gee, I had no idea that the fate of the comic book movie as a genre hinged entirely on Watchmen. Ugh.
Hayter discloses that he doesn’t see any extra money from Watchmen doing extra business. So, taking the cynical view, one has to assume that he’s trying to save face or keep his name from being too closely associated with Watchmen’s potential failure.
Hayter says that he makes his plea on behalf of “people who love smart, dark entertainment, on a grand, operatic scale.” But let’s be blunt. Watchmen is nearly dead on it’s feet. It underperformed in it’s opening weekend against NO competition. Box office analysts were expecting it to take in $70 million last week and instead it limped across the finish line with $56 million. Divisive reviews and bad word of mouth caught up to it by Saturday night and now, faced with a potential 50% drop off (as most second week movies encounter), Watchmen is in danger of being unable to match it’s $150 million production budget in domestic box office. When you factor in the additional marketing and merchandising tied into this movie, a lot of people stand to lose a lot of money.
I’m not saying Watchmen won’t make it’s money back eventually. But compared to the juggernauts of ’08 – Iron Man ($98 million opening weekend) and The Dark Knight ($158 million opening weekend) – it’ll look like the red-headed stepchild of super hero movies if it doesn’t pick up the pace.
Watchmen has been labeled “the greatest comic book of all time.” If it can’t make money, what does that say about the quality of the film or – in Hayter’s assertion – comic book fans, in general.
When you think about it, it’s kind of insulting to put the success or failure on the backs of comic book fans. Hayter claims that if Watchmen isn’t successful in it’s second week, you’ll never see such an uncompromising, harsh and gritty vision of super hero antics on screen again. But my assertion is that his plea just put a big, fat target on the back of comic book movies but assigning more importance to the adaptation of Watchmen than it deserves. Now there is a greater likelihood that people will be looking more closely than they would have for a movie that did $56 million on it’s opening weekend. Instead of studios saying “Well, it underperformed, it must not be very good.” Now they’ll look at Hayter’s plea, see Watchmen tank after the second week and say “Well, it was the comic book nerds’ fault. They didn’t come out to support this movie.
Incidentally, did Hayter miss the memo about The Dark Knight’s $1 BILLION dollar world wide gross?
Granted, people are a little more familiar with Batman than they are with Rorschach, but Nolan’s version of The Caped Crusader wasn’t exactly piffle. It dealt with some pretty lofty issues, too. The duality of man, the nature of good and evil… high test stuff. It wasn’t (for lack of a better comparison) Batman & Robin or Superman III. And it was also JUST AS LONG as Watchmen, so do cry to me about there being less opportunity to show the film and claiming that impacts box office.
If people want to see the movie, they’ll see it. But begging comic book fans to see it a second time out of some misplaced sense of duty? That’s just desperate and insulting. Bad form, Mr. Hayter.
Truth be told, I might see Watchmen a second time. But only if I can catch it in IMAX. Maybe if they can get the directors cut into theaters – the 5 hour version promises a more in-depth analysis of the characters- I’d see it. Otherwise, I’ll wait for it on DVD when it’s loaded down with extras and packaged with the animated Tales of The Black Freighter (because you know that’s coming.)
But I’m not going to see the Watchmen a second time as-is. Because, frankly, I didn’t think the theatrical cut was all that good.
I’m a card-carrying nerd. Will be for life. But don’t exploit me for your short term gain. I’ll stand up for a movie that I think deserves it. I’ll stand up for quality. But standing up for Watchmen at this point would not be a defense of “uncompromising vision.” It would be a permission slip for directors with more style than substance to run roughshod over future properties and ultimately short change the genre. Sorry, I don’t want to see a version of Y: The Last Man with slow-motion explosions and awkwardly staged sex scenes. I’ll stand up for quality.
That’s my two cents. I’m sure some of you will disagree. That’s what the comments section is for. Leave your thoughts below. Does anyone plan to see Watchmen a second time this weekend? Did Hayter’s plea have anything to do with your decision? Let us know.
I just wanted to take a moment and send kudos to Paul Southworth whose comic Ugly Hill ends today after 3 years of tearing it up on the interwebs.
Paul is a standup guy and one of the more consistently funny people I know. If you haven’t read Ugly Hill before, you’d do yourself a favor to start at the beginning and read through his archives. It’s well worth your time.