LOOK INTO MY CRYSAL BALL — BUT DON’T BELIEVE WHAT IT SAYS - Content
LOOK INTO MY CRYSAL BALL — BUT DON’T BELIEVE WHAT IT SAYS
Charlize Theron, Seth MacFarland, 'A Million Ways to Die in the West'
For Hicksflicks.com, June 6, 2014
Last week in the "Movies of the Week" section below, I prognosticated that Seth Macfarland's sleazy R-rated "A Million Ways to Die in the West" would be a sure-fire box-office hit and easily take the No. 1 spot for the weekend.
Man, how wrong can a guy be?
Not only did it fall far well below monetary expectations, it was soundly clobbered by another new film, the PG-rated fantasy, "Maleficent." And it was also clobbered by the PG-13 superhero fantasy "X-Men: Days of Future Past" … in its second week.
"Maleficent" debuted with $70 million over the Friday-Sunday weekend window. "X-Men" took in $33 million (for a two-week total of $162 million). And "A Million Ways to Die in the West" coughed up a measly $17 million.
Angelina Jolie, 'Maleficent'
Not that I'm bothered by that. I'm encouraged, even. But I'm sure surprised. And so was Universal, the studio that released the comedy. Along with a lot of other Hollywood insiders.
In the wake of its opening-week failure, online scribes are trying to understand why. Was it this one more gross than "Ted," Macfarland's raunchy movie about a foul-mouthed teddy bear? Are audiences tiring of a steady stream of gross-out gore and disgusting bodily-functions gags? Was it because Macfarland put himself at the center of the film, starring as well as writing and directing? Was it because it was a Western, and even a Western spoof can't lasso an audience these days?
No one knows for sure, of course, but maybe there really is a limit to how far an R-rated comedy can go. And maybe this one crossed the line.
Not having seen many of them myself, I can't say for sure. In fact, I've never seen a Judd Apatow movie and have no interest in the gross-out, raunchy, foul-mouthed excesses that pass for humor in so many modern films.
It's fair to say that my wife and I take in comedies less than any genre of movies these days — and we go to movies every week, sometimes two or three times a week.
Still, the box-office business being what it is in the modern world, Macfarland and friends won't lose money. The film was modestly budgeted at $40 million and it won't take long for foreign markets and home-video platforms to put the film into the black.
And we shouldn't expect this singular flop to have any real impact on these kinds of movies. There are plenty more R-rated comedies coming down the pipeline and I predict most of them will do well.
But then again, as has been proved, what do I know?