Vés enrere



 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?