John Gholson: It was the internet's critical darling, with multiple film websites practically begging genre fans to get out and see it, but Splice opened with a fizzle, not a sizzle. Why is that? I think mis-marketing is partially to blame. In the days leading up to release, I heard more than one person claim, "I liked Splice better when it was called Species." If this movie's ads recalled Species more than a modern updating of Frankenstein, then the trailers really didn't do their job.

Plus, Warner Brothers sold the film as a pure horror flick, which it most definitely isn't. It's not terrifying (and doesn't try to be), but some of it's ideas are. Splice is much more of a sci-fi film than horror film, but nobody seems to know how to market sci-fi without spaceships anymore. It's too cerebral for the typical modern horror audience (those looking for a by-the-numbers thrill ride), and its black humor can be off-putting to those that don't realize that when Splice shows its B-movie, mad-science roots or goes for an audacious laugh, it's 100% intentional on writer-director Vincenzo Natali's part.

Peter Hall: I wish I could say I was shocked by the lackluster performance of Splice at the box office, but I wasn't surprised in the least. I agree that the marketing for the movie was too narrow in its focus to properly convey all the different moods Natali strikes, but I also think part of the problem was how ubiquotous the marketing was. I think most people who were on the fence about the film wound up being clobbered over the head by TV spot after TV spot offline and flash ad after flash ad when online. Bad ads are one thing, bad ads you can't escape are a whole different beast.
categories Features, Sci-Fi