Wow. The film that was supposed to serve as the 'alternative programming' to the Harry Potter onslaught this weekend barely opened at all. All the free press and marketing in the world, a popular young starlet, an Oscar-nominated director, and all the rest of it barely lifted Captivityto an absurd 12th place finish for the weekend, topping out at an estimated $1.5 million. Assuming these estimates hold up on Monday morning, the film did less business than Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ocean's Thirteen and several other films that have been around for weeks and weeks. It did just a tad more business than Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which has been kicking around for months. In fact, it did only marginally better than Evening, the small-budget weepie featuring Claire Danes and Meryl Streep that creeped into theaters two weeks ago on a very limited platform and had practically no marketing push whatsoever. How is that even possible?

Anyway you slice it, this disasterous showing will have huge consequences for the horror genre going forward. Horror films of the 'torture porn' variety will probably not disappear from theatrical release all-together, but I bet that, going forward, the more gruesome elements of these films will be completely hidden by the marketing gurus rather than promoted. Also, films currently in production that could fall into the torture porn category, like the remake of the Wes Craven film The Last House on the Left will become a seriously tough sell. As for R-rated horror in general, the next test will be Rob Zombie's Halloween in late August. If that does well, expect the heat to cool off a bit, but in all seriousness, what is wrong with the American movie-going public? Aren't there any horror fans still out there? Am I the only one left?

categories Cinematical