Silly us X-Files fans trying to rationalize why The X-Files: I Want to Believe crashed and burned so badly this summer. It was too thoughtful! Too character-driven! Too focused on giving fans emotional closure, and not enough on slam-bang summer excitement! Long-time franchise producer Frank Spotnitz has a much easier and quicker answer: It was The Dark Knight's fault.

His theory goes thus: The X-Files opened a week after The Dark Knight broke all sorts of records and began its domination of the summer box office. What's more, the dark and brooding film was similar in tone to the caped juggernaut, and not the sort of counterprogramming that might nonetheless have had a chance in its wake. And so you get $21 million domestic.

Look, I'm probably as big a fan of I Want to Believe as you'll find around these parts; for fans of the show it was a lovely, moving conclusion. For fans of the show. The commercial problem with the film wasn't that it was too dark or that it followed The Dark Knight, but that it was too small, and its appeal too narrow. A bigger, flashier X-Files, with more explosions and flying saucers, would have done better, Batman notwithstanding. As it stood, people who didn't grow up on Mulder and Scully didn't see a reason to go. And -- speaking, again, as someone who loves the film -- they probably made the right choice. There wasn't much there for them.

Oh, and as to the possibility of another film that Spotnitz vaguely suggests: no thank you. This was a graceful, satisfying finale.

[via Movie City News]