Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ flopped because it wasn’t terrible enough

spike-lee-oldboy-flop-box-office

‘Oldboy’ Reviews were not bad enough

With an all-star cast, a $30 million budget and and Spike Lee’s directorial brilliance, you would have thought that the ‘Oldboy’ remake could have done better, but when early reviews started coming out, well, they just weren’t terrible enough.

What do I mean by that? Have I completely lost it? Well, if you think of reverse psychology, when something is so bad, so extremely terrible, you are significantly more likely to act on it. Don’t audiences love an unbelievably bad movie? Isn’t that a condition of brilliance and why half of the movies at the box office succeed?

Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ was a remake of a classic. It had a very serious subject matter with a violent, and somber storyline to re-tell but the audience for that movie was going to need a spectacular wake up call to want to see it.

When the trailer for ‘Oldboy’ was released back in the summer, it accumulated negative feedback. It put this film into the ‘boring territory’. On average, if we take a look at the like and dislike count, it was hitting a 4/10 mark with the fans. That was a significant warning prior to the release that should have been considered.

Oldboy trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrLcnrnEqyI

‘Oldboy’ basically came across as this un-inspiring, bad film that was not worth watching, yet it had such a brilliant cast and it could have been saved (although the producers will not like to hear this from me). Early indicators showed this film was not going to receive a positive reception so why fight it and instead, just lay back and agree with the fans? Why not change it?

Remember ‘World War Z’? Remember how disastrous it was leading up to it’s release? That movie was a train-wreck production with numerous re-writes yet it won the box office because it became a less serious movie. Audiences were amused by how badly it had failed leading up to its release. The new trailers got excellent feedback, and people were generally excited to see it.

Fast forward to ‘Oldboy’, and did you get the excited feeling? After all, It’s got Samuel L Jackson in it! This guy’s cult one liners could have sold this film in a single interview. For example:

Samuel L Jackson :

“Yeah this movie is so motherf***ing bad you have to see it. I don’t even know why I’m in it. I had to be in it somehow. I can’t say no to Spike Lee..”

You know, I think because the film came across as this tired remake, it offended people. It made them irritated that a classic had been re-hashed. Nothing pisses off a dedicated fan base more than to see their favorite film re-told in such a way that it brings nothing new and just damages their wallet.

This could have been a comedy and it would have had a far better of chance of succeeding. Of course that would have ruined the serious homage that Spike Lee was making. However, the truth is, most of the successful films at the box office these days are not Rated R. It’s very hard to draw out this kind of audience to cinemas, especially with a limited release like this with a seriously average reception, that started way before it even came out!

Overall, ‘Oldboy’ needed to suck way more for people to be generally interested in it. It either had to have an exciting “wow this is actually good” or a “OMG this is unbelievably terrible” feel. People don’t go to the box office to be bored.

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