Was Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ an inevitable box office flop?

Oldboy-2013-box-office

Did we need an Oldboy remake?

Back in 2003 we were introduced to a story that was so warped it became an instant classic. ‘Old Boy’, directed by Chan-wook Park attained global cult success.

The manga comic-book adaptation had one of the most bizarre, and memorable twists and its style mimicked a surreal, dreamlike, live-action video game.

The South Korean movie was originally shot for a reported $3 million and It was unique in a sense that it spoke a new kind of narrative. It influenced a generation of young filmmakers and today it’s a masterpiece that is still studied and admired.

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But now, here we are, looking at a remake shot by Spike Lee, a formidable director, which cost 10x more, and puts Josh Brolin in a ‘vengeance’ role, where he has to find out why he was kidnapped and imprisoned for 20 years. Now that may sound like a fun premise for an action/ thriller movie, but if we’ve seen that already, why do we need to see it again? The original ‘Old Boy’ was never meant to be a commercial breakout film to be adapted and re-told for American audiences to ‘get’.

An inside look at ‘Oldboy’


Inside Look: “Oldboy” starring Josh Brolin by thesevensees

What makes this remake a harder sell is the fact that it didn’t generate significant buzz online and that it wasn’t going to give us something significantly new, or exciting that Spike Lee fans would get to cherish. His films always have something to say, but here, it’s already been said.

So far the reviews have been less than stellar, with a solid 2 star rating on IMDB and a less than admirable 43% on Rotten Tomatoes as of today.

The timing of its release to coincide with Thanksgiving also adds a question mark to its box office potential. Do people really want to go out and see this right now or are family movies going to work better in the holiday season?

According to Variety, the film is set to be one of the worst performing of the year, with a cinema average of $3000, meaning it won’t pass the $2 million in its first 5 days of release.

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