So, unless you live under a rock (or in a windowless van, which may have been the film’s prized demo), you know Sucker Punch was released this past weekend. And if you paid any attention to the internet over the weekend (which is hard to get in those vans), you know it was not only soundly thrashed by critics, but also lost to the quickly-made sequel to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
NOTE: I haven’t seen Sucker Punch yet, and may not get to it at least until the cheap theaters, if not DVD. I wasn’t expecting much previous to its release, but word is it fails even on that level.
Now, though much has been made of SP‘s “bomb” status (that’s “failure,” not “da bomb”), it really isn’t the worst bath a studio has ever taken, not by a long shot. Hell, Mars Needs Moms was released only two weeks ago, and it thudded much louder and probably caused its production company to shutter before it opened. Nor is it the worst-reviewed movie ever released, either. It stands at 21% right now on Rotten Tomatoes, three times the rating that Last Airbender had. Though SP‘s performance is nothing to celebrate, it could’ve been a lot worse. But the film has been the subject of much analysis and debate and pictures of Emily Browning in leather with a sword her nubile body flexing with every swing her eyes staring
Sorry. I got off track. Point is, this was no Pluto Nash. It underperformed, and will struggle to break even, but it might get close. And Snyder’s previous film, Owls: The Owls of Guardianville or whatever, missed the mark as well. It looks like Snyder is unable to coast by on simply his aesthetic anymore. Whatever. Then everyone remembered something:
He’s directing Superman next. Oh fudge.
Now, here’s the thing with this: WB signed Snyder to this well in advance of SP‘s release. They knew what they were getting into. And just because SP did poorly, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden no one would see Superman. Hell, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns made a decent amount of coin, and no one liked it. It’s a guaranteed $200 mil, especially if they wanna throw in some 3D (they shouldn’t, but I don’t make these decisions). Transformers 2 probably qualifies as a war crime by this point, and it made almost $400 million domestically. The people will see Superman, so rest safely, Comic-Con.
As for the wisdom of signing Snyder in the first place: it probably wasn’t the best decision. Not as bad as Ang Lee directing Hulk, but Snyder’s always been about misinterpreting why people like something. Need proof? Watchmen. I love that book, and the movie was a swing and a miss. Why? Because Snyder made it like he’d discovered some badass new superhero team, when the story is the biggest deconstruction of superhero teams. All of the complicated parts of the book which dealt with that deconstruction seemed to be handled in the film as points to slog through before getting back to the slo-mo fighting. (Oh, god, the slo-mo fighting.) It did well in terms of emulating the book’s style and story, but it seemed like he was concentrating on the wrong parts.
And so it may be with Superman. But a film like Superman is going to be 98% dictated by the studio anyhow, which only leaves Snyder 2% for slo-mo fighting. I dare say this is a project he may not fuck up all that much. I’m not anticipating it, but neither am I dreading it. I’ll be there opening weekend to see what he got right and what he got wrong. Probably more wrong, but I’m no expert, anyways.
Besides, I haven’t seen Malin Akerman on the cast list, so that’s one good decision.