Goin' to the Movies

Informin' You About Movies

Interestin’ News: ‘Jennifer’s Body’ Not Enough To Lure Viewers


Sometimes, a film set up to win utterly fails. While “Jennifer’s Body” might still recover, with the numerous advertisements, the love her/hate her pedigree of writer Diablo Cody (nominated for an Oscar for “Juno”), the sexual allure of Megan Fox (see above), the decent reviews (41% with 99 reviews), and the currently hip trend of vampires all in a snazzy rated-R wrapper wasn’t enough to even scrounge over $7 million at the box office this weekend.

Yes, I know the weekend isn’t actually over, but these are early estimates of what the box office will look like from Monday’s perspective and generally aren’t far off. Let me also be clear: I am not championing this film. I haven’t even see the film. I’m just a curious observer.

So why did JB fail? Read on for my thoughts.

megan-fox-jennifers-bodyTo be quite frank, I’m probably as miffed as you and many others. I’m sure Fox (the movie studio, not the brunette) will do post-release market research and figure out some pitfalls, but I am pretty shocked the film did this poor. However, I do have a few points to add.

First off, Fox (the brunette this time) has been makin’ headlines lately for referring to director Michael Bay as “Hitler” and having previously called the plot of “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” (which she starred in and Bay directed) so complicated it would take a genius to understand. Then the crew for “Transformers 2” basically backed Bay and had some nasty things to say about Fox, but was that war of words enough to foil the release of JB? I don’t think it was, but adding to the polarizing effect Fox has on people, this was certainly a factor going into the film.

Another possible misstep is that the film is reportedly without a real identity, hopping from trying to be scary and, you know, a teen horror flick, to being humorous, satirical and witty at other points. Additionally, the hipster style of slang and dialog that was infused in “Juno” has reportedly been turned to 11, to the point where it becomes a distracting and unfunny part of the film. While my own viewing will be necessary, even poorly received films with less going for it do better than this.

There is another theory appearing now that the film is out, and that is the idea that the film is basically a feminist story and that audiences aren’t quite “gettin’ it”. While I cannot agree or disagree at this point, I think this might be another factor in why the film hasn’t taken off as many outsiders thought it would.

A possible third factor is that the film, while definitely marketed, was done in a way that tried to play up the “we got hotties” factor. Months before the film was released, leaked photos of Megan Fox appeared with her rising from the water with flesh-toned stickers and panties covering her, erm, foxiness, hit the web. I can still hear the internet cry out in pain from the onslaught of bandwidth-sucking searches attempting to find said images.

Addin’ to this were the images of Fox swimming sans clothing in a lake during the various trailers, and even seductively unzipping her top. Then there were the advertisements constantly reminding us that Fox and co-star Amanda Seyfried share a kiss in the film. A kiss. Ooooooo, risque!

Finally, there is the box office itself, and the premiers of films JB were up against:

  1. The well received, kid friendly animated feature “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” (86%, 93 reviews)
  2. The hilarious and smart R-rated film “The Informant!” (76%, 107 reviews; my review here.)
  3. The panned, but star-studded romantic comedy “Love Happens” (18%, 61 reviews)

Adding to those premiers was the previous king, or queen, of the box office, holdover “Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself” (61%, 33 reviews)

JB ended up falling behind all four films in the weekend box office, which must have also been a surprise for Fox (both the brunette and the studio). Ultimately, it will be interesting to see where Fox studios points the finger for this shocking flop at the box office. Perhaps the film will rise from it’s early burial and more than make up the estimated $16 million budget.


September 20, 2009 - Posted by | Interestin' News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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