This weekend my opinion that story does matter in film was proved. The Help came in at #1 this weekend with $20.4 million dollars. The film has been getting a lot of positive buzz, and glowing reviews. Rise of th Planet of the Apes came in at #2 with $16.3 million dollars, another film that been getting a lot of positive feedback. Spy Kids 4 was #3, and brought in $12 million, but is getting a ton of negative buzz, so it's a sinking ship. and at #4 we have Conan The Barbarian at only $10 million dollars, and the movie is getting awful reviews so I doubt it will be moving up on the list.
Of course Lionsgate was disappointed in Conan's opening weekend! The movie opened in 3,015 theaters and was beat out by three movies that it should have destroyed. I think Conan should have been#1 in the box office this weekend in another parallel world that made an awesome Conan film, but it didn't. Why? Because Lionsgate just made bad decisions in the development of the movie. I've been saying from the very beginning that this new Conan film was going to suck and fail at the Box Office, and it did.
According to a report at Deadline, Lionsgate is trying to figure out what went wrong, saying "It's a headscratcher but it won't kill us." Really? You're baffled by the fact that the movie didn't do well? Did you even watch the movie that you made? If you did then you would know that it sucked. It's a no brainer to why this movie failed, like I said... from the very beginning I knew it would fail. From the moment they cast Jason Mamoa as Conan I knew the movie was done for. Every decision Lionsgate made in making this movie was the wrong one. This property has a loyal fanbase, and I'm part of that fan base, I love Conan but this movie looked like it in no way represented that character. The movie was supposed to be an adaptation of the original Robert E. Howard source material, the main problem was this movie didn't look or feel like Conan at all. Rock music, CGI blood, bad acting, and terrible script loaded with terrible dialogue just isn't going to win people over, especially the fans. This film needed a completely different director, writer, and cast. I believe the success of this film hung on the person they cast as Conan, Lionsgate even admitted that at one point, so why they cast Jason Mamoa to fill those shoes just doesn't make sense to me. According to a studio source...
There’s so much history with this character and this brand they needed someone who could both really ‘own’ Conan (making him feel relatable for this generation), but also who offered continuity with what fans already know and love. Because there’s no competing with Arnold, Jason’s performance bypasses all of the comparisons, playing the character in a very different way than Arnold did and instead taking inspiration from the written source.
Well, it didn't really work did it. The problem is the film didn't feel like it came from the written source. This was not a Conan film, and that was the problem. This is a perfect case of a studio thinking their audience is stupid. I'm telling you, the movie going audience is getting a lot smarter, and they are seeing through the marketing tricks that the studio tries to play with them. The studio blames the films failure on lack of "brand equity" which I think is bullshit. The brand is big, and there is a solid market out there for it, they just let that market down. I think Conan the Barbarian could have been a very successful movie had they actually went out and made a great film. Lionsgate just needs to admit that they made a lot of mistakes leading up to the release of a terrible Conan movie. It should have been a better film.
This is why studios needs to start listening to the fans, because they know what they're talking about. We know what the audience wants better than they do. Had they listened to the fans in the first place regarding the casting of Jason Mamoa, they could have replaced him with someone that would have made fans more happy. Although, I don't think that wouldn't have saved the awful story and script. They just needed more talented people involved with the film.