Rotten Potatoes is brown bread! Go figure says Tara Brady
Well, we had a good innings but this, dear reader, is the end. Rotten Potatoes is brown bread. So from now on, you’ll have to come up with up-to-the-minute box office data, sarcastic remarks and statistical analysis all on your lonesome.
So what have we learned over these long years of chart-watching? If indeed, anything?
Happily, this week’s figures coincide with many of this lovely defunct column’s pet preoccupations. Want to make a splash in the Hibernian movie-verse? Here’s a handy cut-out-and-keep guide.
1. Be John Michael McDonagh: Did it matter that The Guard and
Calvary hadn’t a single decent or dignified female character between them? Did it matter that
Calvary was an experimental play that in no way resembled a film? Not a bit.
2. Make dumbass comedies: After two weekends, Let’s Be Cops has ¤838,731 in its Irish kitty.
Sex Tape was an unsightly flop in the US. But in Ireland, where no comedy can be too dumb or too American, it took €83,061some nine weeks after its American release. Now that’s a big fat piracy window. The same film is number one in NI, the territory that went nuts for Lars von Trier’s
3. Don’t set your film before the 1990s. Period drama is kaput. Especially Irish period drama. Even Ken Loach, a beloved household directorial brand on these shores, made just €238,519in ROI
with Jimmy’s Hall. A decent haul.
But The Wind that Shakes the
Barley made more than 10 times that amount in 2006.
4. Don’t set your film in Northern Ireland. Doesn’t matter is it’s a feelgood comedy like Good
Vibrations with rave reviews in its corner. Release it down south and it’s an elephant in the room. With a trumpet. And syphilis.
5. Don’t go arthouse: At the height of the Weinstein brothers’ powers, it was possible (and expected) for a certain percentage of foreign-language films and Sundance wows to burst out of the arthouse ghetto. Not anymore. Just look at what happened to the tremendous Blue Ruin last spring. Never heard of it? Exactly.
6. Make sure your film is about a superhero: the most Nietzschean kind of movie protagonist turns out to be the most Nietzschean at the box office. How unironic.
7. Don’t forget: girls are the new boys – since 1977, all films have been aimed squarely at lonely males in the 17-25 age bracket. But in western Europe and North America, there’s a new fan girl in town. And last weekend she pushed Lucy up to €851,992and
Maleficent up to €1,519,992in the ROI.
So is cinema product doomed to a path of increasing homogeneity?
Yes. But occasionally, a blisteringly original picture like
The Guest appears, the reviews are good, and movie punters pay for more than €38,046in tickets, marking the weekend’s best screen averages. The system works. Kind of.