ROT­TEN POTA­TOES

Rot­ten Pota­toes is brown bread! Go fig­ure says Tara Brady

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - OPINION -

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

Nym­pho­ma­niac.

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.

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