Bad Buzz Threatens To Crack DA VINCI CODE

It had all the elements.

The novel stayed on the Bestseller list for over 2 years (usually at the top.) Film rights were purchased by one of Hollywood’s most successful producers, Brian Grazer. (INSIDE MAN, FLIGHTPLAN, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, 8 MILE).
It was scripted by Akiva Goldsman for Academy Award winning director Ron Howard. (The powerhouse trio previously collaborated on CINDERELLA MAN and A BEAUTIFUL MIND.)

It stars Tom Hanks who needs no list of credits. The rest of the cast includes Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Jean Reno, Audrey Tautou and Alfred Molina. Solid actors who have been a part of some big movies.
Sony pictures, in a bold move of confidence, didn’t hold regular critics screenings, but instead unveiled the film on opening night of the Cannes Film Festival. Sony’s bypassed the critics on many films this year, but always genre pictures whose fan base exclude the likes of Ebert & Roper. The studio reasoned that, like BENCHWARMERS and UNDERWORLD 2, the DA VINCI fan base don’t care about the reviews.

Then the film played at Cannes.
It was like a stampede to see who could post on the web first. Word got out fast, DA VINCI CODE the movie doesn’t hold up to the book. “Tedious” was the most often used word, with too much exposition, wooden performances and an ending that won’t quit.

“Ron Howard has managed to turn gold into lead.”
“Tom Hanks, in his first genuinely dull screen performance.”
“As exciting as watching your parents play Sudoku.”

So what happened? Popular theory is that Dan Brown’s page turner was always full of problems, and those problems are more obvious in the film’s overly faithful, large scale adaptation.
Many still expect DA VINCI to open at #1 this weekend (those millions of readers don’t give hooey about the buzz), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the animated OVER THE HEDGE take the weekend. It looks good, it’s better reviewed, and it’ll play to a very wide audience. (Even those who see DA VINCI one day, might easily make room for a family outing to HEDGE on another.)

As for the author and filmmakers on DA VINCI…they’ll be crying all the way to the bank. It may under perform – what hasn’t this summer – but the film should easily recoup its $100 million dollar budget. And I have a sneaking suspicion of better work in their future.

Especially after POSEIDON, it’s going to be an interesting week 3. Maybe the blockbusters start succeeding next week with X-MEN 3, directed by… Never mind.
"What Fire? I don't see any fire."

[CORRECTION: DA VINCI CODE made $28.8 million on Friday alone, compared to $10.8m for OVER THE HEDGE. Guess I was wrong on that one.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to be off a bit on the whole "slump" thing... and as far as "Da Vinci" goes, I read the book before all the hype. It was an easy read and a fun little adventure - I was excited that they were going to make a film out of it, but wondered how they'd manage to keep up the energy when the book is virtually all exposition. Well, the movie is too, and yet somehow it managed to still entertain me and my girl (who never read the novel). Hanks didn't have much to do, but he was good. It was the supporting players that made the wheels turn. Bettany was a very creepy Silas, McKellen was an excellent Teabing and little Audrey was... hot. Anyway. I caution you to wait a bit before you write titles like "Bad Buzz..." - (the film opened to $77M in the U.S. alone and over $224M worldwide. Yeah, that's a quarter of a BILLION dollars in its first weekend out. - from I'd say that's pretty good.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Humby said...

While I agree with most of what the above "anonymous" said, I must jump to defend mister Cutshaw...

The movie did have bad buzz going into it's opening weekend. the definition of "buzz is the word on the movie BEFORE it opens and there is no doubt that the "buzz" on DA VINCI was BAD.

That being said, it sure does look like the audience don't really care what the critics had to say. Congrats to the filmmakers and to Sony for a HUGE OPENING weekend.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Humby -

From, the definition of buzz is:

Buzz (noun) (slang)
Rumor; gossip: the latest buzz from Hollywood.

Buzz, according to the dictionary, is gossip or rumor. It is neither strictly factual nor is it based on opinion. It is "rumored" information - so it could be said that buzz comes from the advance awareness of the audience at large and not from critics.

Critics give a "critical" review after having seen and consequently reviewed a film based upon their professional opinion. A review of a film is neither gossip nor rumor - therefore I would not consider a critical bash to be "bad buzz" - if the "buzz" had come from a studio insider or perhaps the whisper of test audiences (which is not possible as this film was not tested), I would not have come down on Cutshaw for his title but in this case, i feel, the title simply does not fit the facts.

Also, based on exit polls, 70% of people leaving cinemas this weekend enjoyed the film overall and nearly 85% had been eagerly awaiting it's theatrical release - Based on that, I'd say the "buzz" was good, the reviews were bad. Perhaps the better title might have been "Bad Reviews Threaten To Crack Da Vinci Code." Anyway. Thanks for agreeing with "most" of what I said... maybe now you agree with all of it?

10:02 PM  
Blogger Humby said...

just for the sake of the back and forth, because i think that it is fun...
there were test screening of DA VINCI CODE according to Ron Howard. he stated on SUNDAY MORNING SHOOTOUT that they had, in fact 10 small research screening in addition to screenings at his house with friends of his. but that is beside the point.

all that i was saying was that the advanced word was negative. i would consider any advanced word on a movie to fall under the catagory of "buzz". These reviews and the "shock" that the movie was bad was covered in a ridiculous fashion by ALL of the news networks after it screened at Cannes. I thought it might have a negative impact of the gross, but alas, it did not. The tracking on the movie was through the roof approaching its release, so it turned out that the advanced word from Cannes did not effect people's desire to see it.

while i have yet to see the movie (tomorrow i will), most of the people that i talk to liked it for the most part. that combined with the HUGE box office had without a doubt changed the tide in the favor of Sony and their blockbuster.

on another note, i looked at ROTTEN TOMATOES and saw that the movie is only getting 21% favorable reviews. that kinda shocks me. are critics that out of touch with their audiences?

i look forward to watching the flick and making up my own mind.

4:15 PM  

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