At last week’s Customs & Departures: An Evening With Thai-American Writers event, playwright/performer Prince Gomolvilas brings down the house on the movies “21” and “The Last Airbender.” He performed a monologue titled “21 Reasons Why This Movie Sucks.” The piece, which originally debuted in 2008’s Jukebox Stories: The Case of the Creamy Foam, is a delightfully biting takedown of the movie, 21. (The monologue is one of the central pieces in JUKEBOX STORIES, a storytelling, song-singing, bingo-playing, theatrical extravaganza starring Prince Gomolvilas and musician Brandon Patton.) Two years later, he’s updated the monologue so that he could bitch-slap The Last Airbender too. Hard. Really hard.
21 Reasons Why This Movie Sucks by Prince Gomolvilas (Part 1)
21 Reasons Why This Movie Sucks by Prince Gomolvilas (Part 2)
More about Prince Gomolvilas
Prince Gomolvilas is a playwright whose plays include Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ Love, The Theory of Everything, and the stage adaptation of the Scott Heim novel, Mysterious Skin. He is the recipient of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Drama, and he teaches in the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC.
I am a little tired from hearing from M. Night and his army of apologists that Night makes films that the critics hate, but audiences love. Sadly, that just has not been the case in recent years. I have been going over the numbers since reading some dubious movie sites that have been saying M. Night’s latest films were “successes”, yes I know, despite 98% of the critics in the US have said otherwise. Please feel free to research the validity since I took them off MovieMojo.com.
Lady in the Water earned a pedestrian $42 million at the domestic box-office. It was the 73rd highest grossing film of 2006. Considering Night is a very well-known director with has a track record of success and a big studio marketing budget behind every movie he makes, which is a terrible showing. 2 years later, The Happening earned just $64 million from US moviegoers. It was the 49th highest grossing film of the year, again a poor showing considering Night’s name and the studio muscle behind the film. Especially troubling was the fact that it made $30 million its opening weekend in theaters and then just tanked to earn a total of only $64 million. Most wide releases earn about a quarter of their box-office the opening weekend. For a film to do half of its total take its opening weekend it is a sign that the people who did see it the first weekend went out and told all their friends how horrible it was. It is a sign of massive negative word-of-mouth. The notion that these films were successes with audiences is a fallacy and a disservice to the readers of this article.
Finally, the latest of Box office abortions The Last Airbender is another great success story. The production budget for the film was 150 million (Marketing costs were another 130 million, but that’s another story) and so far it has made domestically $129,344,805 and since HALF goes to the theaters that show it, that amount is less than 65 million. Now if you add the the foreign gross (54 million) and we have about 188 million worldwide. However since half has to go to the theaters, the movie has only made less that 95 million so far after a month and a half. Still a failure in both counts.
I wonder if the authors of these articles had an agenda and wanted to preserve their relationships with Night so they wrote a puff piece that ignores the facts. I will admit that Air bender has been a decent “success” at the box-office, especially when compared to Night’s recent films. However, when you consider that the film had a $150 million budget and a marketing budget of more than $130 million, there seems to be little chance it will be a money-maker for Paramount. I find it amusing that Night says Paramount is waiting to decide on making sequels. The odds of a sequel to a film that lost money are slim and none. Most astute Hollywood observers know that Air bender is going to lose tens of millions.