‘Watchmen’ Screenwriter Asks Fans To See It Again

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 22nd, 2013 at 2:56 pm,

Anyone who was even remotely interested in Watchmen has most likely already been to the theatre to see it (a lot were probably there for midnight screenings, even more have probably seen it more than once already). The critics in general have been pretty mixed on the film and movie fans have been a lot more positive towards it (although not everyone is praising it as much as the closest analogue The Dark Knight).

Watchmen screenwriter David Hayter (who if you’re into your video games you’ll know as the voice of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series) had been working on trying to adapt the graphic novel into a filmable screenplay for about ten years. And to put all that time and effort into something (just so you know he co-wrote it with Alex Tse) must be draining to say the least, and that’s even before you have to worry about people critiquing the final product.

Well in an open letter to HardcoreNerdity, Hayter urges people who liked the film to see it again. Check out an extract from the letter below (click here for the letter in full):

“If the film made you think. Or argue with your friends. If it inspired a debate about the nature of man, or vigilante justice, or the horror of Nixon abolishing term limits. If you laughed at Bowie hanging with Adrian at Studio 54, or the Silhouette kissing that nurse. Please go see the movie again next weekend. You have to understand, everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week. If you care about movies that have a brain, or balls, (and this film’s got both, literally), or true adaptations – And if you’re thinking of seeing it again anyway, please go back this weekend, Friday or Saturday night. Demonstrate the power of the fans, because it’ll help let the people who pay for these movies know what we’d like to see. Because if it drops off the radar after the first weekend, they will never allow a film like this to be made again.”

At first I looked at what Hayter said and it came off as him just playing up a movie he had a major part in so that the box office numbers would rise. But even though that is still what he’s saying, it’s not as simple as that. Hayter is clearly a fan as well as a writer (if you remember he also wrote the first two X-Men movies), and going just by that open letter alone (not to mention the fact he spent almost a decade of his life developing this thing), his love for the material shines through brightly.

I love the point, and wholeheartedly agree with him, that we should go and see movies like this not only first off but multiple times. That way, as Hayter states, the people who put up the cash for these movies can see that this is the kind of quality stuff we want to see.

We need to stop paying money hand over fist to see cinematic excrement like Meet the Spartans and Beverly Hills Chihuaha, and support the types films we want to see made.

Sources: /Film and HardcoreNerdity

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23 Comments

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  1. People go see what people want to see … be it a literary masterpiece, an action pick, a comedy or excrement. They choose to see it and there’s nothing we can do to convince them otherwise.

    BTW – using Beverly Hills Chihuaha as an example isn’t fair because it is a kids movie. Different target audience. Not too many 4-10 year olds understand shakespeare.

  2. I doubt ALL of Beverley Hills Chihuaha’s box office return was due to kids. You don’t think ANYONE other than kids saw that movie? What about the Paris Hilton clones which own these dogs in Hollywood? What about those who just turned up on a Friday or Saturday night and bought a ticket because of the eye-catching title?

  3. Hayter makes the point perfectly clear! If you liked or disliked the film, you cannot deny that this is such a risky film to be made by a major studio! Think about it, all the messages, ideas and philosophies behind it. Hell, the one person whom everyone likes, Roschach, is a hardcore right-winged psychopath! I wouldn’t be surprised if at the next republican convention everyone wears Roschach masks. Think about it, in a major studio backed film in Liberal-land Hollywood!
    What Hayter says is biblical truth, if this film falls off this weekend, I doubt you will see in a long time major studios allowing films to take risks. We already know that they think it is wise to play safe in terms of budget and returns, and I understand that whole-heartedly.
    So I would suggest that, yes the ending is changed blah-blah-blah, but get off the high horse and start encouraging your peoples to see Watchmen.

  4. I hope to see Watchmen this weekend (for the first time). If it is truly good and phenomenal then I may see it again in the theater. It is not my calling to spend my money, twice, on movies I like just to try and convince Hollywood to make more movies to my liking. Maybe instead of begging us fans to go see it more than once they could do a better job of promoting it. Like for instance, instead of showing only action maybe play up the mystery and political tight-roping angles.
    Look, it’s not that I disagree with what he is saying about all the crap that is out there. I just have a problem with ANYONE telling me that for the betterment of this person, that industry or this group, I should surrender my money blindly.

    My screen rant over.

  5. i wont be going watching this one anytime soon i thought ir was badly disappointing! Shame because i cudnt wait to see it!

  6. Believe it or not, a movie’s revenue does reflect what people demand. As long as Watchmen’s revenue safely exceeds its cost, we can expect more movies like this, even if its only a fraction of the movies being made. I’ve seen 4 movies in the last year or so: Iron Man, Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder Watchmen, and The International (quick decision last night; it was awesome, watch it). I’m satisfied.

    This guy wrote an awesome movie (or walked around a set reading a graphic novel aloud), but if this movie needs a minority of moviegoers to see the movie twice for it to be successful, then it isn’t successful in the first place. As comic book readers, we’d all like to see every issue of every comic we love in live action; but there aren’t enough of us to make that profitable. This is just a fact of economics.

  7. Agree with his sentiment, but asking a lot for people to keep spending on movies.

    Like reality tv, those crappy comedies are cheap to make and pull in people who just want to enjoy themselves. It’s an uphill struggle.

  8. Saw it once….I will see a Director’s Cut if it comes to theaters and I will buy the DVD’s/Blu-Ray both theatrical and Director’s Cut(if they are released separately) so WB has and will get enough of my cashola..I agree with the posts above and if the movie warranted a second viewing as it is then I would definitely support that but as it is one viewing of this version was enough for me..

  9. I am not a comic book reader, But I think Watchmen is an original and unique film that I’d say is a step above The Dark Knight simply because of its source material. (How many Batman movies have been made through the years?)

    Ink is correct that the promotion of this film was handled poorly. What I expected to see, based on the trailers, compared to what was delivered by the film was not the same. The trailers had me believing I’d see non stop action and special effects and little in the line of an interesting story. Easily the story was the best part, made all the more entertaining by being set in an alternate reality of our own world.

    Now the person who wrote it is asking us to see it repeatedly so Hollywood will pull its head out of its collective A double S and see the value of such original thinking is a lost cause. The reason Watchmen made to the big screen is because some studio biggie had momentary burst of inspiration. This also explains the promotion of the movie: All action and effects to appeal to the mainstream movie goers equals dollars at the box office.

    I will add this to my DVD collection, but I can’t say if I’ll see it in the theaters again or not.

  10. I agree with Hayter’s sentiment as well. I actually think that Watchmen is one of those movies that may warrant a second viewing – a calm sit-down to take it in objectively once the hype-anticipation is out of the way.

    Vic

  11. To be honest, I don’t even particularly like going to the theatres anymore for viewing movies. I am much more comfortable in my own home however I do still get down to the theatre on opening weekends for movies just to give my support and I was there bright and early Sat morning watching the Watchmen and will probably be down there again this upcoming weekend.

  12. @blipvert

    I’m with you – unless it’s a blockbuster or some sort of “event” movie, I enjoy it just as much, if not more at home.

    Vic

  13. Yep i’ll be going back

  14. Ill most likely go again this weekend, i have some other friends who want to see it. And those last two movies he mentioned…seriously who commisioned that crap?

  15. Personally it sounds like he wants the fans to see it so he can get a bigger pay check.

  16. @blipvert & Vic I’m with you guys,
    With downloading being available I tend to stick at home when it comes to films that are more drama and conversational pieces. Films that it would not matter if you went to a theatre or not to see them, but when it comes to action movies, blockbusters, epics, big time dramas, or even some talked about comedies, then the theatre is for me. I still think to what Sam Jackson said that going to the theatre is a social experience. The problem are these crackhead kids who spend money on a movie yet wanna talk to their crackhead friends! What is the point?

  17. Despite wanting to kick it all round the room for the, ah, “major alteration”, I’m actually going to see it again in IMAX, partly because I think it’ll be worth it visually, and partly because I’m just plain odd.

    I remember years ago I saw the movie of Catch-22, loved it, then read the book and of course that was about a thousand times better. If I’d been a fan of the book then seen the movie I’m sure I’d have been having kittens about it.

    Sometimes things I’m incandescent about first time around can settle in better on subsequent viewings. I’m interested to see if I feel any differently about the movie now I know how it pans out and I can watch more as a piece in its own right.

  18. I direct you to a short story which I feel illustrates David Hayter’s treatment of the Watchmen adaptation.

    Based on a true story!

    http://fathouseblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/bottomless-void.html

  19. See, I disagree with Hayter here. I thought the film was merely good, and not something I want to see again (at least not in the current format – we’ll see about the inevitable director’s cut when it comes out). There were some brilliant moments, but the overall experience is more than a little uneven.

    It did take balls to make this movie, but it did so at times at the expense of the story, as if it was daring us to keep our eyes open for the more gruesome moments, or by trying to shock us with the explicit and wild sex (depicted discreetly in the graphic novel). I’m not prudish. I also don’t like attempts to use sex and violence as distractions instead of as elements to be used only to develop character or move the story along. If you’re doing that as a director, then you might as well be directing the next Friday the 13th flick.

    Fortunately, these elements, when they were used gratuitously, were used sparingly so it didn’t kill the entire experience.

    The point, however, is that Hollywood is notoriously bad at reading why a film did good, preferring to concentrate on just those banal and superficial elements as the reason of choice. Eisner did this when Pixar busted out with an ever continuing string of successes and responded by killing off 2-D Disney animation because “CGI was where it’s at”.

    In short, it’s pointless trying to send a message this way. The only reason to see Watchmen again would be because you enjoyed it enough to want to see it again when it’s just as likely they’ll interpret it as meaning they need to inject more pointless sex and violence into their comic book/graphic novel movies.

  20. By the way, just as a side note, I think the ideal way to translate Watchmen on-screen would be to make it a 12 part mini-series on a premium cable network with a budget, then release it on DVD. Wouldn’t have to worry as much about editing it down to 2 1/2 hours. The richness and detail of the novel might actually have a chance at being more closely approximated in that format.

    But what do I know?

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