Grindhouse: Internet Buzz Does Not Equal Big Box Office Dollars

Published 8 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:20 pm,

Grindhouse has had a pretty rough weekend at the box office, earning only $11.6 million. The studio was expecting much bigger numbers for this three hour gore-filled extravaganza.

I suppose this is another example of the fact that big pre-opening buzz (especially on the internet), does not guarantee big box office numbers on opening weekend. Sure, 300 kicked butt and made tons of money, but that was a more mainstream movie than the extremely niche-targeting double feature homage to exploitative shlock B-movies from the 1970′s.

Personally I really enjoyed the first half of the double feature, Planet Terror (click here for my review), but I thought that Quentin Tarantino’s contribution, Death Proof was a total snoozer. A number of people walked out during Tarantino’s movie and I didn’t blame them at all. Despite many critics saying it was the “better” of the two films, I reviewed from the point of view of what an average moviegoer would like and I thought it was torture to sit through. I had also noted elsewhere a month or two ago that three hours was probably WAY too long for this sort of movie.

Another well-known example was Snakes on a Plane which I never got around to watching myself. That movie was such a hot topic of discussion online before it was released that it even went back into editing to bump it up to an R-rating with more f-bombs due to the buzz in the online community. Well, that didn’t help because it tanked opening weekend and sank like a stone after that.

The double-feature was rated R (and rightfully so) which cut down on the teen crowd who adds so much box office bang for movies on opening weekend, plus the fact that it was Easter weekend may have had something to do with the poor numbers. Bottom line is that this was a very narrow niche-targeting film that just didn’t appeal to a wide audience. I’m sure they were hoping for a Blair Witch type of box office performance, but it’s very difficult to catch lightning in a bottle. You never know what movie is going to capture the imagination of the public and come out of nowhere to make a ton of money.

I think Grindhouse will make up any losses when it goes to DVD and they release the even gorier and no-doubt more nudity/sex filled unrated version. It’ll probably even include those missing reels that were noted during the movie.

TAGS: Grindhouse
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  1. I honestly can’t say that I’m too surprised. Yeah, it had a lot of internet hype and it got good reviews, but it’s 3+ hours, and the trailer was way too over-the-top for a lot of people. And for others like myself, the name Tarantino has actually started to scare me away more than anything else.

  2. “the name Tarantino has actually started to scare me away”

    Can’t say I disagree. Honestly, if the guy didn’t have moviemaking as an outlet, I shudder to think what he’d be doing.



  3. I chalk it’s performance up to Easter weekend. Hell, 300 probably would have bombed if it was release at the same time. I think Grindhouse would have made more money had it been released in May. But, I enjoyed the whole thing (yes even Death Proof), and I’m glad I braved that winter storm to see it.

  4. I don’t know… even weeks after it’s been in movie theaters “300″ still managed to pull in almost $8.4 million this weekend!

    I just think there’s a much smaller audience for hardcore films of this type. They’re now talking about the possibility of splitting it into two movies… if they do that I *guarantee* that “Planet Terror” will smoke “Death Proof” at the box office. :-)


  5. Planet Terror was as bad as the majority of 1970′s B-movies. Death Proof was great. Well, the first half was quite boring, but it picks up speed after the first Stuntman victims, to give us the coolest car chase of coolest car chases in the end. Much better than snoozer Kill Bill…