Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hex bombs

Box office update: Toy Story 3 on fire; Jonah Hex bombs by Nicole Sperling reports, "The bad news is that Warner Bros. action Western Jonah Hex is a giant misfire. The Josh Brolin-starrer grossed approximately $2 million for a weekend that’s likely to wind up with only $6 million and a probable sixth place in the box office rankings. That is really bad."

The sad part, to me, is that Warner Bros. will undoubted carry away a message that includes a conclusion that Jonah Hex didn't have enough commercial potential, and possibly even some lazy conclusions about westerns in general.

The fact is, they made the exact same mistake as they did when they adapted Wild Wild West, they didn't trust the material.

Look, I haven't see the movie. People like Dwayne Hendrickson, who writes Matching Dragoons, a wonderful blog dedicated to Hex, wrote Official Jonah Hex film review, in which he gives it 6 out of 10. It's possible eventually, as I said, "in my living room with a beer and a pause button", I'll enjoy this movie for what it is.

However, in making a movie that doesn't reflect the comic books, as the fans who who've seen it - regardless of whether they enjoyed it or not - seem to agree, and most especially the advertising does not reflect comic book series.

This review at Comic Vine pretty well conveys most of what seems to be of concern to comic book geeks.

I hope the publicity at least draws some attention, maybe even a little positive attention, to the comic books. No Way Back by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Hex co-creator Tony DeZuniga just came out and looks excellent. Welcome to Paradise was also recently released, featuring the beginning of the run.

Jonah Hex Weekend! is going on over at the excellent Diversions of the Groovy Kind, which is at least one good thing to come out of this frustration. Go check it out. There's already some wonderful art and celebration of classic Hex comics.

Man, it's too bad they weren't willing or able to trust the material here. It's so damn good!

UPDATE: More words about the Jonah Hex movie than it's really worth... by Mike Watt says, "I was certain that this movie adaptation would have a touch of the supernatural and more than a touch of the illogical. Unless a character is as well-defined as Batman or Spider-Man (and even when they are), comic book heroes don’t stand much of a chance on screen by themselves. They have to be fancied up. Jonah Hex is a fringe character (brought back to life in comics a few years back by the wonderfully awesome Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray), a niche character. Have to make him sexy so the kids will buy him. Have to make him 'cool'."

This is exactly the problem.

But what's weird to me is that there doesn't seem to be a reason why.

It's like the studios, and Warner Bros. seems particularly guilty of this, actually want these movies to fail. It's like someone is so furious at the entire idea that they would be making movies out of comic books or old TV shows that they decide to take a huge pile of money and set it on fire instead of making a movie that has even a chance at being good or popular.

And if you think I'm crazy, then tell me this. How many of these radically rethought movies have been successful?

How many made as much money as they could have?

How many were well-received critically?

How many were enjoyed among members of the general (non-comic geek) public?

Let's face it, this is looking ready to go on that list with Catwoman that shows that Warner Bros. actively hates comic books and would rather insult comic book readers than make money.

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