Saturday, December 20, 2003

Only Geeks Understand

With today's high level announcement that The Pope has praised Mel Gibson's rendering of the last 24 hours in the life of Jesus Christ, the question arises: can only true blue fans-as-directors garner the highest excitement from the filmgoing public?

There is precedent to this theory. The geek directed spectacular LOTR broke worldwide records for an opening on a Wednesday (Wednesdays!) pulling in $34.1 million in the US and $23.5 million in over a dozen other countries.

Spiderman is a similar story: Spidergeek Sam Raimi hit a grand slam in his vision for the Marvel comic here. Sharon Waxman wrote in yesterday's NY Times:

"In the United States, the film, a New Line Cinema release, broke the box-office record for an opening in December. The record holder for opening-day ticket sales remains "Spider-Man," which took in $39.4 million on May 3, 2002, according to Exhibitor Relations, a company that tracks box-office sales."

In Wednesday's NY Times, David Edelstein wrote:

"Wandering around (The Loews Theater on 42nd Street), I saw people reading Tolkien. Miriam Kriss put down her book to explain that she was there in tribute to Peter Jackson, ' fan who understood.'Then she delivered a rather stunning tribute to the fan aesthetic: 'The problem with the last George Lucas Star Wars movies is that he's not a fan of his own work. You can't be if it's your work. But he doesn't understand anymore why we loved Star Wars. He just sits and stares at special effects on his computers. I'd rather see Star Wars movies by people who grew up with Star Wars. A fan would get it.'"

A fan would get it? A fan who understood? Yes, my little pomegranates, the AintItCoolNews gang are spending their hard earned milk dud-stained dollars on films, sending shockwaves through Timseltown.

Take Harry Potter, for instance. By all accounts of fans, the film was faithful to the book, and, as a result, it got rave reviews as a sort of visual analog representation of the impression JK Rowling's tale left on the reader. The rave reviews translated into extremebox office (I always wanted to say that and sound like a Variety insider, forgive the pretention).

So, will Hollywood turn the reigns of film over to the geeks? Will Hollywood -- the epitome of cool cachet -- become like Silicon Valley? Will the geek inherit the world?

Time will tell ...

No comments: