Piranha 3D was inexplicably adored by critics and on opening weekend managed to score with its target audience on only the smallest of levels. This is a truth that was made obvious this past weekend when The Last Exorcism doubled Piranha‘s week one box-office haul despite the latter’s inflated 3D ticket prices. And things won’t be improving for the little three-dimensional killer fish.
If there was a time to see Piranha 3D in theaters it has, more or less, passed.
After the film wasn’t screened for press here in Seattle I decided to catch it at an early Friday matinee in an effort to get a review online. My screening included myself and seven other patrons. This isn’t the ideal situation for watching a film that requires a rowdy, ready to have fun crowd. Yet, with Piranha‘s 57.4% drop this last weekend and the fact it will be gone from the top ten next week and most likely scraping the bottom of the barrell for a measly $2.5 million over Labor Day weekend makes me wonder if the immediately announced sequel is something Dimension Films still has in their plans.
Piranha 3D was made for $24 million and has so far managed $18.2 million after a week and a half in theaters. Not an impressive haul and nowhere near profitability, especially considering that $24 million doesn’t include prints and advertising. Of course, it still has foreign dollars to consider, but by the looks of things, Dimension and the Weinstein Co. handed foreign distribution rights off to everyone and their mother. Who knows what kind of return, if any, they’ll see now.
This brings me back to the sequel Dimension announced as being in the works last Monday, one day after the film’s lackluster opening weekend. Considering horror is so cheap to make, and they obviously spent very little on Piranha‘s lackluster CGI and 2D-to-3D post conversion, a sequel doesn’t seem too far fetched. However, the fact the press release came in with one tiny quote from producer Mark Canton and zero details on where they would be taking the new film, who would be directing, writing, etc. was a bit sketchy. Instead they decided to focus on four critical quotes and link to several other reviews online and draw attention to online buzz.
In short, it felt like just another marketing piece intent on keeping the film in the news cycle for just a bit longer.
Of course, I fell prey to the release and wrote up my own article as did every other movie-based website be it blog or trade magazine. In this sense, it worked, a bit of free marketing and hardly a commitment from the studio to actually make a sequel and only Canton’s quote saying, “We can’t wait to get to work on the sequel.”
After the film’s dramatic drop off and its inability to beat a bunch of old action stars in their second weekend, a Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer spoof that opened on Wednesday and the poorly reviewed Lottery Ticket which played in nearly 500 fewer theaters, from a business perspective what sense does a sequel really make?
Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel. It would give me a chance to try and see the film with the audience it’s intended to be seen with. Considering the chance for that to happen with this current release is already over and none of my friends are interested in going to see it, a sequel is the only chance I’ll have to see it with a rambunctious and eager crowd. One thing’s for certain, if a sequel does come out I won’t be going to a matinee; a late night, opening day screening seems like the only option.