New tracking shows Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood, which opens in 18 days, averaging a 38 definite interest — 43 from under-25 males, 42 over-25 males, 28 under-25 females and 38 over-25 females. It’s also averaging a 7 first choice — a figure that clearly needs to increase over the next two weeks.

I’m not looking to pour rain on anyone’s parade and I’m very much looking forward to Robin Hood, but Universal needs to buckle down and get on the stick, and fast. Iron Man 2 is opening only a week before Scott’s film and its average definite-interest and first-choice figures are 67 and 32, respectively. Not fair to compare an adult-angled historical pageant drama with a kid-friendly superhero comic-book movie? Fair enough, but Robin Hood still cost a bundle and needs to earn serious coin.

So what’s the Robin Hood problem, in a nutshell? There are two factors, a friend suggested this morning.

One is Russell Crowe being seen as a bully and a sorehead these days, or at the least not being popular enough to put arses in seats if the film looks a wee bit iffy. The other is a perception that Robin Hood is another Kingdom of Gladiator Forest with arrows and spears being propelled by men with beards who need baths.

The latter concern, in other words, is that Robin Hood is Scott’s third historical action-and-romance flick to do the same approximate things in a two-out-of-three equation — i.e., star Crowe (Gladiator and Robin Hood), deal with the Crusades (Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood), show large ancient armies in conflict in wooded areas with flying projectiles (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood), depict a rebellious hero at odds with cynical tyrants (Gladiator, Robin Hood, Kingdom of Heaven), and cast an intriguing actress in her 30s as a romantic lure or foil of some sort (Cate Blanchett, Eva Green Connie Neilsen).

I don’t agree with this view. Every film is it own beacon, idea, construct, vision. And I sure as shit don’t see Crowe’s presence as anything but a guarantee of true grit and conviction. But as soon as I heard it put this way I had to admit my friend had a point.