One of the biggest shockers of the year is the bizarre under-performing of Baltasar Kormakur‘s Everest, an incontestably well made, completely believable adventure thriller that you have to see on a big IMAX 3D screen. Really — you come out of this thing and the only response is “wow…definitely not a Netflix experience!” And yet a majority of the ticket-buyers out there have turned away and shut it down.

Everest isn’t a wipeout but it’s limping. It’s only made $36 million and change after 22 days. Yesterday’s per-screen average was $420 on 2120 screens for a total of $890,000 — it’s all but finished.

Why? Well, partly because some folks just didn’t like it that much. On 9.20 (or two days after it opened on 9.18) I noted that it had a mystifying 73% Rotten Tomatoes rating and an even stranger 64% on Metacritic.

But in the view of‘s Phil Contrino, Everest simply “hit a wall.” And the name of that wall is Ridley Scott‘s The Martian.

“Come again?” I said. “Why would wanting to see The Martian, which opened on 10.2, affect one’s interest in seeing Everest, which opened on 9.18?” Because, Contrino explains, Everest opened wider on 9.26 or only a week before The Martian, and Joe and Jane Popcorn figured that The Martian was the better bet.

“I’m still not following,” I said. “Okay, you’re reading early reviews and The Martian sounds good but how does that translate into not seeing Everest a week or two earlier?” Because IMAX movies are expensive, Contrino responds, and people on a budget are selective.

Moviegoers have been offered three big outdoor IMAX movies in rapid succession, all about surviving or daring in a big, life-threatening way — Everest, The Walk (a total wipeout with only $3,861,400 earned in 10 days) and The Martian. And Joe and Jane basically decided as follows: “Maybe we’ll see Everest — it sounds pretty good — but let’s think it over. But fuck The Walk and Joseph Gordon Levitt‘s Pepe Le Pew accent. Who wants to get sick from looking down from the top of the World Trade Center in 3D? But just as definitely we have to see The Martian.”

HE to Joe and Jane: I’ve mentioned this before but has anyone else ever told you that your taste in movies is for shit a lot of the time? The Martian definitely works — it’s a very smart, well-crafted film — but at heart it’s a fucking half-comedic popcorn flick made with the idea of trying to make you feel good…and you guys fell for it. Everest is real-deal, in-your-face 3D IMAX naturalism, and yet the majority of ticket buyers have blown it off….brilliant! Worse, they went to Kormakur’s last movie, a throwaway mach action comedy called 2 Guns, to the tune of $131 million domestic.

“So good for you and your fickle, incurious, under-educated oaf attitudes. You’ve done a fine job of re-convincing Hollywood to make more escapist crap and steer clear of naturalism and realism. Thank you for the degradation. Ain’t that America?”