N.Y. Times reporter Sharon Waxman susses the box-office disappointment that is Snakes on a Plane. It took in a moderately lousy $15.3 million dollars at 2555 theatres, which was short of the high-teens gross that Variety said would be average for a late-summer horror film.
Waxman’s piece basically says that internet heat doesn’t mean enough for a movie looking to become an across-the-board hit. To make a really big splasht you need more than just the younger hip male crowd — you have to get teenage girls (“snakes…eeeww!”), older women (ditto) and older men (“This looks stupid”), plus you have to reach into the newspaper-reader/mouth-breather demos.
I think the online Snakes heat more or less died last May or June. It was very hot and happening in the late spring, but then New Line stuck to the 8.18 date and the fans went, “Ehh…over.”
I also think it would’ve helped if it had been a better. smappier, crazier film. An HE reader suggested a couple of days ago that Samuel L. Jackson should have had gotten into a last-minute wrestling match with the big anaconda and then blown a hole in the side of the plane and the snake had gotten sucked out. The camera could have followed it all the way down and watched it splatter on the deck of a cruise ship. I suggested some other madball notions on Friday.
In short, if this movie had been truly mad, it might have taken off. But its fate was sealed when New Line’s production team decided to hire David Ellis. Their own cheeseball mentality is what did them in.