Based on information I read at The New York Times, I was under the impression that Snakes on a Plane was reaping the norm for a late summer horror release, and that any illusion of its poor performance was due to hopes being inflated by the internet hype phenomena (a lesson apparently no one took home after the halfhearted opening weekend of Steven Spielberg's AI). Certainly SOAP isn't bombing, though, just merely normal.This argument reminds me of Joan Crawford's in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Joan Crawford: You wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if I weren't still in this chair.True, Snakes on a Plane wouldn't be a belly flop if it hadn't been the most-hyped Internet phenomenon in Hollywood memory, with 31 million Google hits (as of a minute ago) compared to 8 million for the movie of the summer, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. But it WAS, Blanche! It WAS!
Bette Davis: But you ARE, Blanche! You ARE in that chair!
According to the Internet Movie Database, here are movies that did better on opening weekend this summer than Snakes on a Plane, which did $15 million. First I list the title, then the opening-weekend gross.
"Let's make a summer action movie starring Samuel L. Jackson, hype it until its very title becomes a catchphrase on the lips of millions, open it on an August weekend with no competition, and make about half as much money as Nacho Libre" is not a recipe for Hollywood success, however you try to spin it.
Snakes on a Plane wound up making the same opening-weekend box office as Barnyard, made by people so stupid they don't know that bulls do not have udders.
Its first week, Snakes on a Plane grossed $20 million. Its second week, $6 million. At this rate, will it still be theaters a fourth week?
To paraphrase Bette Davis again: What. A. Flop.
(For what it's worth, the only other airliner-in-peril movie this summer, itself overhyped, grossed only $11 million its opening weekend. But United 93 already has grossed more than twice its cost; that seems a forlorn box-office hope for Snakes on a Plane.)