Can New Years Eve's Weak Box Office Kill That Rom-Com Style For Good?

By Katey Rich 2011-12-11 11:29:05discussion comments
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Can New Years Eve's Weak Box Office Kill That Rom-Com Style For Good?  image
Coming up on the moviegoing horizon is one of the biggest weekends in recent memory, with some of the best films of the holiday season all opening against one another, and pretty much something good for everyone at any multiplex in the country. But before we can get there we've had to slog through two unbelievably slow post-Thanksgiving weekends, starting last week with absolutely zero new wide releases, and now this weekend, in which both New Year's Eve and The Sitter failed to get anyone into theaters. The reviews for both films were awful-- New Year's Eve sits at a grim 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, while The Sitter isn't much better at 22%-- but that hasn't stopped people from flocking to bad movies in the past.

So what happened, exactly? You could get all pessimistic and point out that neither films were based on existing properties, though that's really not true-- New Year's Eve is a complete rehash of Garry Marshall's last hit Valentine's Day, just moved to a different city and holiday, while The Sitter is so clearly inspired by the 80s comedy Adventures in Babysitting it may as well have kept the title. It seems like moviegoers recognized all this recycling, rightly realized they'd seen all these movies before, and stayed home to do something else worth their time. Not every weekend has to have a movie that's full of spectacle and something mind-blowing, but you've got to at least provide a good reason to not stay home with Netflix, and neither of these movies came remotely close.

Even when the weekend's movies are dogs, it's always a bummer to see Hollywood fall on its face for a weekend-- we all want the movie industry to survive, right? But if there's one huge silver lining here, it's that the New Year's Eve/Valentine's Day mini-franchise is pretty much over, meaning we'll probably never see the St. Patrick's Day spinoff we were predicting. Of course, there's still What To Expect When You're Expecting coming next spring, but the recent trailer suggested that movie might actually be funny, a little different from the gooey slop of New Year's Eve. We may never get another big star-studded rom-com as good as Love Actually, but the whole genre just got a big stake in the heart this weekend-- in this time of gratitude around the holidays, we can all give thanks for that.
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