Taken at face value, the upcoming action comedy R.I.P.D. sounds like a surefire hit. A comic book adaptation that features Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds brandishing huge guns and busting supernatural heads, all while quipping the shit out of everyone. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t make the film look all that amazing, and it’s going head to head this weekend against three definite moneymakers. It’s so bad, the L.A. Times is reporting R.I.P.D. looks like it might be one of the biggest box office failures in recent memory.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably up to your eyeballs with pre-release tracking numbers, as this bit of inside baseball information better serves the studios and just makes potential audiences overly wary (or overly excited) about films based not on their own merit, but on pre-release buzz. However, R.I.P.D.’s buzz is so terrible, it's just a ghost of a whisper of a hum. Consumer polling firm Piedmont Media Research says the film is scoring as terribly as some of the biggest flops of the last few years, including Battleship and Jack the Giant Slayer. As bad as the money dump John Carter? Yep. If predictions hold true, the $130 million production could earn as little as $17 million by the time Monday morning rolls around. Yikes.
“R.I.P.D. is scoring the lowest out of any summer movie we’ve seen,” said Piedmont president Joshua Lynn. “It’s easily shaping up to be the big summer bomb.” Perhaps the results wouldn’t be so dire if R.I.P.D. was releasing on an empty weekend in January, but this is the height of the summer season, and competition is fierce.
What else is releasing this weekend? The star-studded action flick Red 2, a sequel to Red, which R.I.P.D. director Robert Schwentke directed. DreamWorks Animation’s snail-with-a-dream film Turbo, which also stars Reynolds, funnily enough. And James Wan’s mid-to-low-budget The Conjuring, which focuses on the more horrific side of ghostly entities, rounds out the four. That’s almost too many movies, considering last weekend’s new releases, Pacific Rim and Grown Ups 2 will probably still be bringing in audiences as well, not to mention reigning box office champ Despicable Me 2. Again, why wouldn’t this movie be released in January?
There are a couple of obvious signs that this movie isn’t going to astound audiences. One, it pushed its initial release date back in order to post-convert to 3D, a tactic more often than not performed only to dupe audiences out of more money. Two, the film isn’t screening for critics until Thursday night, a few hours before its late premieres. This probably means they expect critics to have a field day with it, scaring audiences away with everything but ghosts.
Don't feel like seeing R.I.P.D.? Well, obviously, you're not alone, and there's a pretty good alternative out there. Why not just rent Men in Black instead?