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April 22 2012

"Cabin" tracking for an $8.2 million weekend. Deadline reports that "Cabin" will only drop 44% (if I've done my math correctly!) in its second weekend - which is relatively good for a horror film, especially considering "Cabin's" CinemaScore from last week.

In comparison, last weekends other opening, "The Three Stooges" dropped 41% from last weekend.

This brings "Cabin's" worldwide gross to $31,014,506.

There's a "negative audience reception"? Really??? I've heard nothing but love for it.
Agreed, I haven't read a single bad review so I'm not sure about the 'negative audience reception'
Critical reception has been good for the movie, but audience reception has been fairly negative. It had a (what is considered by industry) terrible "C" CinemaScore. I quiet enjoyed it, but I reckon it just doesn't appeal to people who aren't horror film fans.
The negative audience reception seems kind of intended and predicted no?
I think around 90% of comments I've read about Cabin have been positive. In my opinion, I would also say that it's a marmite film - people seem to either love it or hate it - there don't seem to be very many people in between.

Anyway, I'm glad that it's still doing well! Hopefully it'll have another good run this week.

[ edited by enfranr on 2012-04-22 13:03 ]
I've seen a lot of people say its "alright," actually. I think it's the more annoying response, haha.
I've tweaked the entry so that people can actually see what the info was based on.
Do a twitter search for Cabin in the Woods. A lot of people hated it. A lot of people absolutely loved it. It turns out, love wins out.
Cabin In The Woods has scored very highly with crits, but audience reaction, conducted during exit polls, has been very, very poor.

I think that the problem is that the film is sold as a horror film, but it's not. There isn't one single scary moment in the film.

It's very funny, very clever, and an interesting deconstruction of the horror genre. But there isn't one single frightening or 'jump out of your seat' moment in the film.

A lot of people, when they go see a horror film, don't want to think or to laugh. They just want to scream.
Yeah, it's a bait and switch movie. I mean, I have heard and seen people scared by it - but I think the mix of meta and comedy threw a lot of people off kilter. Which was the intention. I never would have marketed it as a horror comedy, though, because those always bomb (Slither...) in America. Much respect to Lionsgate, I actually thought they did a really good job. $30m in two weeks for a movie which cost them $20m in bankruptcy is not a bad job at all. They will make $$.
@gossi, horror films generally do very well internationally as well (most of the time better than domestic), so I can see it passing $100m worldwide. Lionsgate will be happy.
The next time a big budget franchise picture needs a director, you can guarantee Drew Goddard's name will be mentioned.
Aye. DVD and Blu-Ray, too. I saw the figures of Kick-Ass, that took $50m in the US alone on DVD and Blu-Ray in 6 months, and had very similar box office start to Cabin.

And yes, Drew directed the shit outta the script. He did a really, really fantastic job.
SeanHarry, as much as I'm inclined to agree that it isn't a scary film, a lot of my non-Whedonite friends tell me they found it traumatising! I think we've just been immunised over the years to this sort of horror - whereas mainstream audiences are used to something else. (Personally speaking, there was one moment that did scare me - oddly - the title reveal.)

I don't think the film was missold. Undersold, maybe. But not inappropriately so.
I haven't really understood why people don't find any of Cabin scary. Perhaps because I deeply empathize with characters in accounts I read / watch (to the point that I can't watch most sitcoms because the situations are too vicariously awkward and the characters too petty,) and because I have little experience with horror in general, I found several moments pretty scary -

This may seem an odd place for it, but could someone who was unimpressed with the level of scariness in Cabin tell me of a (part of a) movie that they did find scary, and why?

[ edited by Simon on 2012-04-22 19:05 ]
There were more people in the theater yesterday morning when I saw it a second time,about half full,than there were the previous Sunday(about 17 or 18 people)when I saw it the first time.
Mercenary, thanks for the huge spoiler :-(
NOt to read for people who havent seen it:

The first death was horrible; its cruel, its hard to watch, one of the most horryfing moments in remember in a horror movie, partially because we actually love these characters, partially because until then the tone was more amusing than anything and it sort of came from nowhere... But thats horror movie of the highest order.
I'm not a horror person, and I thought it was pretty scary at some points. But if I was going in there purely to be scared, I think I might be disappointed at the points where the humor undercuts the scariness.

I talked to a horror fan about the movie, and all he had to say was, "It was so weird!" I think it's possible to be pleasantly surprised by the movie, but I think it might be too out there for some people to enjoy without expecting the meta.
eyeboogers trust me that isn't a remotely huge spoiler. In the grand scheme of things, it's miniscule. But on the other hand, if you haven't seen the film yet (and it's been out for nearly two weeks now), why are you reading a thread about it? You should assume this kind of thing is going to crop up by now. (Or is it not okay to talk about the details of the movie in this kind of thread at this point?)

Mercenary - I guess I was rooting for Hadley and Sitterson.

Actually, I found all the deaths unpleasant in their own way. (And mercifully brief - unlike many contemporary horror films.) But not scary. I guess that's partly because I expected them all to die - and was pleasantly surprised when some of them didn't. (Until they did.) Some of them, the third 'death' scene in particular, had a complete sense of inevitability about it when I'd think about what I'd already seen in the film up to that point, specifically the moment with the bird.
Daylight, This is a box office thread and thusly of general interest for a Whedon fan. Thuslys spoilers should be kept of threads like this, its extremely inconsiderate just to blurt something out the way mercenary did. Usually threads with spoilers in them has been marked on the frontpage with "spoilers" by the admins Sure after a year or so it's fair to assume that people have a general understanding of the plot but this film hasn't even opened in most of the world yet.
I suspect threads like this will have to be retagged as spoiler in the future are people are reading them who haven't seen the movie, and the problem is an awful lot of people have seen it, so aren't going to remember it's non-spoiler.
Mercenary, personally I didn't find CitW scary, partly because I wasn't really believing that any of this was meant to be real at first....(I don't want to get into spoilers, but kind of made me think it isn't really real!). But I wanted to respond to your query about REALLY scary movies: I usually avoid 'horror' as such, but there is a fantastically beautiful critically acclaimed film, The Labyrinth, which is terrifying! However I recommend it to everyone because it is awesome and brilliant.
Judging from this, maybe the movie isn't scoring higher with fans because they were hopoing for an all out chain-saw massacre, but didn't get it. It kind of reminds me of the response towards "Drive", Remember the woman who wanted to sue the studio because the movie was Ryan Gosling mostly driving, with the occasional killing,and she was upset because it wasn't a "Fast and Furious" knockoff?
As I said, this movie will make big bucks once the blu-ray is released. Not only can you see certain scenes over and over, but hear Joss and Drew's commentary as well. That will be the real appeal here.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2012-04-22 17:07 ]
Oh, a few people have been using social media to talk about suing Joss and Drew over Cabin. Do a search on twitter for cabin in the woods sue, lawyer, lawsuit, that kinda thing. People, gotta love 'em. There's always folk out there with interesting expectations.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-04-22 17:09 ]
I'll just put my answer to Mercenary in spoiler tags. I certainly think it is a good idea to try to hide spoilers when possible, as you can't expect everybody to have seen everything you have. Obviously, that doesn't have to apply to comments on a post regarding actually plot details, but this is just about numbers and could be being read by anyone.

As for films that I would say are actually scary, then I would go with a film that this is clearly based on, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It manages to achieve this with very little blood spillage, but has fantastic direction-on-a-budget to really disorientate the viewer (particular during the opening sequences.) The family of former slaughterhouse workers who have taken their old work home with them are probably the nastiest "monsters" on film and they are acted to horrific perfection.

For something more recent, the Spanish horror The Silent House had me really gripped. The supposed single take it was filmed in really put you right in the heart of the film and I never knew where it would end up. There were some great little inventive touches too, such as a sequence where the main character used the flash of a camera to look around a room.

But the scariest films, for me, is anything by David Lynch. Completely different to the style of Cabin, but I think the first 40 minutes or so of Lost Highway is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen.

[ edited by Vandelay on 2012-04-22 20:12 ]
People call 911 for mcnugget shortages *shrug*. Gimme loser pays or it won't ever stop, but that's neither here nor there.

I think "Cabin" would have been a bigger hit when it was actually made. Now, I don't know what the actual production cost was at MGM and whether it's current numbers would have counted as profitable against that vs. what Lionsgate paid for it, but I think it would have been a bigger success back then. For one thing, coming out in close juxtaposition to The Hunger Games can't help it -- someone sitting down to Cabin a couple weeks after that probably can't help but feel like they are almost being put in a position of

I don't think this was ever going to be a much bigger winner at the box office than it is now, though, because... it's not scary. I think audiences are far more savvy and far more patient with even vaguely condescending overtones about how brutal and voyeuristic they are, if you are also getting the adrenaline going, but the greatest sin a horror movie can commit is not being scary, and Cabin just isn't. I also think it hurts it that, for my money, the five friends are not as well developed in the short preamble to violence as the stock characters in ye olde horror standards are, and therefore it was hard for me to really emote with them. The speech about
$7.7 million weekend, -48%. Not bad at all for a horror film.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I used to cover box office results on a weekly basis and I will say that a 44% drop with only a C rating on Cinemascore is a really unusual combination. My hunch is that the "wrong" audience showed up the first weekend but the "right" audience is hearing about it and starting to show up, which doesn't actually happen very often. It certainly didn't happen on "Drive" which is probably about as close a case as we've seen recently.

The commercial problem with "bait and switch" movies is inherent. Many years ago, the great writer/director Preston Sturges ("Sullivan's Travels," "The Lady Eve," etc.) noted that if the audience "formed their mouth" for say, ice cream and the director gave them steak, they'd be unhappy. This is the problem when a star like Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler tries a change of pace on film. Even very smart and sophisticated viewers can feel vaguely dissatisfied if they walk in primed for one kind of movie and get something that's a bit different. Sometimes, being a little bit "spoiled" is probably a better way of seeing a movie than going in completely cold.

The fact that "CitW" may be overcoming it is extremely interesting. I wonder if the all the Whedon-hype is helping to some degree or maybe the fact that people are getting a better idea of what kind of movie it is from their friends than from advertising.
Among my two big phobias, (spoiler tagged):

Don't know how you call that not frightening, but mileage varies. His sure did.
Bobster, it's a bait and switch movie - but a very good one. Yes, there's absolutely negativity coming out of some screenings - but there's also 100 people saying 'that was the best horror I've ever seen'. I always believe positivity will win out, and there's a lot of love for this film.
I think for the next few weeks and beyond, it would be best to keep plot points to a minimum in non-spoiler tagged threads. And if you feel it absolutely necessary to mention them in a post, then use the invisible tags.

I was going to do another discussion thread yesterday but I was so impressed by Fringe I forgot to. So I'll put one on after the washing up and before the ironing.
Any chance Whedonesque might develop some kind of shortcut for those tags, like [spoiler] or something? Pain in the arse remembering all that code, and you can't even copy-paste it over from the help page.
Oh geez, sorry if I spoiled anyone (and sorry specifically to eyeboogers, who mentioned it.) Only post-Serenity have I even been watching whedonesque stuff as it came out, so I'm not used to being cutting-edge on spoilery information.

Thanks to Simon for hiding the text of my post, and to everyone who replied to my question.
I have to say, I never expected CiTW to be scary. I mean, the tag-line was "you think you know the story but you don't," suggesting that this was not another horror movie.

I could see people wishing it were scary, because that would have been a nice addition to funny and smart and meta. But, I feel like that's expecting a lot (though, I guess Scream sort of did that ... sort of (I never thought Scream was all that scary, either)).
I loved the movie but did not find it scary at all. Hard to sustain the momentum of fear when you cut back to the control room so often (which were easily my most favorite scenes). Ditto with caring much about the characters. The most emotional scenes to me also took place in the control room.

Still so much smarter and interesting than most horror flicks. I will be watching it again this weekend.

As to the very poor early reviews from fans, I attribute that entirely to unmet expectations. CitW just wasn't your normal horror/slasher flick and that threw people off.
Snipped for spoilers.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-04-23 06:03 ]
I'm also wondering what people consider scary.

"Frankenstein" (the original with Karloff) used to be a standard for scary. I'm sure it would now get a low audience rating complaining about the lack of scares.
The Cabin in the Woods wasn't, to my relief, very scary, and certainly not in a typical 'extreme' horror film/slasher fashion that I hate most (and thankfully light on the gore). I did however found it to be innovative, surprising, exciting, humorous, thought-provoking, and engaging in numerous other fashions. As a Whedon fan with an extreme dislike for that kind of 'extreme' horror, I couldn't have been much happier. There are few complaints here about Buffy & Angel not being scary (also nominally horror, right?), so why should Cabin be?

OK, I can see how this lack might be dissapointening to those looking forward to the scary stuff, instead of dreadening it, and I guess a scarier movie might have been more succesful commercially. I'm still really glad about the way the film turned out though. And if the posts here by Whedon fans hesitant to visit a horror film are anything to go by, I won't be the only one that appreciates that the film isn't very scary or even more full of gore.
Hey Embers,

Really? The Labyrinth, with David Bowie and "Ludo smell" and Jennifer Connelly's eyebrows and puppet goblins? (Although I grant you, "Dance the Magic Dance" is pretty terrifying.)

Not that we all don't have our different thermostats for horror, but I'm wondering if perhaps you mean Pan's Labyrinth? I hasten to add that I don't mean this in a snarky way -- I'm sincerely curious!

And before I get into trouble with anyone, I should note that I absolutely adore The Labyrinth, Bowie's crazy hair and problematic trousers and all. (Pan's Labyrinth, honestly, not so much. Think of me what you will.)

[ edited by Saiph on 2012-04-23 18:15 ]
The hair is pretty scary in The Labyrinth.
I'm one of those people who would not have gone to see this movie if it were a standard horror flick. They're not my thing. I went to see this because it promised me it wouldn't be a typical horror movie and I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed it.

I'm not sure what all the comments about negative audience response are referring to. I don't spend a lot of time on Twitter. I do check movie sites for audience ratings when I am trying to decide if I will see a movie that isn't my typical fare. CitW has a 8.1/10 rating on IMDB and an 83% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Those are both quite high, so from what I have seen, the audience response has been quite positive.
It is a tough call between Bowie's Goblin King and the Pale Man.

I avoided the trailer for Cabin, so can't comment on that side of the advertising, but surely the tag line "You think you know the story," tells you that this will not be the typical horror film. For those that did a little more reading on it, the numerous reviews that told you to avoid spoilers were a give away too.

I can't really see how anyone that actually planned to see the film (so, ignoring those that just randomly picked it whilst in the queue,) didn't have a vague clue as to what they were about to see.

I would also say that my glances on twitter for it mostly produced positive comments.
Don't read your own feeds for feedback on Cabin. Your friends are probably awesome. If you want to see bags of negativity, watch FOX News (or go to -> "Cabin In The Woods", click "All tweets").

[ edited by gossi on 2012-04-23 19:58 ]
The tweets seem to be getting more and more positive (percentage wise) as time goes on and it finds the right audience. Very few people hating on it today.
It's skewing more positive in last few days, yes. However it does depend what time of day you look - best time is in the late evening, as people exit screenings. Certain demographics are more positive than others.
When I was a little kid those fire demons in Labyrinth that pull themselves apart actually did scare me. As an adult I mostly can't believe how much time the camera spends on David Bowie's tight shiny dance pants. A different kind of scary.

A few friends who don't like horror typically have all asked me about the movie and so far they've all gone to see it and have liked it based on my recommendation. So I'm pleased on that count. That went very differently with Serenity, where everyone just left the theater kinda confused.
Most of the people who hate it on Twitter seemed to be expecting something different and more straightforward than what they got, and they judge it by the standards of what they expected—a horror movie. In a few cases people get what Cabin is trying to do but they don't have the reference points to appreciate it and feel excluded by the movie.

The same line that tells US what NOT to expect—"You think you know the story"—doesn't provide enough warning for the irony deficient to think it's going to be different than Saw in a Cabin. Any campaign that leaves the movie unspoiled for its target audience will draw in some false positives, those without affinity for the movie who think it is being marketed to them.

Years later some of the ones that hated it this go round will see enough horror crap that they wish for a movie like Cabin and then they will rediscover it and enjoy it for the first time.
Cabin is on track to gross more than Serenity did after only 3 weeks, yes?
Wasn't Serenity $30m total domestic? I think Cabin has already beat that.
According to Box Office Mojo it made $25.5 million in the US.
Well I meant worldwide. Sorry. I always look at the worldwide grosses more than the domestic gross. 3 more million and it will have done more worldwide than Serenity did total.
Oh, it's already well above domestic then after two weeks. Half the price to produce, too.

I still think the studio will pick up $100m+ raw profit after intl and DVD/Blu-Ray. Not too shabby.
Just for clarification: Labyrinth is the Jim Henson movie starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. THE Labyrinth is something else; It either refers to a TV Mini-series by Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance, Triangle, Black Death, all of which are worthwhile Horror films, Triangle being my favorite film of 2010, beating out Inception) or more likely, an 8-minute short Thriller from Italy.
This thread is much more fun when we muddle them, though. :p
Oh dear, to clarify MY comments (way up post... or was it a different thread?) I found Pan's Labyrinth terrifying... NOT the American movies with similar names (I should have checked that before posting). It was a brilliant film that won a 2007 Oscar for Art Direction.
Another nugget to consider vis a vis the whole "people wanted a scary movie" idea: do people who like horror movies a lot (actual fans of the genre) actually find them scary? I am not a huge horror fan, but I like a well done horror flick, and I rarely get scared by them. And the people I know who are big horror fans don't get scared by them at all. They annoy them for other reasons (humor is actually a big one, but so is suspense, and of course gruesome special effects). I though Cabin did pretty well on those fronts.

I guess what I'm saying is that there must have been people who were disappointed that it wasn't scay, but I don't think that's he same group as horror-fans. I would think horror-fans, at whom, frankly, the movie was aimed, would enjoy it a lot.
'scary' is extremely subjective.

I'm a horror fan that is very rarely scared by movies anymore, and I had hoped that this one would scare me, but it didn't. But I'm also ok with that because I know it's a rare thing to find. However a group of people next to me screamed and jumped a lot, so clarely it is scary to some.

I did have a loootttt of tension though during the
Embers I am with you. "Pan's Labyrinth" was terrifying. I cried (which, if you knew me...heh) and never want to watch it again (another anomaly). I haven't seen CiTW yet but members of the household have and are going nuts helping me keep my firewall up.

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