The long-overdue colonic that is flushing out some of the grossest and most egregious sexual predators in Hollywood is, rightfully, obscuring the commercial product that the industry is churning out at the moment. But for anyone who wanted to go to the movies this weekend to escape all the horrifying headlines for a few hours, there was little relief to be found.
Hollywood suffers from system rot on many levels. And while there can be no comparison made between rampant real-world assault -- which occupies by far the loftiest level of evil -- and the failures of a movie, it's fair to say that any system that produces both "Geostorm" and "The Snowman" is troubled in its own distinct ways. Both movies were released this weekend to critical mockery and deafening disinterest from audiences, becoming not only immediate bombs, but poster children for the creative bankruptcy and misguided ambitions of major studios.
"Geostorm" made just $13 million this weekend, a disastrous result for a movie that cost over $120 million to make, required extensive re-shoots, and spent lavishly on a marketing campaign that wound up being a trigger more than enticement. Not that there was much they could do differently, because there was absolutely nothing to sell beyond the kind of disaster porn that's been churned out and played on a basic cable loop since the mid '90s.
In fact, it was directed by Dean Devlin, the "Independence Day" and "Godzilla" writer who can be counted as a godfather of the genre, but not even his expertise in raining down digital death across the world could overcome a ridiculously inane script, on-screen carnage that recalled the devastating recent hurricanes, and a charmless performance by a cardboard cutout that calls itself Gerard Butler.
The reviews were brutal, and dragged the movie so hard that it landed at just 13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. A.O. Scott of The New York Times said its "hacky screenwriting assaults the dignity of several fine actors," TheWrap called it "chaotically stupid," and The Arizona Republic called it "an action movie without an exciting moment." Over at Vox, the movie was called criminally awful: "The level of boredom I experienced during 'Geostorm' ought to qualify as at least a second-degree felony in the state of New York."
ScreenCrush's critic made a show out of having to drive to New Jersey to see it in order to file his review. The reverse-commute was necessary because while Warner Bros. screened it early for critics, it ultimately pulled the final few review screenings once the toxic buzz became undeniable.
"The Snowman" received an even frigid greeting from critics and, ultimately, moviegoers. The Nordic murder mystery, based on a novel in a series by Jo Nesbø, scored just a 9 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and took in a pathetic $3.4 million in 1,800 theaters over the weekend. And what's so surprising about that is, unlike "Geostorm," which made no bones about how silly it was supposed to be, "The Snowman" had prestige bloodlines, and was meant to launch a smart, gripping franchise.
The movie stars all-world actor Michael Fassbender and was directed by Tomas Alfredson, who won all sorts of awards -- including a BAFTA -- for his previous two movies, "Let the Right One In" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." But the pieces just never came together on this one, and we mean that quite literally; Alfredson gave a headline-grabbing interview last week in which he said that he didn't get to shoot the whole movie, which was rushed from the start.
But what did end up on screen wasn't very impressive. Paste Magazine, which gave it a D-, called it "as incompetently made as any studio movie in recent memory," while the Toronto Globe and Mail said it was "completely, atrociously, perhaps even impressively, stupid."
It goes without saying that "The Snowman" will not launch a franchise, and will likely melt away within just a few weeks.