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Respect For The Snakes

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Snakes on a Plane was the number one movie at the box office this weekend.

Not maybe. Not barely. Not "only with the Thursday night screenings."

Snakes, the stupid, predictable, Internet buzz movie raked in $15.25 million on its opening weekend to beat out Ricky Bobby and World Trade Center as the number one movie in America.

This reporter is neither surprised nor disappointed that the movie won the weekend as predicted.

There is some conflicting information scattered about the financials. Most media outlets are reporting today that the movie held the top spot with $15.25 million. However, Movies.com reported Snakes took in $13.85 million at the number two spot this weekend.

Courtesy of FlickrThe confusion comes as a result of some media outlets refusing to count the Thursday night movie showings, but New Line Cinema's David Tuckerman told the Metro that these numbers should be and usually are counted. According to Tuckerman, this is business as usual.

The greater story here is that major media outlets are trying to save face. New Line refused to screen the movie for critics. Thus, mostly without seeing the movie, the media said it was going to "suck" and fail at the box office. Now that the weekend is over and Snakes is the most popular movie in the country, the media fired back, criticizing the movie for only bringing in $15 million during its opening weekend.

As written by David Germain:

The Internet buzz over Snakes on a Plane turned out to be nothing to hiss about. The high-flying thriller preceded by months of unprecedented Web buildup technically debuted as the No. 1 movie, but with a modest $15.25 million opening weekend.

There is nothing modest about the buzz New Line was able to generate behind their horror-comedy. It was previously seen as a B-movie with only one real name in its cast. So New Line turned around and simplified the marketing — it's SNAKES on a PLANE.

It was an ingenious marketing effort.

It is not impossible to imagine movie executives sitting in a meeting trying to figure out how to sell a funny, scary action movie that only had Samuel L. Jackson killing a bunch of snakes on a plane. Names like Fear at 30,000 Feet, and Cobra Flight may have surfaced. Then someone would have gotten up and said "dammit, let's just call it Snakes on a Plane."

Nobody was trying to win Academy Awards with this one, and most people predicted a short theater lifespan.

Courtesy of FlickrNow that the movie surpassed expectations and became the top box office "hit" this weekend, critics and media outlets are giving it three stars and hailing it for delivering what it promised. What's more, the movie is now being criticized for not doing even better and only bringing in $15 million.

It's snakes on a bloody plane!

Bravo to New Line and Samuel L. Jackson for delivering something cheesy and different in an otherwise commercial summer movie season.

Now then…

I saw Snakes this weekend. I expected sub-par special effects and B-movie performances, and honestly the acting wasn't great. But there were exceptions. Kenan Thompson as the videogame playing would-be hero was, at worst, plucky comic relief. At best, it was a solid performance — not bad for a B-movie.

Each time Samuel L. Jackson delivered a line from the trailers and television spots, the crowd went wild. By far, the crowd energy at Snakes this weekend outweighed the crowd energy at Fenway Park.

But that's just my personal agony.

Snakes on a Plane surpassed expectations and gets a B- from me.

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  • I heard that it failed to meet expectations…making several million less than expected. Who knows?

  • But most critics put the initial expectations at “nil”

  • The reason mainstream critics tend to label movies that aren’t screened for them before opening as “sucking” is because they usually do. More to the point the studios know it which is why they are released without being screened for the critics – the studios want an uninformed audience to plop down their 8 or 10 bucks without knowing anything about the movie. Not the case with “Snakes On A Plane” obviously but there is clearly a degree to which even this movie needed some buzz from the critics if it was going to go higher than $15 million. (It hurt my Hollywood Stock Exchange portfolio when it didn’t.)