Is Dark Shadows In Speed Racer's Shadow? - Week 2 Preview | The Avengers | Dark Shadows

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Is Dark Shadows In Speed Racer's Shadow? - Week 2 Preview

The Avengers
Dark Shadows
Four years ago an old TV show was retrofitted for the big-screen by a flashy director with a proven fan base. That film opened a week after Iron Man debuted with $98 million and received about as much attention as a Matlock marathon at high school camp. There was just no competing with a behemoth so close to its boheming. History may be looking to repeat itself just like Brooks & Dunn winning the best country duo award for 20 straight years because, well, there were no other country duos. Seriously, if I'd just kept cuffing my pants like they did in Miami Vice, I could've been winning Best Pants Cuffer for 20 years too since everyone else stopped before there was even Crystal Pepsi.

Back to the story, the movie from four years ago was Speed Racer directed by the team that brought us The Matrix, the Wachowskis. It had the 53rd best debut of the year in a year that only had 52 weeks. It hit the gas with an $18 million opening weekend and stalled with a $44 million total. The box-office disappointment could be blamed all on timing or the fact that no one really cared about the property at all, even though it's legendary status among internet geeks and anime enthusiasts is hard to argue.

This brings us to this week's Dark Shadows. Few could argue against the success of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp these days. They're bringing a retrofitted TV show to the big-screen the weekend immediately following the biggest box-office opening in history, The Avengers. Ever hear about the tree that fell in the forest when no one was around to hear it?

Sure, this is different. This has big stars (or at least one) whereas all Speed Racer had was CGI on its side. Still, when anyone under-45 has to Wiki Dark Shadows to even know what it is, that's not always a good sign. This feels more like McHale's Navy with Tom Arnold. Why are you remaking shows no one remembers and there's zero nostalgia for... and which part of "feels more like Tom Arnold" sounds like a good thing?!

There's no arguing the huge presence Johnny Depp has become since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I agree with an article I read that argued Depp's stopped being Depp and it's more like Captain Jack Sparrow has been the one starring in his movies. You've seen Capt. Jack as Willy Wonka and the Mad Hatter, now it's your chance to see that rascally rascal play a vampire... and just wait till you see him next year as Tonto!

Maybe Dark Shadows does have that "it" factor with Capt. Jack in place and can lure audiences away from just wanting to see Hulk Smash a second time this weekend. Believe it or not, with all the marketing around the Pirates series, Depp's face has probably been on more kids lunchboxes, backpacks, t-shirts, and Lego sets than anyone in the past 10 years. That should mean something.

Then again, maybe all it means is it makes a couple million more than Speed Racer. You know, inflation and all.

by Matt Neuenburg on 05/11/2012

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Dark Shadows, The Avengers
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