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Monday, October 8, 2012

Frankenweenie Shows Up In Theaters DOA

Image from Disney / Tim Burton's Frankenweenie

Since Disney first announced that it would be producing Tim Burton's remake of his short film made in the early 1980's Frankenweenie, my question has always been, would the finished full length Frankenweenie be a little too far out there for mainstream audiences to accept? Judging from the opening weekend box office showing the answer is Yes - it is a difficult film for an audience to generate any enthusiasm for seeing. Weekend box office receipts came in at a weak $11.5 million.

I'm an animal lover. As I write this now, I can count 3 sleeping cats and a sleeping dog near by me (what a life). It's not a spoiler, the premise of Frankenweenie is well known. A young boy's dog is tragically run over by a car > dog is buried > dog is exhumed > dog is brought back to life through Frankenstein science > madcap adventures ensue. I, for one, have absolutely no desire to see death and resurrection of a family pet even if it does turn out alright in the end (and I have no idea of how Frankenweenie ends). I have seen beloved family pets pass on. Not 5 feet from where I am sitting right now, we had a vet come out an euthanize our dog when old age reduced her quality of life into something it should never be. It's quite sad. I do not want to remember / relive the experience through a movie. Ever.

Sasha (dog) 1996 - 2010
Thumper (rabbit) 2001 - 2009

What was Disney thinking? My only thought is that Tim Burton somehow / someway lucked into making Disney a bundle of money through his Alice in Wonderland movie, which I did not care for at all. Perhaps Disney's backing of Frankenweenie was some kind of payback. Burton movies are an acquired taste - some work - many do not. In the end, Frankenweenie is just not a movie people seem to be willing to pay for. Bizarre vision in black and white 3D would not be considered the safe route in film making. Disney tried like heck to generate some enthusiasm for this movie but it seems to have fallen on uncaring ears.

The Disney Studios film management that gave the green light to Frankenweenie (and John Carter earlier this year) has been ousted. Let's hope the future of Disney movies makes a more positive turn soon. It should. Wreck-It Ralph opens next month and its almost sure to be a hit.

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