With 'Vampires Suck,' isn't it time to stop the spoof-movie genre?
The poster for "Vampires Suck" -- the latest in a seemingly never-ending assembly line of movie spoofs -- sports the tagline: "Some Sagas Just Won't Die." Presumably, the marketing team at Fox is referencing the "Twilight" franchise, which serves as the bloodsucking butt of pretty much every predictable joke in "Vampires Suck." But they could just as easily be talking about the genre-parody flicks they've been cranking out since 2006's "Date Movie," and that were born several years earlier, with Dimension Films' "Scary Movie" series.
These comedies may be silly escapist fare, but they're silly, escapist fare of the basest, least imaginative kind. And there's one group of people to blame for the fact that these films continue to get made: ourselves.
When I say ourselves, I am referring to the American movie-going public at large, which consistently buys enough tickets to these 90-minute extended SNL sketches to justify greenlighting additional ones.
"Scary Movie," the 2000 riff on horror tropes that came mostly from the minds of various Wayans brothers, remains the most lucrative of the bunch, earning more than $157 million in North American theaters. But even when "Scary Movie" co-writers Justin Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer co-opted the cinematic-mockery concept, took it to Fox and directed "Date Movie," the financial results were positive. "Date Movie" earned $48.5 million in North America and $84.7 million worldwide, on a production budget of $20 million.
So they cranked out some more. And -- to a degree that is almost uncanny -- on most occasions, the global box office intake exceeded $80 million. "Epic Movie": $86.8 million worldwide. "Meet the Spartans": $84.6 million worldwide. "Disaster Movie," which was distributed by Lionsgate, is the only one of the Friedberg/Seltzer collaborations that tanked, earning just $34.8 million globally. Even spoof efforts from other filmmakers and studios, like Paramount's "Dance Flick," managed to more than recoup the money they cost to create.
In other words, these movies are cheap to make and bring in enough cash in theaters -- not to mention on DVD and from TV broadcast deals -- to keep them going from now until the end of time. Clearly -- as evidenced by the audience member at last night's screening of "Vampires Suck" who laughed so hard when the "Bella" character passed gas in Edward's face, I thought she was going to damage an internal organ -- some people find this stuff funny. And that's certainly their right.
The problem is that the more we happily accept lousy Hollywood fare, the easier it is for studio heads to justify not investing money in movies they deem too niche to make major bucks (please see paltry box office results for the clever "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") or to not even bother putting certain films in theaters at all (please see "Cemetery Junction," the Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant effort that went straight to DVD in the States).
The only way to put an end to "Vampires Suck" and its ilk is very simple: people just need to stop buying tickets. Until they do, expect more juvenile genre-satire to keep on coming, until perhaps we reach the very meta day when someone finally does a spoof movie about spoof movies. Now that would be inventive.
| August 18, 2010; 10:23 AM ET
Categories: Movies | Tags: Summer Movies
Save & Share: Previous: Heidi Montag and other celebs mourn death of plastic surgeon; Lindsay Lohan is offered $1 million for post-jail interview
Next: Report: Steven Tyler confirmed for 'American Idol'
Posted by: kabuki3 | August 18, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: MStreet1 | August 18, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: cookgirl1 | August 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: cookgirl1 | August 18, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: buffysummers | August 18, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: epjd | August 18, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DCCubefarm | August 18, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 18, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pjs1965 | August 18, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: garoth | August 18, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: garoth | August 18, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | August 18, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pfallsgirl | August 18, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: quintiliusvarus | August 18, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 18, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Roxie1 | August 18, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jen Chaney | August 18, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.