Tuesday, October 9

Is 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' being underrated commercially?

A group of friends and I were on our way home from the movies last Sunday when one of them said that Perks had only placed eleventh on the box office chart for the weekend, surprised. I stated that it is understandable since it is still only in limited release. She looked at me baffled. I told her that the studio may want to keep the buzz about the film at a steady pace throughout the Oscar season so that it won't peak to early and have voters forget about it. She understood what I was saying but couldn't grasp why the studio wouldn't want to make money from the film.
Her reasons were that Perks of Being a Wallflower is a wildly popular book that has a strong fan base and great buzz online. Plus the addition of Emma Watson in the film just made my friend, and others online that share her fascination with the great Hermione Granger, that much more excited. I took the side of the studio and said that the buzz online doesn't exactly translate into a strong box office performance, especially with films like Dredd, Looper, and Frankenweenie not exactly setting the box office on fire. All of those films had a great deal of buzz going into their opening weekends. So, I can understand Summit's hesitation in wanting to open Perks nationwide just yet.
After our discussion, I started to think objectively about why not open the film nationwide. I think Summit and myself are thinking more cynically about Perks' potential. The book has a very large fan base, and those who have seen the film have nothing but the highest praise for it. Word of Mouth would not be a problem because Perks' target demographic also happen to be the Pre-teens, teens, and young adults that spend hours online telling their friends what they are doing and how much they love/hate it.
Another aspect I may have been underestimating is the star power of Emma Watson. I'm still not convinced that she is the main draw for any film because she has yet to really prove herself outside of the Harry Potter series, but she is still wildly popular. And she does make this film a lot more appealing to the young demo this film is trying to reach as well. And a strong box office will pay dividends when it comes to both economics and Oscar buzz. If the movie is successful both commercially and critically it betters its chances of being nominated.
In the end Summit may very well open the movie nationwide, and when it does let's hope the fans come out in droves to support this film so studios will take more chances with films like these.

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