Great movies sell tickets. Bad movies fail. Period. End of story.

‘Angels’ flops, ‘Sinbad’ sinks: What the Hulk’s goin’ on?
The incredible Hulk took an incredible fall. Charlie’s Angels took a devil of a dive. And Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas sunk straight to the bottom of the box office sea.
Shed a tear for the summer blockbusters that weren’t to be.
By the standard of a low-budget independent movie, or even a typical Hollywood film released at any other time of year, the big bucks snatched by The Hulk and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle would be impressive. But given the big budgets of these high-profile projects and the hefty marketing costs involved, most Hollywood observers were disappointed in these three films, all of which are approaching the end of their shelf life.
And leaving some resentment in their wake.
“You have three good examples here of how the studios spent a lot of money trying to trick us into thinking these were great movies,” says Russ Leatherman, founder of AOL Moviefone, who monitors thousands of e-mails and postings each week. “All that marketing muscle can open a movie, but if it isn’t any good, the movie won’t survive.”
Box office analyst John Shaw of Movieline International argues that only a movie’s first weekend matters anymore. “I don’t think anything went wrong,” Shaw says. “You have a large majority of your audience seeing the film in the first seven to 14 days.” Shaw projects that The Hulk eventually will bring in more than $130 million and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle will pass $100 million.
Those figures are a great deal less than originally expected. The Hulk’s audience dropped a spectacular 70% in just one week. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle also fell fast. And Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas didn’t attract an audience at all.
Here’s a look at what went wrong?
The movie:The Hulk
The budget: Estimated at $120-$137 million, not including marketing costs
The letdown: One of the most anticipated and hyped movies of the summer had the largest June opening ever. Sounds good, but it was about $20 million short of what some analysts had predicted. Worse, moviegoers polled by gave it a B-minus, shockingly low for an opening-night crowd. Then the other shoe dropped, and it was Hulk-sized: The next week, the big green monster shrunk an incredible 70%, one of the worst second-week drops for an expected blockbuster ever.
What went wrong:
√Ø A bad Super Bowl advertisement and trailer that showed the Hulk looking fake. “He looked like a CGI Jolly Green Giant on steroids,” Leatherman says. “Viewers started saying, ‘This is a really cheesy-looking monster, but I’ll go see it anyway. Ang Lee’s a great director, so maybe the rest of the movie is good.’ ” When it wasn’t, there was backlash.
√Ø The film substituted arty pomposity for fun. “The Hulk sagged under its own pretentious weight,” says Rose “Bams” Cooper, co-author of the book 3 Black Chicks Review Flicks. The very concept was flawed, says Garth Franklin, who edits, a popular source of movie gossip on the Internet. “Ang Lee tried to blend a dark adult drama with a kiddie action movie,” he says. “On their own, they would’ve been fine but together neither gelled and (it) alienated both audiences.” Adds Thelma Adams, film critic for Us Weekly: “You just can’t fool American audiences on their junk food.”
√Ø It was really slo-o-ow. “My son kept asking me when the movie was going to start,” says Pia Scarborough, 29, a Nashville massage therapist. “I said, ‘It started half an hour ago!’ ” Says Leatherman: “Moviegoers disliked the slow, plodding, humorless story.”
√Ø Bad worth of mouth: “Word of mouth spread quickly on the Internet,” says Brandon Gray, an analyst with “That’s what really hurt it.”
The movie:Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Estimated budget: $120 million, not including marketing costs
The letdown: The much-hyped Charlie’s Angels sequel (was there a magazine that didn’t feature one or more of the Angels on its cover?) brought in $38 million in its debut, a little less than the first film in the series. These days, sequels are expected to open bigger than the originals. Then it dropped 63% in its second weekend.
What went wrong:
√Ø No wide allure. “It seemed to have had its core appeal to women and did not branch out much beyond that demographic,” says box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations.
√Ø People flocked to the first one, but they didn’t love it. “There weren’t that many fans of the first movie,” says’s Brandon Gray. “The first Charlie’s Angels was a blockbuster by default, the first movie of the holiday season in 2000, the only game in town.”
√Ø Overfamiliarity. After all, it was a sequel to a TV spinoff. “Moviegoers seem to be getting fed up with all the summer reruns at the theaters and want something fresh and new,” says Gitesh Pandya, editor of
√Ø All surface and no substance. “People were sick of the movie before they even saw it,” Gray says. “It was all style, all glitz, all glamour, no substance at all.” Leatherman is blunter: “It stunk. There was an arrogance about the entire movie that played out on screen.”
The movie:Sinbad
The budget: $60 million, not including marketing costs
The letdown: DreamWorks’ ambitious animated adventure never drew an opening-weekend audience, even with a Shrek giveaway CD. It opened to a mere $6.9 million this past weekend, making it the studio’s first outright failure in animation.
What went wrong:
√Ø Audiences don’t like animated adventure films. “Traditionally, animated adventures tend to have a bad time at the movies,” Gray says. “Treasure Planet was one of the biggest bombs of last year. The most spectacular animated failures have been of the adventure variety, like Titan A.E. and Quest for Camelot.” Adds Leatherman: “This movie smelled so much like last year’s Treasure Planet. Same story line, same look. It came out with little fanfare and tanked. It just got buried at sea.”
√Ø Straight animation is over. Sadly, the old-school animated feature appears to be dying, with more edgy and lifelike CGI comedies taking over. “Without the very rich 3-D Pixar animation, these old-school animated movies are really having a hard time,” Leatherman says. “What we’re finding is that that’s not fun for kids.” Adds Pandya: “The types of animated films that attract large paying crowds to the multiplexes are computer-animated films with comedy. Shrek, Monsters, Inc., Ice Age, and most recently Finding Nemo.” And that bring us to …
√ØFinding Nemo rules. Why see Sinbad when you can laugh and cry at Finding Nemo over and over again? “Pixar clearly rules the seas with Nemo,” Adams says.
√Ø Unnecessary voice casting. Why cast Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfeiffer and Catherine Zeta-Jones √≥ none noted for a distinctive speaking voice or sense of humor √≥ in Sinbad? The concept backfired disastrously. “What kind of voodoo sorcery did Brad Pitt perform on DreamWorks to convince them to voice-cast him as Ken-doll Sinbad in this flick?” Cooper asks. “I mean, really; can you picture Little Timmy and Little Jane asking Mommy, ‘Hey Mom, can we go to see Sinbad? It’s got Brad Pitt in it!’ ”