Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Apocalypto" Will Win The Box Office Race This Weekend

Box Office Prophets and others think the violence in "Apocalypto" and negative reviews and subtitles will keep away audiences. I now think that "Mel Gibson" is a brand name a la "Rob Zombie" and people know what they're going to get: a real thrill ride with some explicit gore enveloped in a feeling of art because it's set in the past. And subtitles? The hottest new show on TV ("Heroes") uses subtitles (as does last year's hottest show "Lost"). I think America's reluctance to look at subtitles is over. And "Apocalypto" was sold out all over NYC tonight. I assumed Gibson's appeal would be stronger in the heartland so I think that's telling. And the movie delivers on a very basic, primal level (I don't mean on a fascistic level, either). It's basically one long chase film, with gorey and scary spots like when you go into a haunted mansion. Here you shiver over a ravine filled with rotting bodies. There you ooh and aah when a spear goes through a bad guy's skull and out of his mouth. The movie looks great and basically kind of works. The gore isn't relentless, just oddly and unnecessarily explicit. But the film pivots on not one but TWO deus ex machinas and that's one too many. I don't know what repeat business will be, but I just bet the curiosity factor and the reviews that warn people of relentless gore will get teenagers and college students to actually go, the way you dare someone to ride a rollercoaster. It's gonna win this weekend (he said, daringly).

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