Sunday, July 04, 2010

People Go Along With Critics On ‘Last Airbender’: It’s A Stinker

The good information for Paramount going into this great holiday weekend is that its M. Night Shyamalan-directed “The Last Airbender” has gained a big upsurge in critical excitement. Well, perhaps big would be placing it a bit too powerfully. The movie, which on Thursday was embedded at a surprisingly lowly 6 rating on Rotten Tomatoes, has maintained to slide up to a 9 on the critic aggregation site. At this rate, the movie could strike double results by the end of the weekend.
The bad information for Paramount is that contrary to a movie like “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which was drubbed by the critics but appreciated by the people, “Last Airbender” is acquiring the identical poor evaluations from rank-and-file moviegoers as from the critical mandarins. Relating to CinemaScore, the corporation that monitors opening-night response from moviegoers in a lot of cities around the nation, first-night moviegoers — the folks most excited about viewing “Last Airbender” — gave the movie a woeful C.
Based on studio marketers, a C level from CinemaScore is a portend of gloom and doom, since it’s a very clear indication that even a cinema’s most devoted viewers believed the movie was a stinker, a viewpoint they are sure to share with their buddies and family just before the weekend is out. So while box office prognosticators like my coworker Ben Fritz have estimated that “Airbender” could produce approximately $50 million over the weekend, the C level is a fairly trustworthy indicator that the cinema will have a sharp dropoff in its grosses in the weeks to come.
In the run-up to the movie’s opening, Shyamalan has been preaching about rapidly getting to work on a sequel, but if I were him, I’d be keeping my choices open. This film, to quote one of my father’s favorite expressions, seems like a dog that won’t hunt.


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