Autopsy Report: DreamWorks' 'Fright Night'

Not even a shortish 101-minute running time, or Dr. Who‘s David Tennant, or jokes about the Twilight franchise, or borrowing cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe from Twilight Saga: New Moon could save this film at the box office. Least of all Colin Farrell, who is decidedly not a star despite Hollywood giving him gazillion chances to become one. Everyone needs to stop trying. He’s a fine actor but audiences don’t want to watch him in massive numbers. Deal with it, people. That said, Fright Night took in a feeble $8.3M from 3,114 theaters. It certainly seemed like a good idea to do a contemporary revamp of the 1985 comedy-horror classic written and directed by Tom Holland. But in those days, spoofing vampires was still a relatively rare occurrence. Now the whole fang thing is lame (except to Twi-hards). Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) is being criticized for being too faithful to the original film and for not making any interesting use of 3D. Perhaps audiences sensed a rip-off and that’s why they stayed away. The marketing did no harm. And a 74% positive on Rotten Tomatoes didn’t hurt either. But all that Comic-Con hype and hoopla did nothing to bring in moviegoers (panel moderated by Chris Sarandon, star of the original Fright Night; a screening with introductions by talent; a Fright Night party themed as Peter Vincent’s lair with talent appearances; a bus wrapped in Fright Night art with a “text to win” message to drive guests to the event; live-tweeting with Christopher Mintz-Plasse, a live online chat with Farrell, etc.) So the movie bombed, horribly underperforming the $14M Disney thought it would gross. The only good news is that it was produced for a very modest $30M. Produced by Mike De Luca and Alison Rosenzweig, the screenplay was written by Marti Noxon from Holland’s story and film.

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