Jonah Hex's Epic Fail: Sacrificial Lamb?

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Well, it's over now. You've read Broken Frontier's review of Jonah Hex. You know the misery it's inflicted upon comic book fans everywhere. But you know it was going to happen, didn't you? As much as you may have psyched yourself out about it, you knew Jonah Hex was destined to disappoint. However, something else happened that even I wasn't prepared for.

Jonah Hex was the epitome of the beloved internet insult known as the epic fail. The movie opened in 7th place, behind The Karate Kid, The A-Team, Shrek Forever After, Prince of Persia, Get Him to the Greek, and Toy Story 3. While opening against a Pixar movie was a dumb idea to begin with (Toy Story 3 opened with $110 million), every other film in the spots above Jonah Hex has been out for at least two weeks. So why did Hex fail so completely miserably?

Well, first and foremost, the marketing absolutely sucked for this movie. We didn't get anything more than a bad poster until nearly a month before release, when we got a bad trailer, released in front of another flop, the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Let's be honest: it's difficult to blow a trailer. All it consists of, if the movie really sucks, is the absolute best clips along with some explosions and dramatic music. Jonah Hex didn't even get that right. There was little-to-no promotion for the movie on the talk show circuit, and any interviews I did see were of Josh Brolin claiming that the film was going for camp, or Megan Fox being completely and utterly incomprehensible.

For a film with a rumored budget of about $80 million after reshoots and such, one would think that Warner Brothers would have at least tried to get a little heat behind the project. But aside from just marketing, Jonah Hex's failure can also be attributed to a piss poor representation of the source material. While I'm not of the mindset that all comic films should be direct lifts of the original comic books, they should definitely capture the tone and essence of the characters. By advertising the supernatural powers that Jonah Hex never had, WB told comic book fans within 30 seconds of the trailer that they had screwed up.

However, in a strange way, Jonah Hex might end up saving the future of DC Entertainment. For all we know, perhaps its impending failure was a key component in the restructuring of the DC/WB relationship in the first place. Clearly, lack of input from the comic book industry contributed to the utter atrocity that is Jonah Hex. Maybe Jonah Hex is simply proving the point that comic book movies shouldn't be made without people who don't care about the source material. So while it's a splotch on the careers of most involved, for the rest of us, I'd like to consider Jonah Hex's epic fail at the box office as a sign that the time for lack of involvement from the publishers are over, and a new era is about to begin.

That maybe sound overly optimistic for a fanboy, but hey, someone's gotta be.

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