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Duh Aficionado Magazine: Land Of The Lost Bombed

By Gabe Delahaye / June 8, 2009 - 9:29 am

It’s official, Land of the Lost is the first bomb of the summer. Everyone says so. The AP says so. Variety says so. The New York Times even says so.

Every summer movie season brings with it at least one sleeper hit and one big-budget bomb, but rarely do both happen on the same weekend.

The headache — and it was a big one — belonged to Universal Pictures and its financing partner, Relativity Media. “Land of the Lost,” a star vehicle for Will Ferrell based on the 1970s-era television show, essentially failed to have an opening, landing in third place with $19.5 million in sales. That total is disastrous for a movie that cost an estimated $200 million to produce, market and distribute worldwide.

Well, duh. Regardless of the fact that it got terrible reviews and that it was some kind of cross between Jurassic Park and Gone Fishin’, that movie just didn’t need to be made. Vulture asked the important question last week: why does this movie exist?

Things get silly, though, when New York Times attempts to explain what happened:

Why did “Land of the Lost” miss so big? It wasn’t because this PG-13 film traded so heavily on bathroom humor. “The Hangover,” about four guys who go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, proved that sophomoric still sells.

Rather it may be that audiences are tired of seeing Mr. Ferrell at this particular party. Last year’s “Semi-Pro,” in which he starred as a goofy basketball player, was a flop with $33.5 million in ticket sales. “Step Brothers,” also released last year, delivered solid results with $100.5 million but fell short of his previous hits like “Blades of Glory” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

“Land of the Lost” was savaged by critics — not that Mr. Ferrell’s young male audience usually pays them much mind — and may have suffered from a marketing campaign that focused more squarely on the star than on the fantastic creatures he encounters.

Haha. That makes absolutely no sense! Let’s review: first they argue that the movie was as funny and traded in the same humor as The Hangover. No it wasn’t, and no it didn’t. Secondly, they make the argument that people are tired of seeing Will Ferrell in this type of movie. OK! Is that true? Well, they point out that he also made a movie last year that didn’t do well, so it might be true! But he also made a movie last year that did very well. But that’s still proof that he doesn’t make successful movies anymore? Huh? And they don’t bother to point out how a family action-adventure movie based on a campy 1970s children’s show is the “same party” as Step Brothers or Semi-Pro but sure. And by sure I mean no. Finally, they point out that the negative reviews don’t matter to Will Ferrell’syoung male audience, but that Will Ferrell’s young male audience would have probably preferred a marketing campaign that didn’t have so much Will Ferrell in it? Ay-ay-ay.

I don’t want to take the New York Times to Occam’s Razor School, but I feel like the simplest explanation for this box office failure was that the movie looked FUCKING MISERABLE and UNFUNNY and was based on something NO ONE WANTED*. Congratulations. We all graduated.

*Admittedly, I am still having some trouble reconciling this theory with the success of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and Night at the Museum 2: The Edge of Reason.