Quote of the Day: What It's Like to Write a Box-Office Flop

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Conan_the_Barbarian_(2011_film).jpg

Over at Quora, the screenwriter for the new Conan the Barbarian film weighs in on what it's like to help make a movie that fails to find an audience. Sean Hood's Conan, released Friday, took in a disappointing $10 million over the weekend. The entire post is worth reading. For Hood, watching the movie fail—and hoping, ahead of time, that it wouldn't—was like watching a cherished presidential candidate be crushed in a landslide vote:

By about 9 PM its clear when your "candidate" has lost by a startlingly wide margin, more than you or even the most pessimistic political observers could have predicted. With a movie its much the same: trade magazines like Variety and Hollywood Reporter call the weekend winners and losers based on projections. That's when the reality of the loss sinks in, and you don't sleep the rest of the night.

For the next couple of days, you walk in a daze, and your friends and family offer kind words, but mostly avoid the subject. Since you had planned (ardently believed, despite it all) that success would propel you to new appointments and opportunities, you find yourself at a loss about what to do next. It can all seem very grim.

You make light of it, of course. You joke and shrug. But the blow to your ego and reputation can't be brushed off. Reviewers, even when they were positive, mocked Conan The Barbarian for its lack of story, lack of characterization, and lack of wit. This doesn't speak well of the screenwriting - and any filmmaker who tells you s/he "doesn't read reviews" just doesn't want to admit how much they sting.


Read the full post at Quora. Hat tip to Vulture on this one.



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Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's Patch.com and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club, RollingStone.com, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

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