The Players: Johnny Depp, a sometimes sell-out actor whose latter Pirates of The Carribbean flicks we forgive because it's easy to admire a guy who started on 21 Jump Street and given us What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, and Sweeney Todd; Wichita, Kansas home to Wichitans who aren't ready to forgive Depp for The Rum Diary.
The Opening Serve: While making the rounds to promote The Rum Diary, Johnny Depp spoke with The Guardian about the film's box-office prognosis--early returns pointed to the film not even breaking even. "I believe that this film, regardless of what it makes in, you know, Wichita, Kansas, this week – which is probably about $13 – it doesn't make any difference," Depp told The Guardian. "I believe that this film will have a shelf life. I think it will stick around and people will watch it and enjoy it." Depp was asked to compare Rum Diary's success in the United States and Europe, "Most definitely. It's something that will be more appreciated over here, I think. Cos it's – well, I think it's an intelligent film ... And a lot of times, outside the big cities in the States, they don't want that."
The Return Volley: Wichitans voiced their opinion in the Wichita Eagle's business blog. "That’s just sour grapes," said theater owner Bill Warren, who didn't care for Rum Diary and who pointed out that his IMAX outsells its New York City counterpart. "Last time I heard, it [Depp's movie] didn’t do well in New York, either." Adding, "Ninety nine percent of people in America go to movies for entertainment, and it wasn’t a very entertaining movie, period." Lela Meadow-Conner, director of Wichita's Tallgrass Film Association, said: "People have these preconceived notions about cities like Wichita and cities in the Midwest ... Because his movie has been deemed a critical stinker ... and audiences haven’t gravitated toward it, obviously he is trying to displace the blame onto audiences here who he deems unintelligent." She cites the success of the nine-year-old Tall Grass Film Festival, "There are obviously people here who are interested in intelligent films."