Monday, April 5, 2010

Remember that Creation movie?

Regular readers might recall last fall I posted quite a bit about the new Darwin biopic from director John Amiel, titled Creation. The film opened the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, from which a few reviews trickled out, including Roger Ebert's. Then the producers tried to create some controversy by claiming that creationists were keeping the film from getting an American distribution deal. Clever people were not fooled by this nonsense, and the film was eventually picked up by Newmarket, the company that distributed The Passion of the Christ (a film that stirred up real controversy). It opened on January 22, 2010.

I wish I could write my review here, but it has not come to a theater anywhere near me. According to Box Office Mojo, its widest release was in twelve whole theaters. Critical response has been tepid. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 46% (certified rotten) based on 90 reviews, with such memorable quotes as
  • "A great moment in the history of ideas does not necessarily make for a great movie." (Tom Long, Detroit News)
  • "In the end, Creation takes a huge and potentially fascinating story and evolves it into a piddly cliche." (Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer Press)
  • "Some questions just can't be answered by science, and the quandary of why Creation is so poundingly dull is one of them." (Stephanie Zacharek, salon.com)
At the box office, domestic gross for the film is $295,374. Opening weekend was by far the best, with a gross of $53,073 and a per theater gross of $7582. Could this movie have been a financial success had Newmarket invested more in promotion? Hard to say. The opening weekend per theater gross is actually not that terrible. In comparison, last fall's flop Tooth Fairy (starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) made only $4190 per theater on opening weekend, despite relentless trailers and other promotion. Creation also outperformed the period drama The Young Victoria, which had a per theater gross of $5923 on its opening weekend.

The second weekend for Creation was much less successful. It expanded to 12 theaters, but the per theater gross dropped to 44% of the first weekend (to $3333). In comparison, the second week of Tooth Fairy dropped to 71%, and The Young Victoria dropped to 66%. Given the weak reviews, I guess Newmarket made more profit by not investing a lot in promotion and giving Creation a very limited theatrical release than they would have by investing in unconvincing promotion and a wider release (see Tooth Fairy).

So I guess I have to wait for the Creation DVD, which according to Amazon is already available in Region 2. The American DVD does not yet have a release date.