After we posted about yesterday's LAT article asking some of Hollywood's deepest thinkers to explain the sudden Death of the (Awful) Action Movie, a couple of readers pointed out this piece from Zap2it.com, where The Island producer Walter Parkes nearly jabs himself in the eye in a flurry of finger-pointing. The Island's problems? A bad title and small actors:
"It's a bad title," Parkes declares, as if the title of a presumptive summer blockbuster were a tiny element that might have just slipped through the cracks. "It's a title that refers to something that doesn't exist in the movie. You might say, 'Oh well, so what?' but really from the title comes the advertising campaign and from the campaign comes the image people have of what they may or may not see, so that was a problem." [...]
"Listen, those are superstars of the future, those two actors, they're not superstars of the present," Parkes says.
McGregor's mainstream credentials are built on the three "Star Wars" prequels, a billion dollar trilogy that could, just possibly, have succeeded even without him. Johansson is a critical darling with only art house hits to her credit. It's with some regret that MacDonald calls out the 20-year-old actress for not bringing in younger viewers.
"She's not owned by this sort of young generation at all," she says, before burying the knife. "Even lesser television actresses, quite honestly, would have more connection to that audience."
Truly, the production was doomed the moment DreamWorks decided to change the title from Futuristic Cloning Movie, But Don't Worry, Plenty of Shit Blows Up and recast the youth-connecting Olsen Twins with Johansson. It's easy to second-guess those decisions now that the movie's lost about $100 million.