CONAN Screenwriter Describes What It’s Like to Write a Box Office Flop: “You Walk in a Daze”

This is a heck of an article to read…

We’ve all seen bad movies in our day (SCARY MOVIE 4, EPIC MOVIE, DATE MOVIE, and SUPERHERO MOVIE come straight to mind).  Usually, right afterwards, we’ll think to ourselves something along the lines of “Who made that crap?” or “Wow, they did that for the paycheck!”

What we don’t realize is that even for a bad movie, somebody did a lot of work to try to make something good.  Hell, if you know your name will be forever attached, and your career could be affected, why would you purposely do something bad?

Well now,  Sean Hood has let us in on what it’s like to be responsible for a box office flop.

Hood is one of the screenwriters who recently worked on the critically trashed box office flop, CONAN THE BARBARIAN.  The film opened in fourth place with a paltry $10M in receipts.

In a Q&A with Quora, Hood explains what it’s like to deal with that sort of failure.  JoBlo points out some notable excerpts:

“The Friday night of the release is like the Tuesday night of an election. “Exit polls” are taken of people leaving the theater, and estimated box office numbers start leaking out in the afternoon, like early ballot returns. You are glued to your computer, clicking wildly over websites, chatting nonstop with peers, and calling anyone and everyone to find out what they’ve heard. Have any numbers come back yet? That’s when your stomach starts to drop.

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[s] 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, mockedConan 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.”

Gives you an entire new outlook on the field, doesn’t it? Now I feel pretty bad about some of the things I’ve said in some of my reviews…

Check out the rest of the Q&A right here.  Your eyes will open even wider…

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