Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

“G.I. Joe” proves movie critics don’t matter — sometimes

August 10, 2009

bofaThere is an old saying in Hollywood when talking to producers or directors of big-budget movies that often claim the box office crown but rarely win critical acclaim or awards. That saying goes something like this: “I’d rather win the Bank of America award,” meaning money is more important in showbiz than little golden statues.

This past weekend’s debut of action-packed, special effects-filled flick “G.I. Joe” won the Bank of America award. After being pummeled by critics who were unable to watch the film in advance, the movie claimed the No. 1 spot at U.S. box offices this past weekend with $56.2 million. Add on another $44.1 million internationally, and in its first weekend, the flashy movie raked in $100.3 million worldwide.

Why? One reason is the film’s target audience is mostly young men and women who are the core market for films. They don’t read reviews, for the most part, but are influenced heavily by advertising and pre-show promotional hype. The marketing budget for “Joe” was huge and fans turned out in droves for “G.I. Joe.”

boyleCompare that to the No. 2 movie, “Julie & Julia,” which stars Meryl Streep as chef Julia Child in a light comedy aimed mostly at adults. It earned a respectable $20.1 million in the U.S. and Canada, based on early buzz AND good reviews. To adults critics still matter, and adults are likely to turn out for “Julie & Julia” in coming weeks, whereas “G.I. Joe” faces huge competition this coming weekend from another special-effects flick, “District 9.”

Watch for “G.I. Joe” to fade quickly from the box office top 10, while “Julie & Julia” will likely have some staying power. Sometimes, you get lucky and get both great reviews and strong box office,  like director Danny Boyle did with “Slumdog Millionaire.” (See picture at left)

We were out in Hollywood again on Sunday, and here’s what some real moviegoers said about this past weekend’s top 2 movies. You can read the box office report, by clicking here.

(video by Marc Price)


I think your premise is mistaken. This is G.I.Joe. Huge fan base. Bigger audience than the Harry Potter films, easily. Similar to Transformers. Every 20 or 30-something male is dying to see it. Half of us didn’t, because of the reviews. Had it been a good movie, with critical screening, etc. it would have done twice as well, setting records and rivalling Spider Man, etc. for sales. But instead they chose the forgettable crap route.

Don’t add to the misunderstanding. Reviews matter, of course. It’s all part of the equation.

Posted by barry | Report as abusive

Great Article!!! I was very happy to ready it all. thanks for the info.


Oh well. Until the day when we finally get a G.I. Joe movie that follows the mythos…

With Duke. And Cobra Commander. And guest starring Sgt. Slaughter as drill instructor.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Critics really don’t matter at all to me. I don’t feel like listening to some self indulged failed college student, I mean art major, that is constantly looking for the next citizen cain (cane?)… whatever coudn’t care less or insert low budget indie film.

Seriously movies are about fun, entertainment not the hidden “message” really I go for the big explosions and the cg.

Posted by Sebastian | Report as abusive

The movie was ok — but the preeminent failure of the was, just like one other mentioned, it didn’t go to the root of the story — oh yeah, and that stupid channing tatum guy was the lead actor. What? you kidding me? The couldn’t act if you used strings and puppeters.

Anyway — when you take GI Joe out of the AMERICAN segment and make him an international hero to appeal to broader audiences, and you basically destroy what GI Joe is all about.

You could have had Keanu Reeves or some other action movie star that people like and it still would have failed becuase GI JOE IS INHERENTLY AMERICAN!!!

“The Great American Hero….”

It’s annoying — I wanted to hear the theme song.

Posted by Randy | Report as abusive

It wasnt terrible. it was a fun movie. It could have been better, but the back stories were interesting and so were the settings.


I ignored all the critics and saw the movie anyway. I was completely entertained and I’m 52 years old. That is all I ask of a movie. It doesn’t have to be real deep, or have some bleeding heart liberal message like most of the films that are out there. I got my $7 worth.

Posted by Die Leiter | Report as abusive

of coz film snobs didn’t like it.I personally loved and the movie raked $$ and thats all that matters to the producers anyway.
I liked how it doesn’t let u breath.right from the beginning its go go go. loved it.

Posted by SouLKid | Report as abusive

I don’t give a rat’s behind with Critics. I believe you just have to be yourself and keep it real. At some point, you can learn a thing or two with these critics, but it should not overshadow your opinion. I don’t care what critics say, the G.I. Joe movie is a great movie and is a good addition to my DVD collection.


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