I’m sorry to hear it’s not doing well, but I’m not surprised. It is fundamentally at odds with the current theatrical experience. You have people leaving after the first film, thinking the show is over. You have people complaining that the film is scratched and there are reels missing. So clearly the marketing didn’t communicate the whole point of this thing. And frankly the film shouldn’t be playing in multiplexes. It should have an intermission; apparently that’s not possible in modern theatres. Plus they need to run their 20 minutes of ads and trailers in front of something with a three hour running time.
My friends and I saw Cannibal Holocaust at the Bloor Cinema maybe a year ago. Now that’s a true grindhouse film, and the experience at the Bloor was perfect: lots of laughing, yelling, pot smoke. That audience would get Grindhouse, that’s where it should be playing. Oh but wait, they spent between $50- and $100-million on it, can’t do that, they wouldn’t recoup. WTF? Spend big-audience money on nostalgia for a type of cinema that only a fraction of the audience is familiar with? Spend $100-million to recreate films made for garbage money?
Ultimately my opinion of the mainstream theatrical experience is so low that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to experience it, let alone make films for it. Tarantino and Rodriguez are to blame for the enormous budget, the Weinsteins for the failed marketing, and the exhibitors for just generally being assholes who view their audience with contempt.
They are both great films. Planet Terror is relentlessly entertaining, whereas Death Proof has a lot more going on than is initially apparent when your ass is numb and your bladder about to detonate. Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike seems a stand-in for not only 70s junk cinema, but also Tarantino in the mid-90s. But I’ll wait until I see it again on video – where this film belongs nowadays – before I get further into that.