Hey Fox - Why Are You Screwing Over Pierre Morel's Taken?!
by Alex Billington
December 23, 2008
The other night I finally watched Taken, a film we've been following for over a year. I still remember watching the first trailer a year ago and nearly falling out of my chair when Liam Neeson says, "I will find you. And I will kill you." At the time, Fox had scheduled Taken to hit theaters on September 19th this year. But sometime since then, they moved it all the way to January 30th. Now after finally seeing it, and confirming that it is an absolutely fantastic movie, I'm wondering why Fox is screwing over a potential hit. They're burying one of the best action movies of this year (and next) and I don't know why!
I'm not trying to make a prediction about its potential box office earnings, as it could still do very well on January 30th (considering Smokin' Aces made $36 million when it was released on the same weekend in 2007). However, everyone knows that January is a very bad time for movies and I'm already thinking Fox is just trying to dump this and get it off of their hands. I mean, they haven't done any marketing for it yet and it really doesn't seem like they care to support it at all. This would make sense if it were a bad movie or something that wasn't what everyone was thinking it was (e.g. Smokin' Aces or Cloverfield), but it's not!
Before I go any further, I need to say how badass Taken was. We've debuted at least three trailers over the last year and it still had plenty more to offer overall. Not only does it deliver exactly what you want to see (yes, you get to see Liam Neeson kick the shit out of all of the kidnappers), but part of the way through it actually moves to an even greater level. There's a lot more to the story, right down to Neeson's relationship with his wife and daughter, that plays an integral part in the overall film. To put it simply, I loved the hell out of this movie, and I'm considering calling it one of my favorite movies of 2008 ... except that it didn't even come out this year.
One thing I obviously can't do is predict what audiences around the country will think of Taken in the end. However, every last person I've talked to has also said that they loved it. I usually only hear feedback like that on movies like The Dark Knight or Slumdog Millionaire or The Wrestler. To top it all off, the buzz that it was getting when we first debuted the trailer was tremendous. So I'm confused - why isn't Fox putting more effort into making this a big hit? And why are they dumping it in January? Make any argument you will, but moving a film to January almost always means they want to quickly dump it.
I'm sorry Fox, but I'm not going to let that happen. Which means they can probably sit back in their overstuffed office chairs and laugh as I've now become an unconditional promoter of their movie. To be honest, I don't really care, because if that helps turn this into a huge hit and gives Fox some extra money in their pockets, oh well. All I care about is making sure audiences get to see one of the best movies of both 2008 and 2009. It's that good. I won't call it a masterpiece or anything as brilliant as The Dark Knight, but it's simply a great story with awesome fights and great acting. What more can you ask for?
Oh right, how about a better release date, some studio support, and a strong marketing campaign. Is that too much to ask for? Well, because this is 20th Century Fox, unfortunately it is too much to ask for.