Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Ninja" fails to attract viewers in U.S.

Amidst all the bad reviews from film critics, Hollywood action movie "Ninja Assassin" -- which stars a handful of Korean or Korean-American actors including Rain, Rick Yune, Sung Kang and Randall Duk Kim -- earned a little over 21 million dollars and placed sixth on the U.S. box office. The result is not very satisfactory, considering that the film held a huge promotion tour and opened over the Thanksgiving weekend, the biggest holiday season in the U.S. Most new films that are distributed by a major Hollywood studio open within the top five on its opening week, unless the studio gave up on a film's commercial success and did very little to promote it. With a 40 million dollar budget, "Ninja" ran billboard and television ads for weeks and was promoted as the new action flick produced by the Wachowski Brothers of the "Matrix" trilogy and Joel Silver. But with its many violent action scenes, the film earned a no-teenagers-allowed R rating and received negative reviews from a majority of critics.

Why "Ninja Assassin" failed at the box office

According to the film critics portal site Rotten Tomatoes, "Ninja" received unfavorable reviews from 56 out of a total of 80 critics and scored 30 percent on freshness. Among the top experts, 13 out of 19 critics gave the film negative reviews and scored 32 percent on freshness. Most of the critics complained that the movie was too serious while the story's development and editing was too confusing. Other reasons were that action scenes were hard to see because the lighting was too dark, too much CG was used, and the movie didn't live up to its title. Brian Miller of "The Village Voice" wrote, "Shouldn't throwing stars be silent? If they're gonna sound like gunshots, why not just use guns?" Internet website remarked, "Rain and Harris are decent, but "Ninja Assassin" is a film that falls apart as soon as you think about any single element of it." The only favorable review came from magazine "Entertainment Weekly", who said about the film, "There's a brutal (and admittedly very cool) fight scene every five minutes. But let's be honest, killing is this film's business...and business is good."

Another reason that "Ninja" couldn't make the top five in its opening week might have been due to the inadequate opening date. In the U.S., movies that open near the end of the year are either the so-called "art films" that try to open just in time to make the nominations for next year's Academy Awards or pure, popcorn movies that you can simply enjoy with family or friends over the holidays. Over the past couple of years, several blockbuster movies that might have been suited for a summer release have opened around Christmas time. But most of these films had received a PG-13 rating because they were neither too violent or too sexual for young viewers.

Therefore, with all the blockbuster movies and Oscar-nominated films lined up for the holiday season, it seems "Ninja" will have a hard time faring well at the U.S. box office. The following movies are scheduled for release in December: "Everybody's Fine" starring Robert De Niro, "Up In The Air" starring George Clooney, director Peter Jackson's "Lovely Bones", director Clint Eastwood's "Invictus", director James Cameron's "Avatar", "Sherlock Holmes" starring Robert Downey Jr.



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