'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' Box Office ‘Bomb’ Doesn’t Mean It Won’t Be a New Years Hit

By all predictions, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo should have absolutely dominated the box office this past weekend. After all, we're talking about a film adaptation of one of the most popular books of all time (18 million copies sold in the U.S. alone!). While some may have questioned an American release coming so soon after the Swedish version in 2009, David Fincher's take on the movie looked strong from the start—the movie immediately earned positive comments from the critics, and MTV even named it the Best Movie of 2011.

So why is it that such a highly-anticipated, well-reviewed movie has turned into what some are calling a box office bomb?

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It's not that the film has been a total flop, but with a six-day gross of $27.8 million, Dragon Tattoo definitely hasn't yet lived up to the studio's original expectations. Sony reportedly forecast $26.5 million for opening weekend alone, which may explain why they invested $90 million into making the movie.

Its relatively weak opening was especially surprising given the box office competition—Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the only major R-rated release during the Christmas season.

I'm a little surprised to hear the film didn't do better, but I'm guessing there were a couple factors at play. Maybe moviegoers weren't champing at the bit to leave their holiday celebrations to see a 158-minute American version of the 152-minute Swedish movie they recently saw after reading the 500-page book. Maybe people who were immersed in Christmas cheer didn't feel like harshing their vibe with, ahem, that one effed-up scene that happens to Lisbeth Salander.


I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about even if you don't know anything else about the story, right? As David Fincher recently described it:

Horrible things happen to her. And she wanders home. And she sits there. She lights a cigarette, and she fumes. And you don’t know what’s going on in her head. The next time you see her, she’s got a Taser and a 30-pound chrome dildo, and she’s got a plan.

Frankly, I think it was a bit odd that Sony released it during Christmas, because not only is it way too adult to see as a family (even a family of adults, unless you enjoy sitting next to your mother-in-law while watching a terrifying scene of anal rape), it was quite the gear-switch for people who were sitting around sipping egg nog and humming holiday tunes.

As for me, I'm a big fan of dark movies and I wanted to see this, but we had so much family stuff going on we never had time. We'll probably get around to seeing it this weekend, though, and I'm guessing that's when those box office numbers will start climbing. People won't be as busy, there are no other major releases coming out, and by then everyone will be more than ready to escape all their family festivity for a couple hours.


Wherever the profits eventually end up, I'm actually really glad this movie didn't pull in a record opening weekend as predicted. I love David Fincher, and the movie looks pretty damn good, but I'm sick of Hollywood churning out remake after adaptation after sequel. Studios and television networks have become so fearful of producing new stories, and it's a sad trend for those of us who love movies and original programming. I hope Girl with the Dragon Tatttoo's weak sales show Hollywood that it's not always a sure thing to crank out a new take on an old story.


Have you seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? If not, are you planning to?


Image via IMDB

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