Who goes to Hugo?


I already mentioned New Year’s Eve – a despicable contribution to the cinemas this December – in my review of Moneyball, but unfortunately it has to be returned to one more time. According to RottenTomatoes.com it grossed higher than any other film in the States last week, and it’s already half way to recuperating its costs. A healthy profit awaits.

Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s magical Hugo isn’t turning out to be the box office success that last year’s Shutter Island was. His last effort grossed $300m to allow a 220 surplus, but this time – despite Hugo being family-friendly – it has only so far managed a measly $35m, after a reported budget of 150.

Ouch. This goes some way to proving Mark Kermode’s theory that it’s not about whether a film is artistic or not – just stick a big star’s name on it and it’ll pay out in silver dollars regardless. Hence the ability of DiCaprio’s two films last year – Shutter Island and Inception – to gross over $1bn collectively, despite one being a hugely cool noir and the other a sophisticated and innovative heist film. New Year’s Eve has almost every big name in the business, from Hilary Swank to Halle Berry, and each and every one of them proves they have no integrity in agreeing to being involved in such mindless twaddle.

And yet – the customers keep flocking in. Literally. Like sheep. I wish I knew what sort of person it was that watched this trailer and felt an irresistible urge to call their mates and go ‘GUYS! WE JUST HAVE TO GET DOWN THE CINEMA THIS WEEKEND!’ On my more Platonic days I’d call for all such people to have their citizenship rights quickly removed.

Meanwhile, poor, little, magical, wonderful Hugo trots along, seemingly doomed to make major losses. Why? Because Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield aren’t stars, and the story of an orphan living in the walls of a 1950s Parisian train station discovering the history of cinema doesn’t appeal to people. Don’t ask me a further ‘why’, because I do not know.


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