Our Daily Trailer: SNAKES ON A PLANE

BC revisits our next Hall H casualty, the Samuel L. Jackson movie that seemed like a sure hit, but wasnt.

While many of my fellow BAD-ers will descend on San Diego this week, I will not be among them - for the first time since moving to Los Angeles, I will be missing the annual Comic Con. I had considered driving down for a night, but since my baby has yet to learn how to sleep through the night (or even through an episode of Game of Thrones) I realized that wouldn't be possible. So enjoy, fellow nerds! I will be seething as I read your tweets with one hand while holding a bottle with the other.

So I thought I'd honor my FIRST convention, in 2006, which was at the time its biggest yet (over 20k more people than the previous year, which itself was the first time attendance had topped 100k). I was not yet writing for Bloody Disgusting or any of the other sites I've been associated with (BAD didn't exist, of course), so while my day job secured me a "Professional" badge I had no other perks. No parties, no special press access to the crowded panel rooms (how I managed to get into the one where Edgar Wright talked about Ant-Man for the first time is beyond me), and no delightful early morning junket type events that included free coffee. But that also meant it was all new to me; I wasn't somewhat jaded at the machine that SDCC is (indeed, it hadn't fully become one yet), and I'd optimistically head toward every panel I wanted to see, always assuming that there couldn't be "as many people as interested in THAT" as I was. I also, and feel free to laugh, assumed that Hall H could fit every person with a badge. Yep.

I can't recall how often I went in there that weekend, but I know I had a decent seat for Snakes On A Plane's panel, hosted by Kenan Thompson and featuring Sam Jackson, David Ellis (RIP), and others. Having heard about the movie online (and helped edit this winning music video for an online contest New Line held), I knew I was excited for it, but hearing the cheers and applause of 6,499 other people was truly extraordinary. Every time Sam let out another F bomb, which is to say every time he spoke, the crowd would go apeshit again. At the time I was convinced the movie would be the highest grossing film of the summer - how could it fail when there were more people than I could actually see all cheering and excited for it, choosing to get a sneak preview of it here in Hall H over every other option that Comic Con was providing?

Well, fail it did. Not like, Hudson Hawk level catastrophe, but it was a massive disappointment, only barely taking the #1 slot (from Talladega Nights, on its 3rd frame) and plummeting to 7th place the following weekend. By its 4th week it was nearing the bottom of the top 20, and ultimately it only grossed 34 million - a mere 1m over its reported budget, which didn't include the cost of, say, securing a great slot at Comic Con's vaunted Hall H or producing insane nonsense like THIS. Highest grossing film of the year? It wasn't even the highest grossing film released that WEEK (the comedy Accepted, which also had a Con presence and opened back at #5 that weekend, stuck around and eventually hit 36m). Ellis would bounce back a few years later with The Final Destination, only to flop again with the same sort of campy horror in 2011's Shark Night, his final feature film (he passed away in 2013).

Obviously I didn't know then, but now I look back and realize that this was an early sign that just because the biggest room at the Con gets filled up, doesn't mean the film will be the biggest draw at the box office. Hall H only got added to the convention in 2004, after all, so this may have been the first of what is now many (at least a week's worth!) films that may have won over the biggest single crowd at Comic Con, but failed to translate that success to moviegoers at large.

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