When Alexandra Aja's 'Piranha' remake opened in 2010 it was a beautiful thing to behold as a fan of genre films. It was over-the-top, violent, funny and had a solid cast. The film cost roughly $24,000,000 and grossed $25 million domestic with an additional $58 million international. With a pretty solid return on investment, and 73% of critics enjoying the film it was inevitable that a sequel would push forward.
Aja bowed out of directing the sequel, and the chief parties behind the fantastic 'Feast' series were brought on board to bring the prehistoric fish to new ground; a water park. As the film was gearing up production a slew of names were added to the cast list including Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, David Koechner, and the lovely Katrina Bowden. Returning cast members from the original included Ving Rhames, Paul Scheer and Christopher Lloyd. All of this lead to a lot of excitement from the fans as we were lead to believe that Dimension Films wanted to really up the ante.
Set pictures were released back last spring, but it was a little too quiet on the waterfront. By the time the original November 2011 release date came around the film was pushed back to a June 1st, 2012 date. This makes sense as it is a movie that would sell best in the summer. The first footage premiered last fall during Spike TV's Scream Awards, and from then on we were given numerous photos with a glimpse inside the carnage. Slowly, Dimension has released many behind-the-scenes videos to hype up their release of the film. With a few days away from the National release, I looked to see where this gem of a movie could be viewed near me. Searching both Fandango and Moviefone I found that the closest theater was 156 miles away in New York. I then checked to see how many theaters total 'Piranha 3DD' would hit this Friday, and was shocked and saddened to see only 75 theaters across the country will be screening this genre piece.
This news really isn't all that shocking as the Weinstein's had released plans for a dual VOD (video-on-demand) and theatrical release. This allows for many people who would not necessarily pay to see 'Piranha' in theaters, but would shell out $6.99 at home. It's a smart business decision, but sadly eliminates a core group of fans. There are few event films that cult film aficionados can look forward to each year, and many fan sites were listing 'Piranha 3DD' as one of their most anticipated films of the summer season.
I'm sure that most fans of the original were getting psyched up to see more fish mayhem on the big screen, but it looks like only select territories will get that privilege this Friday June 1st. I'm still going to see 'Piranha 3DD' although I really wanted to experience the event on the big screen. Being filmed in 3D was going to really add to the charm of the film, and the cast looks to be having a blast in the behind the scenes footage. The real shame here is giving films of this type a chance to perform on a national level. The first 'Piranha' did surprisingly well for a little creature feature, and the sequel looked like a blast. I do encourage all fans to seek out the film, but please try to see it in a theater. The more money films of this type get at places like Regal or AMC Theaters will show movie studios that B-movies have a place in the theater right next to the award winners and blockbusters.
Please, think of the children.
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