The X-Files: I Want to Believe opened to a disastrous $10.2 million over its opening weekend, begging the question of how a movie based on one of the most successful movies of all time could do so poorly at the box office, even against the likes of The Dark Knight. While some box office analysts have mused that it was simply too long of a wait since the end of the TV show and that audiences had moved on to bigger and better things, I don’t think that has anything to do with anything. However, I believe the following are a few reasons why The X-Files: I Want to Believe failed to deliver:
- The marketing was disastrous. While Warner Brothers was out promoting The Dark Knight feverishly, hitting up websites, movie theaters, TV and every other medium with advertisements, previews, images, posters and more, Fox was… well, not doing much at all. I didn’t get a single email from them asking to promote the film; there weren’t a slew of character posters or compelling images; there wasn’t much sign that the movie was coming to theaters at all. Furthermore, the news hardly talked about it all; PR failed miserably.
- The movie trailers were bad. I didn’t think they were terrible, but then again, I’m an “X-Files” fan who was just excited that the film was coming to theaters. The movie was supposed to appeal to fans and non-fans alike, but the trailers, which lacked any kind of excitement or power, offered nothing of value to bite on.
- Chris Carter kept the story under wraps. It’s understandable that 20th Century Fox and Carter wanted to keep the plot secret, but whereas Cloverfield, Indiana Jones and even The Dark Knight used this to their advantage to build hype and excitement, Fox did nothing more than lead fans down a few false paths.
- The title is horrible. I mean really, really horrible. What were they thinking? I Want to Believe? What a dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb title.
- Fox decided to release this movie a week after The Dark Knight. Sure, they couldn’t have known that Batman was going to be that big, but ever since the first pictures of The Joker appeared online – and especially since Heath Ledger died – the buzz was obvious. Fox should have moved The X-Files: I Want to Believe to another weekend within seconds.
- There were no marathons or promotion of the show. For the last year, Fox should have been released special DVD sets, running marathons on TV and launching clips online. X-Files should have been everywhere, and it was nowhere.
- The movie isn’t very good. Ultimately, good reviews would have given this film a bit of a boost, and it just wasn’t good enough to get them. The movie is a bit dull, the story unimaginative. While the marketing group should have done a lot better, admittedly, they didn’t have much to work with. (read my X-Files 2 movie review here)