With the recent box office success of such superhero franchises as Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men, Hollywood continues to search for the next comic book superhero who can propel a series of films into box office gold. Up next in this genre is “The Green Hornet,” a Columbia Pictures release scheduled to hit theaters on January 14, 2011 . Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like this film will end up being a box office flop instead of a multimillion dollar blockbuster, here are five reasons why.
Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet
Sure, Rogen is a fine actor capable of carrying a movie, but taking on the role of Britt Reid (aka, the Green Hornet) is way outside his comfort zone. This is the worse superhero casting since Val Kilmer took on the role of Batman in “Batman Forever (1995).” It’s not that a good comedic actor can’t take on the part of a superhero, after all, Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) and Michael Keaton (Batman) are living proof that its always best to cast the man outside the suit, it’s just that Seth Rogen seems more suited for the role of a side kick than of a superhero. It must also be remembered that at one point this project was targeting George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg for the lead role, both which would have been better suited to play the superhero.
Too Small a Budget
Though a superhero movie does not have to break the bank during production, the rule of thumb seems to be that success runs hand in hand with the budget you have to work with. Produced on a $90 million budget,, “The Green Hornet” weights in at half the cost of “The Dark Knight,” and it’s $50 million lighter than “Iron Man”. This fact alone makes you wonder how much producers skimped on special effects and big name actors.
Jay Chou is not Bruce Lee
Equally bad as casting Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet, is casting relatively unknown Jay Chou as Kato, after all Chou is no Bruce Lee, the charismatic martial arts expert that played Kato on TV in the late 60’s. Heck, Chou is not even in the Jet Li category, the actor who was courted back in 2000 for the part. While I understand that they needed to cast an actor that would not overshadow Rogen, Jet Li would have made for a much better choice.
Director Wrong for the Film
When you think of French director Michel Gondry, you think of lower budget quirky films like, “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” or “Be Kind, Rewind,” you don’t think of big budget superhero movies. While Gondry is a good director in his own right, his interest in this genre seems either an act of desperation by a studio that needed to replace the original director Stephen Chow, or an experiment to veer away from the time tested method in which superhero movies are made. Almost as bad as bringing in Gondry to direct, is the fact that Rogen had a hand writing the script.
Better Movie Ideas have Flopped
Let’s face it, when it comes to movies the comic book superhero market is fickle at best. Unless you have a mainstream superhero like Spider-Man, Batman or Superman to work with, a studio is taking its chances. Even a big budget film like “Watchmen (2009),” failed to live up to domestic expectations. Last year “Watchmen” needed its foreign take to surpass its break-even point. That said, it’s highly unlikely that “The Green Hornet” can make up its $90 million price tag solely on its state side take in.