Why? Who knows.
Well actually I do. Released after a slew of successful well made summer films people just wanted a break from the Cinema, and, with a debut of $30 million dollars, a solid but unremarkable 68% on Rotten Tomatoes the film eventually petered out by the middle of September. It was gone from the cheap seats by October.
But…here is the problem. We have been here before. Some of the best and most regarded sci-fi films were released with little aplomb and went on to be geek icons years later. Unlike District 9 the hatchets were being sharpened for Elysium before the film came out. Success it seems always seems can breed automatic failure if the expectations were too high.
So…on August 9th I journeyed to the local cineplex to watch “Elysium” for the first time, with very little knowledge of the film, mostly cast and crew info and a few photos and the trailer in my head. After watching it…well….I liked it. Yeah…how you read that in your head is now I felt. I didn’t love it. I felt the plot holes, the weird accent on Jodie Foster, the speedy ending like nearly every review that I read after I watched it. I knew I loved Kruger. I jokingly said the whole movie should have been a day in the life of that character, and it would have been the most amazing film ever. The effects were pretty much photo real. Its just something felt missing. I would come to find out later there was a very real reason for that.
So…why had this happened. Again…I truly believe that the movie going public wanted a rest. I have had an opportunity to ask a cross section of the collecting community about the film and most people have said “I never saw it”. For a sci-fi film coming from the director of District 9, having two major actors in it, a budget of $125 million and good reviews it seems unlikely, but it seems that many people were vacationing and simply missed it. That and a lackluster advertising campaign. This seems amazing to me but that’s what I am hearing.
So…what does this mean. Well its going to sell a slew of Blu/Dvd copies on December 17th. Its also going to be found…and a lot quicker than some of its ilk discovered years later. I also believe that the amount of extras on the release will show the amazing story of the development of the film and the incredible design process that it went through. Even if it doesn’t…well you will learn about it a few articles from now.
In the meantime VIP auctions from eBay were sprinkling the web with hints that there next big auction would be “Elysium”. Certainly they had done very well with TED the year before and with a great relationship with MRC, the films backer it seemed certain that a good amount of props and wardrobe might end up on the block. August 9th then became not only the day that the film was released but the first day of auctions.
So, knowing of the types of items that were being sold from weapons, to hand props to wardrobe I went to the movie two days later. This time I watched the movie for the props, making notes, trying to lock in with my memory things that may be useful, especially possible quantities and other observations. I found myself about halfway getting really into the film again. I was very surprised. Usually watching a film so soon again after the first time this would not have happened.
During the week Wednesday came and the next lot of 15-20 items was added and on the weekend I saw the movie again. Now I knew I liked it because it held my interest, and I discovered new facts and things that I hadn’t seen the first time. At the end of the experience I knew that unlike nearly every movie I had seen for several years this was going to have some legs to it. I had also gotten into it, just as much as the second time.
As my brother said earlier that week “What more do you want, its got sci-fi guns, robots, spaceships, a great villain and action”. He…was right.
So the other articles in this series will focus on the great job VIP auctions did on the sale, some of the things they missed that became apparent with bidders once the items were received, surprises when some of the original crew were approached for information on those props and a look at the Blu ray when its released about a month from now.
Continued in Part 2 coming soon.