If they gave out Oscars for best trailer of the summer, my pick would be “Blinded by the Light.”
The Pakistani kid inspired out of his downtrodden life by the music of The Boss hit all the right buttons, climaxing with “Born to Run” and the feel good moment of the film, a fellow believer in U.S. Customs sanctioning a young Muslim man’s pilgrimage to Asbury Park.
Warner Brothers screened the film, marketed it, curried ecstatic reviews at festivals and elsewhere.
And the damned thing bombed on over 2300 screens on its opening weekend. Under $5 million for the weekend.
That was their first mistake, opening that wide. Second? Sneaking it into late summer. It’s a September movie.
And let’s face it, Bruce was yesterday’s news to the 1987 Brit teens in the film.
Who was going to show up for it in 2019? By and large, The Boss fanbase is AARP age. They no longer go to a lot of movies. I doubt the foreign immigrant angle in the picture was a turnoff, although surely his white 60something fanbase has its share of MAGA hats.
The audience would, at best, take time to find the film. Open it narrowly, widen it into the rest of the fall, maybe make $20 million out of it, all in.
No way it will get there now. All those music rights, a cute (No more than cute, it is a letdown from the trailer.) picture from a director who knows this world and has made hits out of it.
Is Springsteen as easy to sing along to as Elton or Queen?
“Blinded” has but one giddy “Say Anything” moment, and that involves Rob Brydon in a duet. It needed more.
“Blinded by the Light” deserved better.