Before I get underway with this article, I think I should start by saying that I tihnk this remake was not bad at all. Just taking it on face value, it is very watchable indeed and I commend David Fincher for pulling yet another romping movie out of the bag. I personally find it hard to say that I like such a movie as this, given the nature of the negative theme and content, maybe this is an inherent problem of the franchise in general. Although, I of course prefer the original film, this one stood up to the mark as far as remakes go – although this may unfortunately be due to my low expectations beforehand.
But even though this film has been so highly anticipated, it fell dramatically short of Hollywood’s expectations. They really did try hard to build up the hype for the film – even with the use of a supposedly ‘leaked’ trailer, although Sony Pictures still deny these claims, despite taking an astonishing 4 days to take down the offending video, after which it had been viewed by over one million people. However, the film’s failure was due to a multitude of other reasons which America doesn’t seem to fully appreciate. So on the off-chance that any of the big-wigs up there in charge happen to stumble across this article, I’ve decided to tackle this problem myself, attempting to solve the mystery behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s strained audience.
Firstly, and most importantly (in my opinion), is that the release date for this film was entirely wrong – being just before Christmas (in the US). As the producers should have known, Christmas is a jolly time full of childish festivity and gift-giving, hardly the time that anyone would want to sit through two and a half hours of violence, rape and murder. The extreme adult content already limits the audience down considerably which puts the film at such a disadvantage, as Christmas is a time that families spend together, children ‘n ‘all. The producers ironically used the expression the ‘feel bad movie of Christmas’ when describing it, which they may have thought was witty, but perhaps the severity of the situation didn’t manage to filter through. I believe this ill-conceived release date seriously hindered any hope that the film had of becoming a major box office success, although figures have slowly risen since then, giving it enough to be considered worthy of producing a sequel. Compare this disaster with how The Inbetweeners Movie fared, as the producers knew their target market sufficiently enough to know that releasing their film in the summer would mean that teenagers are out of school or college and so are freely able to watch it. The simple planning resulted in a stomping profit for them, all at the small cost of using a bit of common sense to understand who the film is aimed at and therefore at which time of the year it can generate the maximum interest. It really is basic stuff, here.
Secondly, although in a way I think this does tie in with my first point as it again relates to time, is the fact that the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films came out literally just two years previously. This means that most of the audience have already satisfied their taste for this storyline recently, and do not necessarily want even more of the same, quite yet. Perhaps it is a case of America greatly underestimating their film audiences, as more and more people are content with watching a subtitled movie, thereby causing remakes to become obsolete. Due to the amazing power of the internet, it is so much easier for viewers to watch films online from all around the world, meaning that globalization of the film industry is a very current reality. The boundaries between cultures have become blurred, and it seems that just about everyone is getting sick of the superfluous Hollywood remakes which dominate the market.
Foreign films are viewed with a lot more respect now, are viewed more widely, and so this is a core concept in understanding why The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake did not become the whirlwind success that it was expected to be. It simply removed the story into an artificial setting, where the cast members (apart from Daniel Craig) attempted eastern European accents throughout – which was pretty much the only remnant of the Swedish culture which remained in the film, as far as I could tell. I guess this final point that I’m trying to make is, why bother with a remake when everyone is content with the original? It did not feel like the right ‘moment’ to be sniffing around a much-loved movie – much loved worldwide, that is – and tweaking and poking it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: it’s an important lesson to learn (which the producers hopefully have after the result of this disappointment).