Only 37% of film critics recommend the movie musical.
Rob Marshall's big-screen adaptation of the Tony-winning musical Nine is making news in its first week of wide release for all the wrong reasons. Late on December 29, Reuters reported that the Weinstein Company would pull the glamorous movie musical from up to 600 of the 1,412 coast-to-coast movie theaters in which it has played for just five days. However, after "Nine is Dead" stories ran in various entertainment outlets, a studio spokesperson told Reuters on December 30 that the film would remain in all of the current theaters for the coming week after all.
Either way, the starry movie with a rumored $80 million price tag seems to be in dire straits. Although originally set for release in November, Nine was delayed and released in New York and Los Angeles on December 18, earning an encouraging $257,232 in its opening weekend in just four screens. But when the film was expanded on Christmas Day to its current reach, Nine earned only $5.4 million, putting it in eighth place for the weekend, behind month-old offerings like The Blind Side and The Princess and the Frog.
More troubling, despite an early rave from Variety, Nine has earned mostly negative reviews from critics across the country. RottenTomatoes.com, the film site which gathers critical reviews, shows a paltry 37% approval rating for the film. Of December films, only Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel rates lower. (Having earned $156 million worldwide in a week of release, Alvin, Simon and Theodore wouldn't seem to care.)
Of course, it was Marshall who ushered in the current Hollywood movie musical craze with his Chicago, which not only earned $306 million, but won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since that success, Rent, The Producers, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd and Mamma Mia! have all enjoyed the transfer from the stage to the screen, with mostly positive financial results. In fact, only Rent (costing $40 million to produce and earning $31 million) and The Producers (costing $45 million, earning $38 million) failed to break even, although they came closer than Nine, with its whopping production cost, would seem poised to.
Nine received five Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) and two Screen Actor Guild Award nominations prior to its release in theaters. If it finds similar success when nominations for the 2009 Academy Awards are announced on February 2, 2010, things could be looking up for Guido and his bevy of beauties.
Then again, will Nine still even be in theaters come February?