The Piranha 3DD Mystery

I think there’s a hidden meaning somewhere in there.

So sequel to 2010’s super amazing awesome movie, Piranha 3D, came out yesterday.  It was supposed to come out last November, just in time for my birthday (and I’d become completely psyched to see it then) but a delay was announced at the last minute.  Here we are now, six months later, and it’s finally in theaters … a grand total of 75 of them, according to some sources.  Major theatrical releases are screened in theaters numbering in the thousands.  Around me, there’s only one theater in Northern Virginia showing it, with one more in Maryland and then the next nearest is in Cherry Hill New Jersey, a bizarrely sparse distribution.  I’ve seen arthouse flicks more easy to attend.

So what’s the deal here?  Why is nobody showing this flick?  Why was there seemingly no promotion for this movie (I haven’t seen any commercials on TV or trailers before movies.)  Is this movie just being laid out to die for some bizarre reason?

I have a couple of theories as to what’s going on:

  1. The delay killed the movie.  Arguably the summer is where this flick belonged, but it’s possible that after having a distribution time (Thanksgiving weekend) arranged with theaters, suddenly yanking it from the schedule to try and force it into the very busy Summer left theater managers unwilling to support Piranha.  After all, if you’re still making bank off 3D hits like The Avengers, the recently released Men in Black 3, and expect Prometheus and the kid-friendly Madagascar 3 to come out next week why would you give up screen time to the fickle people who screwed over your November schedule?
  2. Remember last year when the movie theater companies got up in arms over plans to simultaneously release the Ben Stiller & Eddie Murphy movie Tower Heist to video on demand services at the same time it came to theaters? Eventually, Universal Pictures backed off the plan.  They were afraid that theater managers might refuse to screen the film in protest of facing competition from home rentals.  Well, Piranha 3DD has a pretty wide video on demand distribution that started yesterday.  Aside from possibly being rented by your cable provider you also have the option to see it in 2D from Amazon or in 3D (if your monitor is capable of it) from Facebook. Perhaps this is what it looks like when the theater owners don’t like their customers having too many options; they make it too hard to see the movie in theaters.  That’s kind of a weird self-fulfilling prophecy, but whatever.
  3. Some people, we’ll call them idiots, might insist the movie saw such limited distribution because it’s bad.  They might point to the overall Rotten Tomatoes rating of 12% as of the time I wrote this post as proof of this. That’s giving theater owners far too much credit.  Plenty of fairly panned movies, for low-hanging fruit let’s use the Transformers movies as an example, have seen very wide distribution despite being considered incredibly idiotic, even offensive. Taste had little to do with this situation.  There’s a business angle to it.  I’m just not sure what it was.

Additional Material

  • Brad (the “Cinema Snob”) reviews Piranha 3DD – This guy had to watch it on his TV through video on demand because the nearest theater to him showing the movie was 3 hours away. He felt the movie wasn’t as good as Piranha 3D, but would still be worth seeing on the big screen.
That shirt could be just a little bit wetter.

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