The Slender Man movie had all the makings of a horror classic. Sure, it may seem pretty obvious to take a well-known creepypasta and turn it into a film, but its premise was no less silly and ridiculous than your average horror film. Were they to execute it well, there’s no reason it couldn’t have been the next big horror franchise, and I’m sure that’s exactly what Sony was planning with this bad boy.
While whether or not that is going to happen is still up in the air, it’s somewhat soft $11.3 million opening pretty much proves that audiences weren’t as drawn to it as they were hoping. You can also take a look at its CinemaScore. Generally, anything below a B isn’t too hot for that site, and on that scale, they score an awful D-.
So, what happened?
Well, as it turns out, Sony’s Screen Gems simply didn’t have faith in the film. You may have noticed the complete lack of advertising presence of the film. I write about this stuff, and even I was surprised at how quickly the film came out without me even realizing it. What chance would the mainstream public have if even I didn’t know or care? So why did the studio lose faith?
Sure, the Slender Man himself isn’t a big deal, but when you take a look at his real-world impact (the stabbings come to mind), it turns the risk of being controversial, with the studio potentially being put on blast by the general public. In addition to pulling back on the marketing, they also cut out several major scenes from the film, as Bloody Disgusting revealed in a recent report.
The film was originally supposed to be much darker, and as it showed up in theaters, it didn’t even have the horrific scenes teased, like one character stabbing out her eyes, or another ripping out her own tongue.
It’s important to note that this isn’t a case of a film being bad simply because it wasn’t darker. It’s a mixture of things. The studio got scared, and therefore essentially released what could be called an incomplete movie, for fear of facing backlash. While it’s not clear if the movie would have been better with those deleted scenes added in, it IS clear that, as it stands, this movie was poorly received by critics and fans alike — so it couldn’t hurt, right?
Add in the studio pretty much burying it due to lack of marketing, and you have a perfect storm for failure.
With that in mind, it’s actually kind of surprising that it did as well as it did.
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SOURCE: Bloody Disgusting