Chris James nailed it when he wrote "We Are...A Flop!" I am so not surprised, and here's why:
- The Title - While it is a cherished part of the Marshall and Huntington culture, The "We Are Marshall" chant really doesn't serve well as a title for the movie. I just doesn't say much to outsiders about what the movie is about. It is rare that a working title of a major motion picture ends up being the actual title and I was very surprised that they stuck with the original title all the way. It must have tested out pretty well in focus groups, but recent transplants to our area have told me that they thought the name was curious and that if they didn't know what the movie was about they wouldn't get it from the title. The fact is that not many people outside our area know the story and therefore will not make the connection. Too bad "Ashes to Glory" was already taken; I think that would have been much better.
- The Actors - The "Sexiest Man Alive" list is replete with winners whose next career move was a bad one. Affleck had "Gigli", Clooney had "Batman." Now McConaughey has "We Are Marshall." This is his first venture outside the chick flick genre and from all accounts, his portrayal of Jack Lengyel is pretty hokey. Matthew Fox has a huge TV fan following but I don't seem him bringing in an audience. The total lack of a leading woman is problematic, too. Kate Mara and Kimberly Williams should have been played up more in the publicity.
- The Timing - Let's face it, Christmas weekend releases are reserved for sure-fire family films (Toy Story, Babe, etc.) or Oscar contenders. This movie is neither. The field is way too crowded this time of year for a lackluster movie with little appeal to a wide audience.
- The Director - I never understood why the local news media made such a fuss over director "McG". The highlights of his directing credits include two very bad movies (Charlie's Angels) and some Wierd Al Yankovick videos. I don't know any movie buff that is going to shell out their eight bucks to go see a movie because it was directed my McG.
The movie's failure is no reflection on Huntington or Marshall. The only thing the community did was to have expectations that were unrealistically high, and I blame McG and Co. for that.