I was wondering how this film was doing. Over at PopCrush, the inestimable James Lileks lays it out for us:
Meanwhile, heads are scratching: why did it tank? Bad week for small films? Depp’s appeal on the wane? People like him only when he’s piratical? Perhaps because word of mouth was like halitosis: The movie got a C minus from people who actually saw it, and Hunter S. Thompson’s appeal may not be as universal as some suspect.
The last part is undoubtedly true. I’ve long considered Thompson to be massively overrated, bordering on the laughable. But then, I’m only going by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and his excreable ESPN.com column from his later years (“The Vikings struggled back like a drunk who doesn’t know who just hit him, but the deep dark doom was upon them…” ad infinitum). However, I just plain doubt that your average moviegoing audience even knew that this was a Thompson book. To make a film of The Rum Diary is, cinematically speaking, to make a prequel to F&LILV. Yet the studio didn’t market it as such.
Curiouser and curiouser.