Fans of our “Secrets of” series – as well as those who may be new to them – will understand why this headline about the films was of more than passing interest: it echoes our well-known ties to the Dan Brown phenomenon through our internationally best-selling Secrets of the Code, the unauthorized reader’s guide to that Dan Brown novel. (The book reached #8 on The New York Times list, was published in more than 20 foreign countries, and moved one reviewer to say that he liked it better than the original book.)
The story behind the headline was written by Julia Boorstin, a CNBC correspondent for the network’s “Media Money” column. Here is her blog in full:
Sony could use a new movie franchise — other than Spiderman, Men in Black, and Ghost Rider, which have set fallow for years, the studio doesn’t have any major, reliable franchises.
As the studio prepares to release “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” next week, the question is whether the adaptation will recreate the kind of hit it saw with “Da Vinci Code.”
That adaptation of the cult book cost about $125 million and grossed $217 million in the US, $758 million worldwide. And its sequel, “Angels and Demons” grossed $485 million worldwide. [Our book based on that novel is “Secrets of Angels and Demons,” later released as “Inside Angels and Demons”.]
There are plenty of comparisons to be made between “Da Vinci Code” and “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — both are cult books with an international following. Dragon Tattoo is the first in the “Millennium trilogy” by Stieg Larsson, which sold more than 60 million copies in 48 countries; ‘Da Vinci Code’ had sold 60 million copies at the time of the film release.
But “Tattoo” will have a much harder time reaching “Da Vinci’s” box office heights.
For one thing, the book was already adapted into a successful, critically-acclaimed Swedish movie, released in March 2010. That $13-million budget film which grossed $10 million and $94 million around the rest of the world. With the international box office playing an increasingly important role to studios’ bottom lines, the big question is whether moviegoers overseas will be willing to shell out more money to see another version of the same film.
And “Tattoo” may turn off moviegoers with its dark, violent themes. And while “DaVinci” appealed to moviegoers with the romance of Rome and Paris, where it was set. In contrast, “Tattoo” is steeped in the stark snowed-in landscape of an island four hours north of Stockholm. And while star Daniel Craig has led huge box offices for the “James Bond” franchise, he’s far from the star power of “DaVinci’s” leading man Tom Hanks.
But perhaps the movie’s biggest challenge is the crowded box office over the Christmas holiday– there are four other movies opening wide next week.
What SONY has going for it, however, is a director who has already scored big box office success with his earlier movies that had “dark, violent themes.” And many would argue that stark landscapes in general have served a whole host of recent films very well indeed.