Wednesday, May 29, 2024

UPDATE Hi Ho! “Transcendence” Johnny Depp’s “Lone Ranger” Follow Up Could Be Bigger Flop


UPDATE THURSDAY AM: “Transcendence” is at 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. And falling fast. Ouch!

EARLIER: Is it possible? Johnny Depp’s “Transcendence,” headed to theaters in two days, looks like a disaster. Already panned by Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, “Transcendence” is hard to spell and harder to type. It’s also, apparently, quite awful. Warner Bros., distributing but not financing, has embargoed reviews until the very last minute. But the smell of death is in the water, and sharks are circling.

The movie is financed by Alcon Entertainment, not known for its Oscar releases– although they did have a fluke in 2009 with “The Blind Side.” Last year Alcon delivered “Prisoners,” a bad movie with good intentions and nice performances from Hugh Jackman, Melissa Leo, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

But Depp seems to have drawn his second financial and career flop in a row. “The Lone Ranger” was, to use a current word, “epic” as it collapsed into a top 10 money loser. “Transcendence” didn’t cost nearly as much– maybe in the $100-$150 million range. The film, which also stars Morgan Freeman, has low enough visibility– and an avalanche of bad reviews coming– that it will literally take Depp’s personal draw to overcome a catastrophe.

Here’s the trailer. I know it’s a good payday, but I can’t figure out how Morgan Freeman keeps a straight face when he intones this line: “If we can’t stop him, it will be the end of mankind as we know it.” If only the Zuckers could do a parody where a Freeman-like character keeps coming into the room and saying that, a la “Airplane!”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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