Why Charlie’s Angels Just Bombed So Hard

2. Charlie's "Troubled" Production


Increasingly, audiences look for signs of trouble on a set as some sort of reflection of a film's quality. That's why the idea of reshoots has become so fetishised in recent years and why there's so much perverse delight when things seem to go wrong. It's the fast food that the industry thrives on. Chum for the sharks. And Charlie's Angels had some very public issues, or at the very least the suggestion of them.

What easier way to tell your audience that you have problems - even if you don't - than by kicking your film into multiple release slots and then shifting them for no discernible reason. It might not be the truth, but all that does is sign-post to the people you NEED to have faith in your movie that there are problems stopping the original plans. For Charlie's Angels, four different release plans meant audiences were turned against it before it even had a chance to excite them.

Then there were the script problems that Deadline say were never really resolved - and which led to a final script that wasn't good enough to pull in a higher class of established talent, prompting the studio to turn to newer faces.

The fact that they relied on Kristen Stewart as the big draw was also something of a misstep - at least in terms of this movie - because she's gone about her business the same way Daniel Radcliffe and Robert Pattinson have in the wake of their early career-defining franchise roles. She seems to have gone out of her way to put Bella Swan and Twilight behind her with more interesting roles and she can't really pull in that audience any more. That's not to say she's in any way bad - she's actually a far better actor for it - but in marketing terms, it's a different question.

There was some hope that the success of the lead tie-in song - “Don’t Call Me Angel” by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Ray - would kick up some interest, but it just hasn't happened. And it could be because of the narrow spectrum the film is aiming at. This is, reportedly, nothing like the action movie of the McG films, which might have been the biggest misstep, considering how well franchise like Mission Impossible, John Wick, Fast & Furious and the like still do at the box office. Market this as a female-starring take on those sorts of movies and you might have a considerable hit. Right now, it feels like very few people even know what Charlie's Angels actually wants to be.

Is it a girl power make-over? Criticism seems to suggest it doesn't commit to that agenda either. There's an identity crisis here that, on reflection, makes the McG versions look better.

Part of that comes down to the mistakes in the marketing.


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