28 April 2010

A little late to the Jonah Hex game

When I first heard Warner Bros. announce that they had green-lit a Jonah Hex movie, I was excited. I haven’t read much in the way of the Jonah Hex comics from DC, although I’m familiar with the character, but the important part for me was that this was a new Western movie. I’m always thrilled to hear about new Westerns. I support them. I’ll see any Western released in theaters. And in the case of Jonah Hex, it would be a “Weird Western” with heavy Steampunk decorations. That’s all love. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

Except . . . I’ve almost heard nothing about the film since then. Neither has anybody else. The movie, which stars Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex and also features Megan Fox and John Malkovich, is due to hit a screens on June 18, less than two months away, and Warner Bros. hasn’t even released a trailer yet. The first trailer is coming out tomorrow, attached to the re-make/re-boot of A Nightmare on Elm Street, which I don’t plan to see. Releasing the first trailer less than two months before the opening? That’s a bad sign. And the first poster (see below) didn’t come out until this week.

Did Warner Bros. forget they had Jonah Hex on their schedule? Or, as is more likely, they would rather no one know the film is coming out because they don’t believe in the finished product?

A preview screening was done for the film in L.A. over the weekend, and the observations on movie websites from the people who were in attendance range from “disappointed” to “unwatchable.” Combine this with Warner Bros. hesitancy about promoting Jonah Hex, and you’ve got reason to think that film is heading for a fast exit from theaters after June 18.

I want Jonah Hex to do well because I want Westerns to do well so studios will release more of them. But there are plenty of warnings signs on this to make me certain to have my expectation meter tuned properly. I’ll still see the movie—I have an obligation to the theatrical Western, I vote for them with my pocketbook—and hope, hope that the warning signs are all false.