The Allure of Arrested Development

Hollywood once again demonstrates that there’s gold in our collective misspent youth, as the “21 Jump Street” movie bounced into first place, earning $35 million and knocking “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”, the previous nostalgic champion of the past two weeks, down to second with $22.8 million.

“John Carter” took third with $13.5 million, and despite the fact that it will have earned $180 million globally by the time you read this, people are calling it a dud. (It’s right there in the linked story, even.) Perhaps that’s because Disney put so much money into the picture that it would have had to do “Transformers” numbers to validate its budget. Or maybe it’s just that the “big, expensive movie that no one could fully get a read on” became a self-fulfilling prophecy in the eyes of industry-watchers who, well, couldn’t fully get a read on it.

I’m not going to reposition myself as a “John Carter” booster or anything. I don’t think it was ever going to have been a monster hit; it’s structurally problematic and the story’s too self-consciously antiquated. But it might have had a better chance at catching on with audiences if it hadn’t arrived under a cloud of gloom; there’s some great stuff in it, and Taylor Kitsch is good, and I’m sorry he and Andrew Stanton won’t be getting the chance to take a second run at the characters now that all the clunky stuff’s out of the way.

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