I shouldn’t have to remind you but my social media feeds say otherwise. As we reported earlier, Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did gangbusters at the box office, about $65 million, so plans for a sequel have already started. And it could be your fault.
There were a lot of groans about the film’s success. There was the usual hyperbolic speak about losing faith in Hollywood (you shouldn’t have faith there to begin with), and film snobs I’m friends with/follow mourned the death of cinema. It’s a bit of an overstatement and people need to relax a little, but it’s easy to see why they’re screaming fire at smoke. A 19% on Rotten Tomatoes is ugly, and knowing what kind of film Ninja Turtles is — a big, noisy reimagining of a children’s cartoon* from two decades ago — one would be inclined to believe that, yeah, maybe people are stupid after all. Let’s just give up. Stop everything. Art is dead (relax, it’s not).
The issue here is that people saw this coming, and they still went to see it.
I don’t blame you if you genuinely love the turtles. Maybe there is a big enough of a fandom that will spend $65 million to see the movie, but I doubt that. Do I have enough friends? Because I’ve met people from all fandoms and I have never met a genuine Ninja Turtles fan, and I have been to Power Rangers conventions. From what I gathered from friends, acquaintances, and total strangers on the internet, it seems a chunk of that $65 million came from people who just wanted to be right about how they saw this trainwreck coming. And if that was you, fuck you, this is your fault.
You have no right to complain about how bad Ninja Turtles was if you willingly bought a ticket knowing it isn’t the kind of film you want. You vote with your dollar, and you just voted for the bad guy. You helped the system. You proved them right. They don’t care about a Rotten Tomatoes score or your Twitter status. They have your money and they’re going to do it again.
I don’t know how good or awful (probably awful) Ninja Turtles is. This weekend, I chose to see old friends from high school at a graduation barbecue. I didn’t see any movies. I will watch it one day, I’m sure. On a Sunday afternoon on FX, perhaps. I don’t want to trash something before I experience it, because that is just as terrible. But if you’re aware of the culture’s climate, you know what you’re getting into. I know what I’m getting into, and I’ll behave accordingly.
If you don’t want movies like Ninja Turtles, then don’t go see them. I’ve seen you complaining and it’s dumb that you are. Next time a movie like this waltzes into theaters, I hope I don’t have to write something like this again.
*=I’m well aware of the original Ninja Turtles books from Eastman and Laird, but we know that isn’t what the movie was cashing in on at all.