What can we do to stop the MacGruber movie?

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I’m more than a little disappointed that there’s not more popular resistance to the news that they’re making a MacGruber movie. You know, MacGruber – that 20 second MacGyver parody that was mildly amusing the first 5,000 times you saw it? The one where the hero dies at the end every time? That’s the one they’re trying to make into a feature film. As Bill “Put It All on Black” Bennett used to say, “Where is the outrage”? While everyone’s debating frivolities like cap and trade, health care reform, and the economy, Lorne Michaels is slipping another one of these awful, unwatchable SNL movie monstrosities past us. Look at this chart I made (made = cut and pasted from the Wikipedia entry on SNL.)


Clearly, it would be extremely hard to make a convincing artistic or financial case for pumping out another Pat or Stuart Saves His Family or whatever. If you take out Wayne’s World and the first Blues Brothers*, they have an uneven box office record, and they rarely break 50% critical ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. What are they thinking?  Who greenlights these things?  

The word is that Jorma Taccone from the [better than SNL] skit group The Lonely Island is set to direct, which is bizarre and disappointing. Apparently, they’re confident in handing over the reigns to first time director Taccone because he directed most of the MacGruber skits on the show.  They apparently see no difference in the skills needed to direct a series of twenty second skits involving at most 4 actors that have all taken place in the same location and directing a major motion picture with a multi-million dollar budget and a crew of thousands.  Also, according to Wikipedia, he is considered responsible for “creating the character” – which seems to me as dubious as saying Gilda Radner created the “character” of Baba Wawa or Eddie Murphy created Gumby or Buckwheat.  

Ah well, it seems SNL flicks are death/taxes level inevitable at this point.  If anything, I could watch it to answer my burning “How the hell do you make a movie out of that?” question .  Then again, even that morbid rubbernecking curiosity hasn’t been enough to make me rent Cat in the Hat.  

*I don’t buy their argument that The Waterboy is an SNL spinoff.  

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7 Responses to What can we do to stop the MacGruber movie?

  1. virtualbeggar says:

    How are these “consistently huge money losers”? Ignoring those with incomplete data, only 2 grossed less than their budget. Even ignoring the Waterboy, 6 made more in theaters than was spent on production.

    • That’s what I get for copying a chart! I think I missed “Superstar” and “Ladies Man”s profits in a fit of wishful reading. “Huge money losers” was off the mark. I changed the wording.

      However, even with incomplete data, I made what I think were safe assumptions. Mainly that “Pat” cost more than $60K to make, and that “Harold” didn’t make anything close to $10 million. I can’t verify the first, but I looked up “Harold”‘s B.O. elsewhere, and it made a whopping $13K. Yikes. And as I said, I wasn’t counting Wayne’s World and Blues Brothers. But overall, I guess they do OK enough to keep it going. Which is really sad.

  2. Marc Flores says:

    Oh jeez. I didn’t even hear about this until now. Making a MacGruber movie is sorta like giving a book deal to a Tumblr page with a very, very narrow scope. But sometimes that crap just happens.

  3. jonathanfoster says:

    Hey, have you seen this Narnia rap thing?! You HAVE to check it out!!

  4. Matthew Greenberg says:

    Prediction: “MacGruber The Movie” will be terrible, but it will still be better than “It’s Pat!”

    I saw “It’s Pat!” – at a $60,800 gross, divided by an average movie ticket of $7.50 (it was 1994), that makes me one of the roughly 8,000 people who actually saw the movie. It was at a theater in LA, and writer/star Julia Sweeney was there. She arranged for the screening because, as she explained, she wanted someone to see the movie.

    She was available for questions afterward. We didn’t have any.

    • “She was available for questions afterward. We didn’t have any.”

      Damn, Matthew, turn the [much deserved] knife in, will you? Well, at least Sweeney partially redeemed herself in my eyes with her show Letting Go of God, or at least the portion I heard on This American Life, which apparently is the most popular story they’ve ever done. She’s maybe the only popular atheist speaker I can stand.

      Foster: Will white people rapping about nerdy things ever get old? (A: Yes)

      Steve: I actually think Wayne’s World holds up better than Blues Brothers, but I’m weird like that.

  5. It makes you wonder if there are other reasons to make movies than turn a profit- if there’s something in actor contracts at SNL that encourages making foreseeable flops.

    But nothing will ever top the Blues Brothers… clearly where the movie surpassed the SNL act it was based on, with a decade worth of catch phrases. Maybe they just don’t get that they’ll never recreate that- it was never the same cast after the originals, who treated it as truly a joint endeavor, rather than a bunch of solitary actors waiting for movie deals to break out.

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