In the race to declare the biggest flop of the summer—so that we may all focus our hatred on the weakest and, by hunting and killing it, become lords of the island—R.I.P.D. has suddenly pulled way out in front, according to the L.A. Times. Consumer polling firm Piedmont Media Research says the Ryan Reynolds/Jeff Bridges action-comedy is tracking “the lowest out of any summer movie we’ve seen,” invoking the unholy names of Battleship, Jack The Giant Slayer, and John Carter to put its poor advance reception in relative terms. Adding to the negative (and nonexistent) buzz is the fact that R.I.P.D. was screened for critics only hours before tonight’s midnight premiere and reviews remain under a strict embargo, which is never a good sign. All of this is somewhat surprising, considering—as NextMovie pointed out in the video below—R.I.P.D. was already a big summer hit when it was called Men In Black.
Should audiences somehow not line up to trade their aliens for zombies, and their Will Smith sass for mild Ryan Reynolds sarcasm, the $130 million-budgeted film could gross as little as $17 million over the weekend, a number that certainly doesn’t do much to justify the nearly 15 years it spent in development, the myriad directors, stars, and writers who have been attached to the project since 1999, or its costly 3-D post-conversion. It will still, however, justify Jeff Bridges calling out Ryan Reynolds for being a real hotshot, then showing him the ropes of this ghost-bustin’ business. Because that is how things are done, slick, and then you become friends as well as partners.
In a twist that is almost as unexpected as the grizzled cowboy taking a reluctant shine to a hothead rookie, R.I.P.D.’s principals may actually end up losing to themselves. Turbo definitely seems poised to beat it, and confirm that audiences prefer their Ryan Reynolds in cartoon snail form. And the weekend’s other No. 1 contender, Red 2, co-stars R.I.P.D.’s Mary-Louise Parker and is the sequel to a film directed by R.I.P.D.’s Robert Schwentke, meaning the latter will lose out to, essentially, his very own franchise. “It’s easily shaping up to be the big summer bomb,” Piedmont president Joshua Lynn concludes of R.I.P.D., gleefully smearing boar’s blood beneath his eyes, as the chant of “KILL” slowly rises.
Of course, such self-fulfilling prophecies aside, all of this could change the moment Ryan Reynolds finally releases his “R.I.P.D.” rap song. You certainly don't become a supernatural buddy-cop blockbuster without one.