LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES
It’s easy to point out the reasons as to why The X-Files: I Want to Believe wasn’t a massive success domestically in the US (internationally it faired very well). Yes releasing the film one week after the most anticipated comic book movie in 2008, The Dark Knight did not help matters but you also have to look at your own product.
I’m not going to bash I Want to Believe because I did actually like it. It’s not a bad film and I loved seeing Mulder and Scully back on the big screen again. I still watch it and respect it. But I absolutely love the mythology! Whilst the film was written with great heart and superbly acted by David and Gillian, I can understand if majority of fans walked into the cinema expecting a conspiracy based story but got a monster of week episode that’s not as strong as some of the stories they did on the show (e.g. Home for example).
The truth is, I Want to Believe felt more like a Millennium movie than an X-Files movie – Mulder became Frank Black, gifted profiler trying to balance out the events from the show’s ending, his relationship with Scully and his natural inquisition to help people and solve cases. Scully became Catherine Black (Frank’s wife), a person who accepts her partner’s abilities but wants to move forward and forget about searching in the darkness again. They have a new life and she doesn’t want those bad things in their home. I guess that’s why I Want to Believe still resonates with me because we got further development of Mulder and Scully as characters and how their own tragic pursuit of the truth has shaped them. I Want to Believe was more of a personal adventure for our heroes and was definitely the strongest highlight in the movie. If they can take that emotional aspect from the second film and apply it to the new mythology film (a film that everybody wants), you could potentially have a nice balance.
Also, promote the film! You can’t just rely on the fans to spread the message about a new film. In the UK, TV spots were run close midnight (after everyone had gone to bed) and there was hardly a poster on the underground or in a newspaper (compared to the first movie where advertisement for the film was everywhere). To be fair, the first movie came out during the peak of its popularity but you still need the awareness that a film is coming out. So if marketing budget is limited, why not come up with creative ways to advertise it? Use twitter, Facebook, QR codes and social networks for promotion. How about homepage takeovers of popular websites? But avoid (like the plague) teaser trailer of a teaser trailer – that’s just annoying.