"Glee The 3D Concert Movie" should have done well this weekend. Audiences – those who went, anyway — loved it, and it has a strong fan base.
But instead Fox's movie opened a miserable 11th place in its opening weekend, taking in feeble $6 million.
"I don't want to beat up on 'Glee,' because the numbers already beat them up," an industry marketing veteran told TheWrap. "I'm a fan. (But) it's just the concert version of the musical. Are you kidding me? Everything about that, in my opinion was wrong."
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First, this was the wrong candidate for 3D, which is more expensive than regular movie tickets, said Vincent Bruzzese, president of The Worldwide Motion Picture Group at Ipsos OTX.
"Audiences have said time and time again that what they're looking for, and what has been proven to have done well (in 3D) is action-adventure-fantasy movies," Bruzzese said. "There's a question of 'Why is this in 3D' and 'Why should I pay the extra price to see it?'"
He also said audiences had a perception that they could just as easily have stayed home and watched "Glee" on television and gotten pretty much the same thing.
And most of the die-hard Glee fans were already spending money to see the live show. Fox spent an estimated $9 million making a 3D version of the "Glee" concert.
"You can already buy tickets to see it live on tour, so why am I seeing it in the theater?" he asked.
Which was a shame because the film got a rare A-plus grade from moviegoer survey firm Cinemascore for audience members under 25.
Releasing the "Glee The 3D Concert Movie" into 2,040 theaters Friday, one Fox executive described the studio as being in "uncharted waters."
A Fox spokesman declined to comment for this story.
But some concert movies have done great, including recently. "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" opened at No. 1 in 2008, grossing $31.1 million in its opening weekend. Similarly, "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience" opened at No. 2 in 2009, grossing $19.16 million in its opening weekend.
And just this year, "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" opened at No. 2, grossing $29.51 million in its opening weekend.
All three opened in February.