August 18, 2006
‘Snakes on a Plane’ Slithers into Audience Embrace
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Early audiences lured to "Snakes on a Plane" by its sensational title and Internet hype say the film lives up to their expectations for an over-the-top thriller.
"It was just so ridiculous it was a good movie," said Colin Cowes, 15, from Minnesota, after seeing a morning screening in New York on Friday. "I went and saw it because I saw an ad for it on the Internet. Definitely the title got me in because it just sounds so random and stupid."
The movie, whose title also convinced actor Samuel L. Jackson to star it , opens in theaters across the United States and Britain on Friday.
There were no advance showings of the $30 million dollar movie after the name alone managed to spark an enviable run of publicity by spawning endless parodies, Web postings and videos that tried to flesh out the story.
The Internet hoopla started with a blog posting by screenwriter Josh Friedman's a year ago praising Jackson for threatening to quit the movie when the studio considered changing the title, saying he'd taken the job based on the name.
At the early New York screening moviegoers laughed and cringed as they watched an FBI agent try to regain control of a plane that the Mafia had filled full of poisonous snakes to try and kill a witness under protection.
Smart moviegoers usually avoid a film released without advance screenings because it can indicate a studio knows the movie is bad. But people who have not seen "Snakes on a Plane" are calling themselves "fans" and many hope it will be awful, in an entertaining way.
Natasha Sokolov, 33, said she came to see the movie because it starred Jackson.
"I'm not sure that's exactly a movie I would regularly see though. It was scary, fun, exciting. It was just a little piece of entertainment, nothing serious," she said.
Marcus Levy, 29, of New England, said it was action-packed. "I think at first it was the actual preview that got me interested and then the title obviously explains everything. I despise snakes," he said. "It was actually entertaining."
New Line Cinema, the Time Warner Inc. subsidiary that is distributing "Snakes," has fueled the hype and the producers even included a line created by an imaginative blogger in the movie and used it in previews.
But the hype didn't get to everyone.
"I didn't even know about it, but (my friend) was just, like, 'We have to go and see this movie'," said 15-year-old Imogen Kwok.