Diablo Cody Blames Marketing Campaign Aimed At The ‘Transformers’ Set For The Failure Of ‘Jennifer’s Body’
When it was released in September, Jennifer’s Body, Diablo Cody‘s first post-Juno screenplay and Transformers star Megan Fox‘s first starring role, failed to connect with critics and audiences alike, grossing only $18 million worldwide. It also succeeded in cooling down the intensity of the media coverage surrounding Fox, which had reached such a fever pitch over the summer that several editors of magazines like GQ, Maxim and Esquire had called for a one day blackout on all Fox-related articles.
Cody thinks the movie performed so badly at the box office because the studio marketed it to the Transformers set, instead of the female audience she had in mind. During last summer’s Comic-Con festival, when Jennifer’s Body was actually receiving a lot of buzz, she giddily explained her interest in a zombie pic:
Horror has always kind of had a feminist angle, in a weird kinda way.
These days, as the nasty aftertaste of a box office failure is starting to clear out, Cody is looking back to see where she went wrong. Cody tells IF magazine:
I want to believe deep down inside that movie will find its audience. At the same time, many of us knew that it wasn’t going to connect which is a terrible thing to say. As much as I love that movie, and I’m incredibly proud of that movie and I will love it forever, I feel it’s very unusual and I don’t think it’s super accessible in a lot of ways. I don’t think it was a typical, mass appeal popcorn horror movie. I think it was more like an art film. I know some people would laugh at that.
It’s natural for the author to defend her work, but if Cody was honest with herself, then she’d realize that Jennifer’s Body bombed because it is an incoherent mess of horror flick that is neither funny nor scary. Audiences like plot, not just random groan-inducing pop cultural references and “clever” witticisms.
Cody will nonetheless have another chance to score a hit with her next project, which is an adaptation of the Sweet Valley High series. She says:
I just started writing it. I’m very excited about that. It’s classic ‘80s series of books about these twins Elizabeth and Jessica and it’s going to be set in the ‘80s and true to the source material.
We’ll see, I guess.