Zombieland was released in October of 2009 probably to cash in on the Halloween horror rush that happens. Even with little competition it only brought in about $25 million during it’s opening weekend. By the the end of the first run Zombieland had brought in over $100 million worldwide, which is pretty good given the paltry budget of $23-ish million.
The strength of Zombieland should be attributed to word of mouth instead of advertising. After you get to the end of this, look at the original trailer. Remember it and compare it to how the movie actually played out. They don’t seem quite like the same movie. Sure the parts are pretty much all in the film but the context of the trailer makes it seem pretty different. After watching the trailer I didn’t see the movie in the theater because it seemed too campy for my personal tastes. Not campy in the over the top funny way but in a “hey look we’re trying to be serious oh shit we screwed up” kind of way. I’m glad to say that when I picked it up on blu-ray I was pleasantly surprised.
What seemed to drive this was having the marketing department use footage to make a trailer they think will sell tickets but not directly tied to the director’s vision of the end product. This isn’t to say the team that created the trailer didn’t know what the movie was but I would say they took the wrong queues from the movie.
There was a line that Jesse Eisenberg narrates at the beginning of the film that really describes the tonal strength of the movie and that’s “this is now the United States of Zombieland”. Of course he’s specifically talking about the nation and not the movie but with some word play you can change United States to united states and sum up the entire movie.
Zombieland isn’t just a comedy film, it’s got drama, action, comedy, horror, intelligence and romance all rolled into one. Unlike a lot of films that have one direction with maybe a plot twist at the end, Zombieland does a great job of keeping you interested in the plot with the overlying comedy but still has you clamoring for the drama, romance and action bits. More significantly, it switches tone rapidly at points and it never seems out of place. It works in the same way it worked in another film we love, Deadpool.
Now that I think of it, another thing Deadpool has in common with Zombieland is a pretty awesome title sequence. Kudos to Logan for doing a good job on the Zombieland title cards.
The Quick and Dirty Verdict
“Zombieland is a pretty rainbow of blood and guts.”