It's no secret that the new remake of Sparkle is a box office disappointment, falling far short of what was hoped for at the box office.
As I said before, when I saw the film at an advance screening, I couldn't figure out who the audience for the film was. Many people who love the 1976 original, told me that they had ZERO interest in seeing the remake.
I can completely understand. It's like doing a remake of Foxy Brown or Slaughter's Big Rip-Off. I would have blown a gasket. You just can't remake those films. There are NO Jim Browns or Pam Griers left anymore. Leave the originals alone.
The original Sparkle, while it's no masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, has real heart and a genuine sincerity. The remake is glossy (it sure is 'purdy' to look at), but superficial. And audiences who saw the remake, who have never seen the original, likely felt that something was 'off' in the film, I suspect.
Even Salim Akil himself was quoted as saying that he was offered the job to write and direct the remake, but he wasn't interested at first, because he loved the original film so much and felt a remake wouldn't compare to it. But he claimed his wife made him change his mind.
But today I remembered that, back in March, I wrote an item that came from several news sources, saying that Sony was seriously considering pushing up the release date for Sparkle from August to May.
The reasons being, as I said, were: "first to prevent any scenes with Whitney Houston from being leaked online before the film's official release; and to basically capitalize on Houston's resurgent popularity after her recent death."
Cold? Cynical? Typical Hollywood cut-throat attitude, caring about money more than people? Yes, yes and yes. But on second thought, maybe Sony should have done it, and results at the box office might have been a lot better.
The film would have come out in the middle of the whirlwind of the resurgent popularity of Whitney Houston. It was all Whitney, all the time. Countless articles and TV features about her, her recordings were selling again like hotcakes, Oprah's interview with her daughter and family was the highest rated program in the history of OWN.
And that was just the tip of the Whitney Houston media blitz. What better time to release Sparkle?
Also, the film would have acted as a nice counter-balance to all the big summer comic book movies that were just coming out then, like The Avengers and Battleship. There were lots of people, primarily women, looking for something else to go see. Sparkle would have been a nice fit to see after Think Like A Man, which was still playing in theaters. People who had no interest in seeing the film, but were mourning the absence of Whitney, might have gone just to see her one last time.
Then again, maybe nothing could have helped Sparkle regardless of when it came out. Maybe it was doomed from the beginning. What do you say?