You have maybe heard about The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure by now. No? Oh, goodie.
Basically, Kenn Viselman, the “marketing visionary” behind Teletubbies, Eloise and some other successful children’s franchises went to see Madea Goes to Jail and was so inspired (?) by the interactive qualities of the film (?!) that he owed it to the children of the world to create a motion picture that would allow them to talk, dance and sing along in the cinema. He nabbed Academy Award nominated director Matthew Diamond (nominated for a dance documentary he directed in the 1990s) and a handful of celebrities (Toni Braxton, Chazz Palminteri, you know, celebrities?) to create an interactive cinema experience of screaming along at the screen, an experience long dreamt of by all parents, I’m sure.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the film suffered the worst opening weekend in history for a picture of its distribution size, averaging about $47 per theatre it opened in, or roughly two audience members per showing at each of the 2,000 theatres in which it played. That's approx one suffering adult and one lonely, confused kid per showing. Yikes.
But did parents and children alike miss out on a hidden gem? After all, Citizen Kane flopped when it first hit cinemas. Absolutely and completely unwilling to see the entire thing, I’m going to have to surmise based on the widely-panned trailer and the official Oogieloves website. #journalismthesedaysguys
What classic, beloved characters did we all miss out on meeting? What fun japes? What wobbling and bobbling?!
The Oogieloves (Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie) themselves, who appear to be a band, group of friends, and the stuff of actual nightmares. These massive puppet pals take us on a journey through LovelyLoveville, where they all live, to secure the last five magical balloons in the place, which are required for a pillow’s birthday party (duh, keep up). Each of these guys has a favourite word. Toofie’s is "adventurific" while Zoozie, the girl Oogielove, favours “sparkeliciousness”. Then there are the supporting pals:
Windy: A magical window that can peep into anywhere else in LovelyLoveville, like a pervert armed with binoculars or one of the screens from 1984. Y'know, normal (not at all creepy) regular children’s stuff.
Schluufy: A pillow who speaks in “his own pillow dialect” that the Oogieloves can understand but not us crazy humans! It’s his birthday and he loves hugging.
J.Edgar: Obviously a Hoover with glasses. OBVIOUSLY. The Oogieloves website calls him a “gentleman-vacuum”, which is pretty perfect. Has the hots for the pervy window.
Ruffy: Grumpy goldfish, allergic to water. “He’s always got a wisefish comment” and his character appears to share a smooch with Jaime Pressly in the trailer (“holy mackerel!”).
As if that wasn’t already almost TOO much fun, take a moment to pause and remember that “only an event this awesome could bring so many cool stars together!” Celebrities like: Cary Elwes as Bobbly Wobbly, Jaime Pressly and Christopher Lloyd as definitely not-racist Mexican couple Lero and Lola Sombrero, and, most innovatively, anime star and career voice actor Brad Swaile as God.
PLEASE, Real God, let there be a Brad Swaile-ex-machina at the end of this film. For those of you unsure who Brad Swaile is, crawl out from under your rock and check out Barbie and the Three Musketeers. See pivotal character Handsome Man? Nailed it. (I'd try hard to be more of a bitch, but I guess there can't be many actors with CVs that boast the words "played God" on them.)
Now, with a cast like that, and a marketing genius and award-nominated director at the helm, WTF happened? Some theories:
“I could use some fishtobismol!” line from trailer so inscrutable, nation’s children too confused to find their way to theatre .
America not ready for "adventurific" characters in mainstream media
No one could figure out when the release date of "Oogust 29th" was.
Viral marketing campaign failed as #lovelyloveland also used by brothel in Japan.
Chazz Palminteri pulled out at the last minute (Toni Braxton now pregnant).
Cross-marketing plan failed due to Oogieloves' close resemblances to “gross frog penises”.
Film very clearly very, very bad.
Follow Monica on Twitter: @monicaheisey
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