What ever happened to Postal?

by Paul William Tenny

Uwe Boll
Uwe Boll on set. Credit: Jeff Hitchcock
I've been waiting a little while to see how the Postal situation was going to shake out before saying anything. Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto series may be the moralist's current excuse-of-the-day to whine and complain, but Postal is what really got their blood boiling a few years ago. It wasn't surprising at all that Uwe Boll -- a German director that specializes in adapting games to movies that fail spectacularly -- saw an opportunity to snatch up a piece of work that was at least as offensive as his own stuff has been.

Postal cost $15 million to produce and was scheduled for release in 1500 theaters in late May against the new Indiana Jones sequel, but that ship never sailed.

As early as May 16th, Josh Tyler of Cinemablend reported that Postal's release was being cut to just four venues, well into privileged early screening territory -- only there wasn't going to be any red carpet gala for Mrs. Boll's boy. This was unmistakable cowardice on the part of theater owners that were going to take it into their own hands to ban Boll's film from the United States.

Even the federal government and the MPAA don't have balls that big.

This country just loves the idea of democracy, but in practice? Not so much. People ought to be given the choice whether they want to be offended or not, instead of being treated like children.

It may be that these theater owners have finally wised up, and decided to stop giving away empty space for films from a director that historically have never once made a profit in his career. While most of these films are budgeted for under $20 million -- apparently the maximum independent funding available for films guaranteed to bomb -- at least one cost in the $40 million range and probably didn't make back enough of it to pay for the film reels.

After Postal was pushed back to May 23rd, the number of theaters that agreed to open the film grew slightly to between 13-15 venues, according to Carl DiOrio and The Hollywood Reporter. Although no gross receipts are available from BoxOfficeMojo, anecdotal evidence shows that Postal did terribly overseas, bringing in only about five thousand dollars in Australia after a two-week run. It didn't fair much better in Boll's homeland, not even scratching $150k.

In many ways the results for Postal were little different than those of Alone in the Dark and BloodeRayne, but for different reasons. While his most recent film was boycotted by theater owners for having such a low chance of financial success and possibly because of its content, the latter two bombed because nobody went to see them. Alone in the Dark opened in over 2000 theaters and yet managed barely $5 million in the United States, a dismal failure by anyone's standards.

That film happens to be typical of Boll's entire film making career, where some argue that his movies are designed to fail.

For what it's worth, Postal may be seen in a handful of theaters yet, but the movie is essentially dead. It's not even clear at this point if Boll will be able to find a DVD distributor in hopes of making some of the $18 million in production costs back for his investors.

If there are any lessons to be learned from this unusual series of events, it's that Uwe Boll will never be capable of making good films -- or that he's probably not interested in even trying -- and that he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. An unsourced quote in Boll's Wikipedia article would have us believe that a direct-to-DVD sequel is in the works. Just a well I suppose, I wouldn't mind having coasters with cool cover art on them instead of the bad DVD-R bulk discs I buy that are manifestly lacking in visual appeal.
in Film


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