So, the numbers are in for both the first weekend’s box office as well as the first week’s album sales for OutKast’s Idlewild. How did they do? Horribly. The album managed to get beat in first week’s sales by P Diddy’s new girl group, Danity Kane, while the film barely managed to crack the top 10.
Let’s start with the album, since the film was always destined to be a life-altering shit sandwich anyway. (A rap movie set in the 1930s? Pfft!) Ironically, the album has grown on me quite a bit in the past couple of weeks. I ragged on it pretty hard in my review, but since then I’ve come to enjoy it about as much as I’ve enjoyed any rap album this year, which is “kinda.”
Not that I’m necessarily apologizing for comparing it to cancer in the first place. Here’s the thing: the last six tracks on this bitch really are that bad. And since they come right at the end of the album, you can’t help but be left with a pretty bad taste in your mouth. No Wilson Cruz from “My So-Called Life.” But the 19 tracks that come before that really aren’t half that bad.
Andre 3000 must have some sort of clause in his contract where he’s allowed to do whatever the fuck he wants a la Neil Young circa Everybody’s Rockin’. Since ‘Kast have still got one album left on their deal with Jive, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was rescinded. Lil’ Jon might even be brought in to write their next album, like they did with fellow old niggas in the club E-40 and Too Short.
I can only imagine how many people are going to be out of a job once this shit fails to go platinum. Jive was probably counting on Idlewild to be this year’s The Massacre. Speakerboxx/The Love Below, after all, sold 10 million copies. T.I.’s King, another southern rap album released concurrently with a major motion picture, did way better its first week out.
You have to assume that the thing that killed Idlewild more so than anything else was the lack of a hit single. In the weeks leading up to its release, Jive began furiously leaking tracks to the Internets trying to find something that stuck. Beyond just failing to connect with a buying public, the singles from Idlewild may very well have turned people off of both the album and the film.
In retrospect, they may have been better off holding the album under lock and key until its release date. This technique has already proven to work well for Hollywood studios, who sneak shit sandwich horror films on a Friday afternoon before the likes of Pete Vonder Haar at Film Threat can rip them a new one.
Speaking of which, the word on the film is that it also sucks balls, which, like I said doesn’t surprise me in the least bit. That said, it’s commercial failure might even be a bit more breathtaking than its soundtrack. I’ve never heard of hardly any of the eight movies that beat it in last weekend’s box office.
Granted, it had a higher per screen average than the rest of those films, but so does any film that’s only playing in a few theaters. It looks like the TI’s at the film studio may have realized a while ago that no one would be interested and decided to bury this bitch right away, Mallrats-style.