'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo': What the Critics Are Saying

 Columbia TriStar

Sony's adult drama-thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came in No. 4 its opening weekend.  

Directed by David Fincher, the English-language adaptation of the blockbuster Swedish novel starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer, grossed $19.4 million for a six-day domestic cume of $27.7 million, slightly less than expected.

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"This a good start for a really great movie," Sony president of worldwide domestic distributon Rory Bruer told The Hollywood Reporter. "Rooney Mara's character is a role that doesn't come around that often, and she just killed it. Daniel Crig is great, too."

But, THR's reviewer Todd McCarthy hinted at possible problems in his review.

"In the end, there's not much extra even David Fincher can bring to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, writes McCarthy. "This fastidious, technically stellar Hollywood telling of one of the great literary sensations of recent times is highlighted by a bewitching performance from Rooney Mara as the punked-out computer research whiz Lisbeth Salander and remains an absorbing story, as it was on the page and in the 2009 Swedish screen version. But for all the skill brought to bear on it, the film offers no surprises in the way it's told (aside from a neatly altered ending) and little new juice to what, for some, will be the third go-round with this investigation of the many skeletons in the closet of a powerful Swedish corporate family."

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"Many of Hollywood's star-driven follow-ups to foreign-language hits have been flops," wrote the Los Angeles Times. "No single theory explains why so many foreign remakes fail, though pundits will note that a foreign sensibility can get lost in translation. And many moviegoers will nonetheless have a sense that the new movie isn't very new (even if a relative few actually went out to see the original)." 

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"Though the film is based on the Stieg Larsson novel that sold 43 million copies around the world, a book’s popularity rarely transfers to blockbuster movie numbers, especially when its audience is grownups, not the kids and young adults who made the Harry Potter and Twilight series multimedia phenomena," says Time magazine. "David Fincher’s R-rated Tattoo must also compete with the recent memory, for some moviegoers here and millions abroad, of the Swedish films made from the Larsson thrillers; the original Tattoo movie, with Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth, earned more than $100 million worldwide. The Fincher version amassed $27.8 million since its Tue. evening debut. Whether the film will justify Sony’s investment is a mystery that won’t be resolved until the New Year."

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The subject matter timed with it's Christmas-season release date could have also been a factor, said Gitesh Pandya, editor of Box Office Guru."The dark and violent subject matter coupled with intense competition for the attention of mature adults led to an underwhelming result over the happy and cheery yuletide holiday." 

"Did Fincher need to make this film at all when that perfectly fine Swedish subtitled version was released in the U.S. just two years ago," asked The Washington Post's Jen Chaney. "'Need' may be a strong word in this context. It was inevitable that Hollywood would eventually try to tackle the Millennium trilogy for one basic and obvious reason: money. Larsson’s books stand as one of the most successful publishing phenomena of this, well, millennium so far. Millions of people have read these stories. That provides enough brand recognition and built-in curiosity for a studio like Sony to build upon. Also, as silly as it might sound, there are still lots of Americans who will not go to see a film if it has subtitles; reading during a movie is too much of a distraction for them."

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