New Line Cinema’s The Real Cancun finished in tenth place at the box office with a disappointing take of $2.1 million over the weekend, leaving industry insiders wondering what exactly went wrong with the Spring Break documentary.
Touted as the next big trend in coming-of-age films, The Real Cancun boasts plenty of sex, nudity and above all, partying. The R-rated documentary follows 16 college kids paar-taaying for eight days in the Spring Break capital of Cancun, Mexico, with film crews recording their every moment.
Still, the film received positive word-of-mouth and had been expected to do much better–at least in the high single-digit millions.
“The tracking data was really hard to read, because it was never as big as the buzz,” one industry insider told Variety. “Things got a little out of whack, because there was so much industry interest in the picture (even as) the audience was deciding not to go see it.”
Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office tracking service Exhibitor Relations Co., said he was surprised by the film’s meager take. “I was one of those people going around saying this movie has the makings of a hit,” he told The Associated Press.
Cancun‘s R rating, however, might have been a curse rather than a blessing, especially since the film seemed more appealing to young teens rather than its 18 to 25 targeted demographic.
“There were a lot of 14, 15 and 16-year-olds who’d want to see this movie, but you have to be 17 or older to get into an R-rated movie without your parents,” he said. “This is not the kind of movie parents are going to feel comfortable taking their kids to, and it’s not the kind of movie kids would want to go with their parents to see.”
Dergarabedian notes that the studio will likely make a lot of its money back when it releases an uncut version of The Real Cancun on DVD. The pic, by the creators of the hit MTV reality series The Real World and Road Rules, cost New Line just under $8 million to produce.