There’s a real tragedy in “Renfield” performing as poorly as it did, as this was Cage’s first studio film since “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” which led him through his rather difficult decade or so. doing directly to video schlock (with some fantastic exceptions). However, after acclaimed performances in movies like “Pig,” the tide began to turn and he got the chance to chew up the set as Dracula in a big-budget movie. While Cage’s performance has been widely acclaimed, the film itself has not. Unfortunately, we’re a long way from Cage being a big draw at the box office on his own, capable of ruling an entire summer as he did in 1997 with “Face/Off” and “Con Air” back-to-back.
“Renfield” currently sits at 59 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with a slightly better audience score of 81 percent. It also got a B-Cinemascore, which suggests word of mouth is going to be pretty bad on this one. Especially since horror fans have “Evil Dead Rise” to look forward to this coming weekend. So overall, it seems like the tone of looking at Dracula’s longtime assistant in the modern world against a backdrop of action may not have been the right move. In short, straight horror is a much easier sell.
Beyond that, horror comedies have always been a hard sell, with “Ghostbusters” serving more as the exception rather than the rule in this arena. With that being the case, spending $65 million on this movie, almost the budget of “It Chapter Two,” seems ill-advised at best. At worst, it was pure buffoonery. Horror often works due to the relatively low risk associated with lower budgets. At that price, generally profitable rules of terror go out the window.