Glee: The 3D Concert Movie is an unmitigated flop, having opened in sixth place on Friday before disappearing from the Top 10 completely by Saturday. (Its final tally by weekend’s end was an embarrassing $5.7 million, though a small production budget of $10 million means the film could wind up in the black.) Whether this points toward a cooling-off of the pop culture juggernaut known as Glee, however, is another matter altogether. One glance at the TV series’ season finale numbers—which drew a phenomenal 4.8 rating in the adult 18-49 demo—makes it obvious that the appetite for Leah Michele's flip-top head is clearly there.
So what went wrong? Was it bad word of mouth? The film got a CinemaScore of A+ from the mostly non-discriminating audiences who actually showed up. But the movie, which I have not seen, apparently spends a good deal of time focusing on three unknown Gleeks—a “dwarf high school cheerleader,” a misunderstood gay boy, and a girl with Asperger’s syndrome—which sounds more like the setup for a bad joke than a narrative focus for the concert movie of a lifetime. Meanwhile, the show’s stars became loosely drawn ciphers, there to stand and perform for us like exhausted organ grinder monkeys. (And based on how power-mad series dictator Ryan Murphy treated them in the media in recent months, that makes sense.)
What Fox might have forgotten in all this, however, is that the pubescent gleekyboppers who would spend $21 on a ticket for a 3D Glee movie aren't the only demo in the TV show's audience. Many adults watch Glee, and as such were perfectly aware of the humiliating implications of running into an ex-boyfriend, co-worker, or frat brother at the local movieplex as they walked into a theater screening their dirty little secret. So take comfort, Fox—there's gold in them there video on-demand and home-video revenue streams. Never underestimate the profitability in shame.