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‘The Cabin in the Woods’ Proved That Delayed Releases Aren’t Always a Bad Thing

Cabin in the Woods

Release date delays happen all the time, and they are usually associated with films that are not exactly the best the genre has to offer. Films like The Green InfernoHansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersThe Wolfman and this year’s absolutely atrocious The Bye Bye Man are all recent(ish) examples of subpar horror films that suffered some rather lengthy delays. So often this happens that whenever a film is pushed back audiences tent to automatically assume that it will be terrible. That is not always the case though. The Cabin in the Woods, which will be celebrating its five-year anniversary today, was pushed back two years after its originally scheduled release date to critical acclaim. 

The Cabin in the Woods got its start in a hotel room where Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard locked themselves up for three days. They wrote one act of the film each day, and turned in their draft later that week. With the film, Whedon and Goddard aimed to resuscitate the slasher genre which they thought had devolved into a quagmire of torture porn. Production on The Cabin in the Woods started on March 9, 2009, seven months before Saw VI came out, making it a rather timely commentary on the genre. Unfortunately, the film wouldn’t see a release until two years after the Saw franchise temporarily concluded in 2010 with Saw: The Final Chapter. This made the commentary that Whedon and Goddard injected in the film a little late to the party, but it still made for an effective film.

Why did it take so long for The Cabin in the Woods to see a release? It certainly wasn’t because it was a bad movie. No, the real reason is a boring one: financial difficulties. Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and United Artists scheduled the film for release on February 5, 2010, but the first delay came when MGM announced that the film would be converted into 3D. They then announced a release date of January 14, 2011. As if that news weren’t bad enough (the 3D post-conversion more so than the delay), audience patience was tested once again on June 17 of that same year when MGM announced that The Cabin in the Woods was delayed indefinitely due to the plethora of financial troubles that they were having.

News on the film was silent for months. Remember when the only image we had scene of the film was the one shown above? I swear I had seen that still a hundred times before the movie actually came out. It wasn’t until ten months later on April 28, 2011 that a distribution sale to Lionsgate was announced. This was a rather ironic announcement, considering that Lionsgate released all of the torture porn films that The Cabin in the Woods was trying to send up. The deal was sealed on July 20th and Lionsgate purchased the distribution rights for the film, eventually scheduling it for release on April 13, 2012.

One has to wonder why Lionsgate didn’t go after a Halloween 2011 release. The only horror movies released that month were Paranormal Activity 4 and Silent Hill: Revelation, but Lionsgate probably thought Paranormal Activity 4 would pose more of a threat to their new film’s box office chances (who could have known it would turn out to be the second-worst entry in that franchise?). The Cabin in the Woods finally saw a release the following April where it grossed $14.7 million it’s opening weekend, landing in the #3 spot behind The Three Stooges (oof) and The Hunger Games, which landed in the #1 spot in its fourth week of release. While not a huge commercial success (it grossed $42 million domestically on a $30 million budget), it was an enormous critical success, earning a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 72 on MetaCritic, making it the best-reviewed mainstream horror film of 2012.

The film has its detractors now (what hugely popular film doesn’t?), but the consensus is that it’s one of the best horror films of the decade. That just goes to show you that delays aren’t always a bad thing, at least not when they’re related to a studio’s financial difficulties, though Red Dawn didn’t fare nearly as well critically or commercially as The Cabin in the Woods. What are your thoughts on the movie? Do you love it? Or are you in the camp that thinks its overrated? Give it a re-watch (or a first-time watch) today on its fifth anniversary and let us know what you think in the comments below!



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COMMENTS

60 Comments
  • ScriptGiverrrr

    Fun film, not genre changing in the least or even close to being up there with the classics. But fun on the first watch for sure!

  • jv

    did not like this movie way overrated and I am an old school fan.

  • Brett

    I simply can’t accept this as a horror film. To me, it is nearly a parody of a horror film. It is not scary for anyone who’s even seen an Evil Dead movie. It is at times clever and funny. But I feel like the early reveal of what was at work beneath the service removed all horror elements.

    • Nicolas Caiveau

      It is clearly a parody, it plays with many clichés of the genre.

      • Brett

        Agreed. That’s why I wince when it gets deemed a horror movie.

  • Creepshow

    Cabin in the Woods was such an original, refreshing film. It made you feel like every horror character EVER, really existed. I wish we had more gonzo original films like this.

    • ky

      I thought ‘The Final Girls’ was right up the same alley. Both were highly original yet used classic horror cliches as their catalysts. Loved them both!

      • Creepshow

        I haven’t seen The Final Girls. I think the turn-off for me was the PG-13 rating. Yes, I do watch some PG-13 horror movies, but something about that one didn’t grab my interest.

        • Michael Hill

          its another horribly over rated yawn fest for the MTV watchers.

          • Creepshow

            That’s kinda the stench that I was getting from it.

          • Simon Allen

            It is self conscious poop .

          • Creepshow

            Well then it’s official. I won’t check it out. The only poop I can tolerate is my own. And sometimes even that is difficult to sit through.

        • david

          Don’t waste your time watching it. I hated Cabin In The Woods, but at least that movie had tons of gore and some titties. The Final Girls has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

          • Munchie

            Hey David, did you like Cabin in the Woods or not? I can’t tell from your seven or so comments in this thread where you repeat yourself.

        • Grimphantom

          Was it PG-13? I really don’t remember. Anyway You should give the movie a try, it’s both mocking and giving an homage to the 80’s slasher movies.

          • Creepshow

            If I stumble across it one day, maybe I’ll give it a whirl.

        • Michael Blackney

          I loved The Final Girls and surprised how heartfelt it was. But yes it would’ve been considerably better if it had an R rating.

  • Vinícius D’Luca

    Cabin In The Woods is an amazing film. A lot of fun easter eggs for horror movies fans. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard FTW!

  • Michael Hill

    what could’ve been a good film was a major letdown. And what a silly ending. One of those films that was heralded as the next big thing, and ultimately did not deliver.

    • david

      I agree with you 100% Michael. It was supposed to be a horror comedy, but I didn’t find it funny or scary. It was basically a rated R episode of Scooby Doo, but without Scooby. Not only did I really not like the movie at all, but the stupid ending was a complete slap in the face. The movie was a complete waste of 1 hour and 4 minutes of my life.

  • J Jett

    i loved every thing about this movie. the over the top ending was perfect. one of the best scenes ever is when the elevator doors open and all the monsters/creatures explode out of them attacking everyone (as well as the subsequent scene showing the aftermath where it’s just blood/guts/carnage).

  • One of the few horror movies where the ideas in the movie outshine the violent/gore!

  • JohnnyVoorhees

    Still my favorite movie of all time <3

  • Banach007

    Neat that audiences “tent” to do anything. Pure camp (if I may allow myself a pun).

  • Alanmac

    LOVED this movie!!! Gonna rewatch it again tonight!

  • Bryano

    I really enjoyed it. Saw it in theatres, thought it was cheesy at first but it was a lot of fun and really paid off.

  • Harley Mitchel Dirk

    A damn fun satirical horror romp. I have a great time with this film.

  • Blade4693

    I really like it and would love to see a spin off that shows some of the other countries and people who were tricked/lured into being part of the rituals.

    • Mark B

      Me too. The possibilities for sequels were pretty much endless. I think it would be ineresting if there was a video game based on this property too.

  • Mike Messina

    Great stupid non-thinking horror sci-fi movie and I loved every second of it……..The stoner guy and his travel bong were the best

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    crap movie that think is too smart when is not

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      also, whedon sucks

    • Frank Gambino

      yup.

    • david

      Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Creepshow

        Give yourself some credit. I think you could have said it (at least) a little better.

      • RKSDooM

        You couldn’t have said it better than “crap movie that think is too smart when is not”?

        That’s troubling.

    • Glitchiee Glitch

      coming from someone that cant type “crap movie that thinks it is too smart when it is not”

      • Nahuel Benvenuto

        english is not my first language, sorry, is an entertainning movie, but is not even horror, and is not clever

        • Glitchiee Glitch

          it was incredibly clever they found a way to pay homage to many great horror movies and even explain how/why most acts of horror would occur in the world at the same time while making it fun and interesting

  • Kaid Smith

    Witch Hunters was not subpar. That movie was gory fun.

  • Frank Gambino

    this is EASILY the most overrated movie in the last ten years. It was average at best.

    • david

      You’re wrong Frank. The movie was much worse. It sucked.

    • Glitchiee Glitch

      yall are fucking crazy this movie was fantastic franz kranz killed it .. the acting was great by EVERYONE the story was super good it was funny and interesting ! not scary but thats ok it had everything going for it.

    • markajacoby

      For the love of god thank you! I was starting to feel like I was the only one who couldn’t stand this movie. I will NEVER understand the love this film receives. Terrible ending with terrible acting and a cheesy storyline does not make a great movie.

      • Horrormikfl

        Agreed. Wanted to like it of course, but I loathe it. I’m over the whole META thing whether they are being reverent or sacrilegious. Just give me pure horror.

      • Chris Genth

        Amen brother, I’m with u

    • Chris Genth

      I agree, I think we are the few who feel this way. I honestly didn’t care for it at all

  • DBZEROGRAVITY

    still one of my favorites

  • REC03

    Amazing ass movie.

  • Glitchiee Glitch

    this is one of the last movies that really truly made me happy to be a horror fan…. i went in not knowing what it was with ZERO expectations and it blew me away.. i loved every single second of it and really wish more movies were this good

  • Colonel Ives

    I watched this after a coworker had recommended it to me. The only thing I knew was the title, college kids, and it was in the horror genre so I had a couple doubts and hopes at the same time. Even though the ending blew ASS I still consider this a classic. I rewatch it every now and then and I even have the coffee table book 🙂

  • umaneo

    This movie was great, I only hate that Fran Kranz will probably never get to be Shaggy in Scooby Doo.

  • James

    Truly an amazing horror movie film.

  • David Oliver

    Seeing a lot of love for the stoner but he probably annoyed me the most of the cast really. Wish the whore had been the final girl too that would have been cool.

  • Timothy KingCraze Richardson J

    Cabin In The Woods was brilliant… The idea behind it was amazing… It has it all, even had every movie monster/ creature you can name it… Haters of this movie have to be Twilight movie fans for sure…

  • Michael Blackney

    I recently re-watched this for the first time in years, I liked it even more than in 2012.
    (spoliers)
    The ending inspired a debate between my wife, she argued that Dana was right to spare Marty while I argued it was selfish of her to do so.
    My only real complaint is the Sigourney Weaver cameo, what was the point in that?

  • Chris Genth

    Lol, I couldn’t agree more

  • Nick S.

    In every way, this is like a modern mainstream comic-book action film in
    its shallow meta-humor, over complicated plot, and simplexes in
    storytelling. Thus, in every way, it’s what is normally wrong in modern film making. Yet, much akin to the occasional comic book film, it’s
    entertaining enough one can look past the horror film clichés that it
    makes fun of without reworking and just have a good time. Grade: 6.5/10 or a B-
    * With that said: The Final Girls (2015) is more more shot of whiskey, since it actually has emotion and story, unlike Cabin in the Woods. It’s even my best horror film of 2015, while the Grindhouse/Exploitation film Father’s Day (2011) and The Editor (2014) are much better than Cabin in the Woods, since they are parodies, while Cabin in the Woods is a purely-entertaining farce (the lowest form of comedy) for most of its runtime.

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