Whoever made the decision at New Line Cinema not to screen Snakes on a Plane for critics is probably regretting it right now. The movie received a surprising number of positive reviews from big-name critics who gave the film a pass. I wasn't one of them - SoaP just isn't bad enough to qualify as fun - but the lenient reviews might have lured more people to the theater.
Judging by the film's disappointing opening weekend gross ($13.8 million), only the hardcore Internet crowd turned out to watch Samuel L. Jackson wrangle with serpents at 20,000 feet. That's enough to guarantee the movie a cult following, and it's an excellent number for what is an inexpensive exploitation flick. But Snakes on a Plane's legacy as a pop culture event will be limited to its title and the online furor it created, instead of the movie itself.