After a pretty disappointing opening weekend, the cult comic movie — which was hyped as the next Big Cultural Thing — is struggling to avoid a second-weekend box office collapse. So they've begun to beg.

It'll take some sorting through to figure out exactly what went wrong with Watchmen, but we suspect it was a case of a tower being built too tall and collapsing in on itself. Not that many people were Watchmen fans, but the economy-plagued country needed something big and flashy and money-making to wave around as a symbol that we can still carry on and some of us can still get rich. A few months ago that movie was Twilight, which performed as hoped. But that was a wayyy smaller movie, and the books were read by millions of people, just recently. Watchmen is 25 years old and is far more niche than chaste vampire love teen novels. To pin the coming blockbuster season's early hopes on that top-heavy of a movie was reckless optimism.

One of the film's screenwriters, David Hayter, has sent an open letter to the science fiction/superhero/furtively masturbating to a well-worn photo of Deana Troi fan community, pleading with them to come and see the movie a second (or third! or fourth! or infinity!) time, because if this movie doesn't do a strong second weekend, then no movie like it will ever be made again. It's all or nothing:

If the film made you think. Or argue with your friends. If it inspired a debate about the nature of man, or vigilante justice, or the horror of Nixon abolishing term limits. If you laughed at Bowie hanging with Adrian at Studio 54, or the Silhouette kissing that nurse.

Please go see the movie again next weekend.

You have to understand, everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week. If you care about movies that have a brain, or balls, (and this film's got both, literally), or true adaptations — And if you're thinking of seeing it again anyway, please go back this weekend, Friday or Saturday night. Demonstrate the power of the fans, because it'll help let the people who pay for these movies know what we'd like to see. Because if it drops off the radar after the first weekend, they will never allow a film like this to be made again.

So, oh dear, that is sad! You owe it to all of comic books and superheroes and kickass movies, everyone! Trouble is, the pervading speculation is that pretty much everyone who wanted to see the movie already has, and that its bouquet of bad reviews won't encourage the timid or uninitiated to take a chance an unknown kid.

In the end I guess the question is, do you owe the filmmakers, dear nerds? They slavishly adapted this heady, impenetrable graphic novel just for you, enraging a crazy bearded man in the process, and all you can muster for them is $92 million dollars worldwide to date? For shame. They spent some 200 clams just serving the damn thing to you on a real-life vintage platter from alternate history 1985. So, c'mon. Do these millionaires a favor. Pony up the $11 a few more times, and let these nice, innocent Hollywood people creak on with their little cottage industry for another day.