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Freya Black

A future of Box Office Bombs?

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Well Pacific Rim did really badly at the box office, as did "The Lone Ranger":

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/box-office-failures-blockbuster-model-doubt-article-1.1403987

 

I'm not really that surprised about the Lone Ranger. I thought it could have a chance in a "Pirates of the..." type fashion but I'm not sure Pirates... would be in with much of a chance at the box office these days anyway*. There's just so much stuff coming out. It looks like it's getting worse too:

 

 

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/07/21/now-with-added-batman-superman-heres-a-crazy-list-of-2015s-tentpole-and-franchise-films/

 

(I note that list includes "Independence Day 2: Now we've really pi**** them off" for those who are fans of the original.)

 

Of course I guess it depends on how they all get scheduled but it looks like it's going to be hard to not have some overlap. Maybe these will all be must see movies tho and people will go and see them all? I've long been taken by the people who HAD to go to see Transformers 3, even tho it got bad reviews and they were underwhelmed with the previous two. Pacific Rim on the other hand, which also features Giant Robots, sounds a bit more interesting and has Del Torro at the helm, is not a draw it would seem.

 

It looks like Spielberg and co, could be right and we are going to hit box office carnage sooner or later tho.

 

Freya

 

*Not that I imagine Disney are too worried in their present position what with a new Star Wars movie on the way and a new Avengers movie etc.

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I agree that Disney is in pretty good shape with the rights to Star Wars, whether we see a collapse of the blockbuster or not.

 

I think the problem with the Lone Ranger was less that nobody wanted the subject matter and more simply that it was a very bad movie.

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It's sad that Pacific Rim failed but creatively it worked (for me). This year is just far too crowded with the studios thinking every movie needs to be a blockbuster. Big mistake.

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I feel sort of sad about Pacific Rim, because while it's just a Giant Robot vs Godzilla's type movie with oodles of CGI, it seems like it was probably one of the better CGI fests and I just feel bad for Del Torro that he made a Giant Robot movie and couldn't get that to fly. Maybe it will pick up enough to slide by from International markets.

 

Seems popular with those who have seen it too.

 

My fave work by him is still Pans Labyrinth so hopefully he will return to something closer to that territory for this next movie.

 

You would have thought giant robots would be a giant seller but I guess "nobody knows anything".

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black

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It's sad that Pacific Rim failed but creatively it worked (for me). This year is just far too crowded with the studios thinking every movie needs to be a blockbuster. Big mistake.

 

Well 2015 is already looking far, far worse if you follow the second link.

 

I agree that I think there needs to be more of a mix, and some of the films that have been doing better just lately are the lower budget ones ironically. I think the trouble is that there are a number of studios who all have their blockbusters that they want to get out there and pull in the big money, with them all competing for the same seats it's going to be hard for them to think in a more balanced way.

 

A lot of things in the world are getting really out of balance at the moment.

 

Freya

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They will keep coming because the fees collected by the actors, producers, and directors, are enormous. Once a big budget movie bombs do you think the creative team really cares? They can earn fees high enough from one 200 million dollar movie to not have to work for a very long time.

 

The ROI on many smaller films by contrast has been quite incredible. James Wan's work has yielded incredible returns and he's working with much smaller budgets by comparison.

 

R,

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The ROI on many smaller films by contrast has been quite incredible. James Wan's work has yielded incredible returns and he's working with much smaller budgets by comparison.

 

 

Funny enough, exactly who was at the back of my mind when writing about lower budget movies doing better earlier!

 

His new film "The Conjuring" seems to be getting off to a flying start having already made back double its budget on the opening weekend where I think it's also happens to be the top film at the moment too? Made for a tenth of what Pacific Rim was made for and has made more money in it's opening weekend than the effects fest did.

 

Freya

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They will keep coming because the fees collected by the actors, producers, and directors, are enormous. Once a big budget movie bombs do you think the creative team really cares? They can earn fees high enough from one 200 million dollar movie to not have to work for a very long time.

 

Thanks for putting things in perspective Richard. I'm sure Del Torro is just fine, and has cashed a big cheque and I don't need to worry about him! ;) lol!

 

OTOH It does feel a bit like he made a giant robot movie and couldn't even make that fly! Still he had final cut so he at least made the movie he wanted to and people like it which means it's only a failure in the economic sense I guess.

 

I also feel like theres a bit of an injustice about it in a weird way. I can't feel sorry for Disney for spending $200 million on a cowboy movie, or even John Carter of Mars for that Matter! I mean I honestly wouldn't expect such movies to do well. (What were they thinking?!!) Then again I wouldn't have thought a movie based off a theme park ride was a great idea either! On the other hand, a movie with giant CGI robots seems like an obvious win. It's probably a good thing that it has also bombed tho, otherwise we would really get flooded with giant robot movies.

 

Anyway, again I thank you for putting things in their proper perspective Richard!

 

Freya

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Other lower budget movies that did well are Limitless and Source Code.

 

I have a special love for the first of the two "First thoughts...Torch the place..." but Source Code is also a neat little movie.

 

Freya

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I feel sort of sad about Pacific Rim, because while it's just a Giant Robot vs Godzilla's type movie with oodles of CGI, it seems like it was probably one of the better CGI fests and I just feel bad for Del Torro that he made a Giant Robot movie and couldn't get that to fly.

 

I don't feel bad for any filmmaker that just got paid millions of dollars to make a movie regardless of whether it's good or not. I personally really liked it! And I'm a huge del Toro fan.

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Thanks for putting things in perspective Richard. I'm sure Del Torro is just fine, and has cashed a big cheque and I don't need to worry about him! ;) lol!

 

OTOH It does feel a bit like he made a giant robot movie and couldn't even make that fly! Still he had final cut so he at least made the movie he wanted to and people like it which means it's only a failure in the economic sense I guess.

 

I also feel like theres a bit of an injustice about it in a weird way. I can't feel sorry for Disney for spending $200 million on a cowboy movie, or even John Carter of Mars for that Matter! I mean I honestly wouldn't expect such movies to do well. (What were they thinking?!!) Then again I wouldn't have thought a movie based off a theme park ride was a great idea either! On the other hand, a movie with giant CGI robots seems like an obvious win. It's probably a good thing that it has also bombed tho, otherwise we would really get flooded with giant robot movies.

 

Anyway, again I thank you for putting things in their proper perspective Richard!

 

Freya

 

They were thinking they had a built in audience to get a return back on the investment, and that if they took some classic prperties and dressed them up with lots of modern and stunning CGI, that people would flock with their families to the movie houses.

 

John Carter, though, doesn't have a built in audience. A lot of sci-fi geeks like myself knew about Burrough's works, but if you read the books themselves they're pretty thread bare material, and remain on bookstore shelves because they're considered "classics", not because they sell well. In short, and it's just my opinion, I think someone dropped the ball on the market research for John Carter. Ditto with the Lone Ranger, assuming the returns on that film are accurate.

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Ah....I didn't say, "recession."

 

R,

 

It's implied. Or, you meant something worse.

 

Either way the economy is more robust now than ever. Tens of thousands of new jobs here in the bay area alone, and that's just in the professional sector, that doesn't include the even more tens of thousands of McJobs in EACH county.

 

Thanks.

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Here's the twisted little secret, NO MOVIE that gets distribution ever LOOSES money. The just don't get the return on investment they expected. I know, we did the research

 

Oh really? What research team were you on for what movie?

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Several actually. I could make up a list but why don't you do the research yourself. Start with www.the-numbers.com . EVENTUALLY EVERY movie makes it's money back over the 20 year earning period. Believe it or don't but that's why studios can spend two HUNDRED MILLION dollars on a single project and come out smelling like a rose every time.

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Hey, I used to be an avid reader of Variety when I had money, and routinely looked at the reviews and read the projections. But I'm just curious what films you worked on.

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Yeah, me too and still am. I also read, virtually daily, The Hollywood Reporter. The Wrap and Deadline/Hollywood (if you're still broke, you can always read them online, just FYI) along with several other articles and informational resorces in addition to watching videos on everything film from the making of to the business behind. I actually just read an aritcle earlier this evening in in The Hollywood Reporter about how low budget horror is out pacing the megabuck tentpoles at the box office during this summer season and how the tentpole business model can't change for at least .

 

Currently I'm working on getting three films I wrote and will be directing and producing with a well known production company that has a long track record, put together. That's coming along nicely but of course, slower than I'd like it too. Prior to that, I have done work as a cinematographer, best boy lighting, grip, cameraman, even was the motorhome guy for a national commercial shoot at Monahans Sandhills State Park which doubled at the Arabian Desert, in addition to being an actor,dancer (including being in two dance companies and getting scholarships in both jazz and ballet) playwrite,musician (guitarist ad singer) makeup artist (stage), costumer and well as a prop builder (also stage).

 

Most of my directing work for film and video has been either in comercials, industrial video, filmed treatrical performances and instructional videos though I have directed shorts and recently completed a teaser for one of the project a couple of months ago. Most of my crew work was done for either televisiion or Mexican features shot in Jaurez or on this side of the border or both and a few high end training films for Ft. Bliss one of which that was directed by Carl Weathers which was kinda cool. The key grip I worked under had a LOT of experience and I learned a lot which served me well as a director. As a matter of fact, he actually took the time to complement me on my directing skills which, considering his tight lipped manor, was a pleasent suprise.

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There have only been two websites I've gone to for movie reviews: Roger Ebert's website, and Spill.com. And On Spill.com's daily podcast, "The Daily Spill", the host and founder of the website, Korey Coleman, talked about how a lot of films at this time of year are "canabalizing" each other because a lot of them are being released on the same week or day and don't give each other enough room. And he suggested that more films like Pacific Rim that have niche audiences try to aim for releases somewhere else in the year like January.

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Here's the twisted little secret, NO MOVIE that gets distribution ever LOOSES money. The just don't get the return on investment they expected. I know, we did the research

 

Heh heh! I wondered about this. It's something Alex Cox has written about this a lot in the past in the context of Repo Man.

 

The big thing I wonder in that context is whether if enough films bomb, will it become a problem for the companies in question to keep hidden profits hidden. Probably it wouldn't be an issue for them but I think it's an interesting possibility.

 

The other problem in that context is whether the companies would be able to restructure fast enough to cope with sudden change (such as a load of box office bombs) A bit like when people have high incomes and get used to a certain lifestyle and have a sudden drop in income.

 

Also there are a number of large companies with a lot of debt. Lionsgate springs to mind although they seem to be doing a good job of addressing it. MGM are really in a VERY bad way.

 

Freya

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There have only been two websites I've gone to for movie reviews: Roger Ebert's website, and Spill.com. And On Spill.com's daily podcast, "The Daily Spill", the host and founder of the website, Korey Coleman, talked about how a lot of films at this time of year are "canabalizing" each other because a lot of them are being released on the same week or day and don't give each other enough room. And he suggested that more films like Pacific Rim that have niche audiences try to aim for releases somewhere else in the year like January.

 

YES! I think it's hard for companies to timetable tho as they won't know what other companies are releasing things when till maybe the last minute but I think you are right that if they were prepared to spread things about a bit they would find that there would be less of this, but then they all want to have the mega hit and maximise the earnings.

 

Pacific Rim might be a bit of a more unusual case tho. I see more and more movies like John Carter, The Lone Ranger and R.I.P.D. (The latter which seems to be going down like a lead balloon) which are both expensive, and are critically panned, and aren't connecting with the potential audience at any level. I think it wouldn't matter where you stuck those movies, they would probably bomb anyway.

 

2015 is going to be really interesting tho because there are a lot of established franchises all hitting at the same time.

 

Freya

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YES! I think it's hard for companies to timetable tho as they won't know what other companies are releasing things when till maybe the last minute but I think you are right that if they were prepared to spread things about a bit they would find that there would be less of this, but then they all want to have the mega hit and maximise the earnings.

 

Pacific Rim might be a bit of a more unusual case tho. I see more and more movies like John Carter, The Lone Ranger and R.I.P.D. (The latter which seems to be going down like a lead balloon) which are both expensive, and are critically panned, and aren't connecting with the potential audience at any level. I think it wouldn't matter where you stuck those movies, they would probably bomb anyway.

 

2015 is going to be really interesting tho because there are a lot of established franchises all hitting at the same time.

 

Freya

But not many people, as in the general audience, read reviews. Most of Michael Bays films are a great example. So if The Lone Ranger or R.I.P.D. were released, say October, they would've probably done better at the box office.

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Where do you guys draw the line at calling a film a 'bomb'? How much more must it make then its production budget?

 

Pacific Rim was #1 internationally and has already made over $180 million - surely it will make it's money back and then some in the end?

 

If you look at box office mojo's list of recent sci fi flops they all made their budget back and more.

 

Do international returns not count?

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