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Summer Box Office Recap Tells The Sordid Tale...

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 2, 2011 1:06 AM
2 Comments
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So... in light of the podcast we just aired, if you wonder why studios are more sequel/prequel/remake/reboot happy these days than ever, just check the below stats.

Of the top 10 highest grossing films so far this year, 7 of them are "follow-up" films. Of the remaining 3, only 1 of them is what I'd call an *original* standalone effort. The other 2 are comic book adaptations; 1 could be called a reboot, because there was a Captain America movie before this year's release. Previous Thor movie projects have all been anime.

So, once again with feeling... 7 of the top grossing films released in theaters so far this year are all parts of an existing franchise; 2 are adaptations of immensely popular comic books, leaving 1 film based on an *original* idea.

And these are just domestic numbers. For all the trashing critics poured on Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the movie has made almost $350 million thus far - and that's just in the USA alone! Throw in foreign box office, and it's grossed over $1.1 billion, on a $195 million budget, which doesn't include marketing/P&A costs of course. But still... the point is that folks are flocking to these movies, and some of are seeing them more than once, maybe even thrice.

These figures don't include home video/VOD sales/rentals either.

Of course the cheapest film on the list - the film with the lowest reported budget is the film based on the *original* idea - Bridesmaids. And of the 10, half of them were well-received critically.

The numbers tell the tale... well not entirely; but, if you're a studio exec and you're tasked with financing projects that are most likely to attract audiences widely, and generate huge revenue, and hopefully profit, or else, what would you do? For the record I've only see 3 of these films.

And yes, I know it's not all about box office... or at least it shouldn't be. Alas...


1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $371,844,889
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $349,684,855
3 The Hangover Part II $254,325,595
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $240,461,924
5 Fast Five $209,837,675
6 Cars 2 $187,360,986
7 Thor $181,030,624
8 Captain America: The First Avenger $169,480,129
9 Bridesmaids $168,145,330
10 Kung Fu Panda 2 $164,342,319

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2 Comments

  • ojie king | September 2, 2011 10:03 AMReply

    Well, I have seen 7 out of the above film.

    Firstly, it is not "Show- Art" it is "Show- Business" and the aim of the managers of the firm ( in the case the managers are the studio execs) is to maximise the wealth of the shareholders and the wealth of the shareholders. To be honest, i think the problem some filmmakers have is that they fail to make their films commercially appealing, they get caught up in the art and forget that the success of a film is based on the amount of people who paid to go and see it. Now, the main issue with blockbusters is that, its the summer, nice weather, everyone looks sexy, you dont want to go to some movie with a big subject matter or biopic or something too serious, you want to see some cool stunts, watch shit get blown up, laugh till you face hurts (that happened to me in bridesmaids). Thats why these films make the money because they fulfil this purpose and it just so happens that the masses are willing to pay for this.

  • James Madison | September 2, 2011 4:09 AMReply

    The thing about these films is that they have the money to market themselves continuously. The information is force fed similar to what is found in tabloid news.

    Also they dominate screens and screen time.

    I wonder how different things would be if films like 13 Assassins, Viva Riva and Restless City amongst others would have faired if they had a marketing push and more theaters.

    13 Assassins, although not directed by a person of African descent, but a person of color none the less, was a really good film. It did have a good budget, although not as much as what is listed above, but what set it apart was a good story and a climatic battle, that did not rely on how big of an explosion one could make but strategy.

    What is missing in films is heart and grandeur. Heart and grandeur in story, directing, pacing, effects and acting. Passion.

    Anyone can do a movie with shock value. That is what a lot of today's mainstream movies seem to me.

    It's the same as if someone were to pick up a bucket of paint and splash it on a canvas. It's going to catch some art buyers attention. The subject will be many different things to whomever view it. But can you pick up a brush like Michangelo and communicate a visual like the Sistine Chapel?

    Paint a picture and Illustrate your idea and communicate your vision without a crutch of being an existing property, like a sequel etc.?

    Can you tell a story that has heart? No matter if it is a biopic or an all ages fantasy film?

    At some point, and I understand the need to make a profit, but the "art" of the movie the passion is what makes it endearing. Timeless.

    Disney can still show it's early animation in theaters and make money as well on those films being released for home video. It is not disposable and can still be treated as an event.

    Grandeur. We need to get back to it.

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