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Weekend B.O. June 27-29 ("What is Wrong With People?")

Box Office
by Sergio
June 29, 2014 12:19 PM
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Transformers 4

To be honest, I’m not sure if the image above really is from "Transformers 4: Age of Extinction." I just took the first image I could find. I mean, it doesn’t really matter does it? Aren’t all those Transformers films exactly alike? Just a bunch of cartoonish giant robots, smashing against each other, and destroying cities with thousands of deaths and causalities that no one seems to notice or mention.

Except this new one is longer, clocking in at just under 3 hours, and impossibly even louder, relentless and frantic than any of the previous films in the franchise. It’s so tirelessly hectic, busy and mind numbing that your eyes and ears will bleed, as it practically sends you to the insane asylum. They all make a ton of money, but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Who likes these films except for 8 year old boys off their Ritalin? Or, as a friend said to me yesterday when I told him that "Extinction" was heading for a $100 million opening: “What is wrong with people?”

And the sad thing is that, if you like action movies, there’s a really great one that also opened Friday with no fanfare - "Snowpiercer" by Korean director Bong Joon-ho ("The Host," "Mother"). If you haven’t heard of it, it’s not your fault. The Weinstein Company barely released it anywhere (it's on only 8 screens so far) and basically buried it when they gave in to the director’s demand to release his original 126-minute cut, instead of their butchered version, which was 20 minutes shorter.

And if you’re in the mood for some really, over the top, brutal, relentless action, there’s" The Raid 2: Redemption," which has some of the most jaw-dropping action sequences ever, and without the use of CGI. It came out earlier this year, but not many people saw.

But "Transformers" baffles me. Everybody complains, and rightly so, that Michael Bay is terrible director, but he’s laughing all the way to the bank. So what's the deal with these films? And don’t tell me it's because you grew up with them as a kid. It can’t be that simple.

But now that I got that off my chest (and feel free to rant) yes, "Transformers 4: Age of Extinction" had the biggest opening so far this year for any film, with $100 million (add another $80 million from overseas box office, to date). But other films have opened up to much bigger weekend numbers, such as "The Avengers," "Iron Man 3," "The Hunger Game" movies, and "Harry Potter," among many others. And the fact that "Transformers" is the largest opening of the year is a clear indication of what many box office analysts have been saying: That overall, 2014 is shaping up to be a huge disappointment, in terms of box office, domestically, compared to previous years.

Last week’s No.1 film, "Think Like A Man Too," dropped 64% to 4th place with $10.4 million, meaning that the film has no chance of coming close to the previous $92 million take of the first TLAM.

And just to show you how much I know, I told someone a few months ago that I thought "Maleficent" would be the box office bomb of the summer. At almost $202 million domestically, it looks like I was just slightly off target.

1) Transformers: Age of Extinction Par. $100,000,000 
2) 22 Jump Street Sony $15,400,000 Total: $139,837,000 
3) How to Train Your Dragon 2 Fox $13,100,000  Total:$121,815,000 
4) Think Like a Man Too SGem $10,400,000 Total: $48,168,000 
5) Maleficent BV $8,237,000 -Total: $201,871,000 
6) Jersey Boys WB $7,610,000 Total: $27,342,000 
7) Edge of Tomorrow WB $5,210,000 Total: $84,155,000 
8) The Fault in our Stars Fox $4,800,000 Total: $109,545,000 
9) X-Men: Days of Future Past Fox $3,300,000 Total: $223,393,000 
10) Chef ORF $1,654,000  Total: $19,410,000 
11) Godzilla  WB $1,000,000  Total: $197,085,000 
12) Neighbors Uni. $740,000 Total: $147,195,000
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  • cjs3193 | July 5, 2014 1:05 AMReply

    Actually, I thought this was the only decent transformers movie out of the bunch. This one didn't have the crude jokes that the first few had, nor did the have the awful Shia. Yeah, it was too long, but much better with better actors.

  • Starky Greaves | July 2, 2014 11:52 AMReply

    robots fights, hot girl ,blatant jokes , pyro explosions satisfies kids and people who has low maturity on understanding issues and senseless attractions, make this poor cgi flick a blockbuster. nowadays wonder they even get boners watching virtually anything on screen..

  • Averux | July 2, 2014 9:12 AMReply

    Ranting about how bad a movie is by critic who obviously hasn't seen the movie cliche. If they had seen it they would have known that the humans tired of being killed by the robots and seeing their cities get destroyed is crucial to the plot. There are plenty of things wrong with AOE but please at least know what you are talking about before you start attacking something.

  • batmankevin | July 1, 2014 6:31 PMReply

    the movie was great and fun.

  • sergio | July 5, 2014 6:19 PM

    If you're 12 then of course there's no problem but if you're an adult, which I assume you are, then it's MAJOR problem and do you have other dates other than your hand?

  • Garrett | July 4, 2014 2:08 AM

    Sergio your an asshole. There's nothing wrong with Star Wars or collectibles. (Accidently clicked the wrong reply)

  • Sergio | July 1, 2014 6:46 PM

    Very mature. How old are you? I would say about 36 years old (and still a virgin, though your hand gets a workout) going on 12 and still living in your parent's basement surrounded by your unopened Star Wars collectibles

  • that Nigga | July 1, 2014 3:35 PMReply

    Great so you cab only post on this blog if your being a little bitch about a movie

  • IGBO | July 1, 2014 1:31 AMReply

    @SERGIO I feel your frustration. I for one did not support "Transformers" this weekend and don't plan to see it anytime soon. However, what I don't understand is your comment about the release of "Snowpiercer"? What's wrong with the Weinstein Company opening the film in only 8 theatres? It made over $21K per screen, which is almost the same as Transformers. The only film that had a higher per screen average this week than these two films was "Begin Again" -- another Weinstein Company release. Rather than go head-to-head with "Transformers" in wide release it makes perfect sense to release the film slowly, giving "Snowpiercer" time to build word of mouth.

  • Daniel | June 30, 2014 11:40 PMReply

    "What is wrong with people?" To start, I would think one thing wrong with people is that there are those who would look down on people who enjoy a shallow summer action flick as though that's *all* they're capable of enjoying.
    And I'm not going to list off a bunch of more cerebral titles I've recently enjoyed in contrast to Transformers 4 as though naming them (and assuming you believe me) is some kind of resume, qualifying me to swim in your high-brow cultural pond. That's no different than the secret handshake from high school where you vetted people by who they knew. It's as juvenile and beneath adulthood as this article.
    I've spent time decrying the dumbing-down of popular culture as well. And yes, those consumers fueling the demand carry their share of the blame. But an article smugly looking down at those consumers for what they enjoy, instead of shedding some light on that content itself and exposing its weaknesses actually only serves to make the author sound at least as ignorant as the people he and his anonymous friend (and several posters in this comment section) look down their noses at.
    CGI isn't bad. Action isn't bad. Marketing and merchandising aren't bad things. (Conversely, neither are subtitles, long establishing shots, complexity, or challenging subject matter bad things.) Criticizing a movie or the people who enjoy it because they involve any of these elements is an immature position to take.
    Especially when you're reviewing a movie like Transformers 4, which, even though I was entertained, I could have agreed with you if you had pointed out such faults as its; Poorly thought out story; (lack thereof?) Inexplicable character personality changes from the first 3 movies to the 4th; (Prime turned into a bid of a self-pitying dick) Lack of thought given to pacing (not the length, but that an hour could go by between even mentions of such an important point as the Galvatron character - you start to wonder if he had been forgotten; The just horrible and unnecessary inclusion of the statutory rape permission slip; (they could have just made the daughter character 18 - they have those in high school, too) the extra-effort for realistic robotic faces making them look even more cartoonish; (it's not that CGI is bad, its that it was bad CGI - just because you can do a thing doesn't mean it should be done) and a sadly continuing list of questionable choices made by the filmmakers.
    See? I did that in a couple minutes, didn't have to insult anyone, and could actually defend an opinion.
    Do better from now on.

  • Daniel | July 1, 2014 1:49 PM

    Mace: When did I ever in my comment say anything like a consumer can't insist on better value for their entertainment spending? My comment was actually *as* a consumer protesting the shoddy workmanship of the above article, and insisting the author do better in the future. (It only costs me time to be on this site, not the price of a ticket, but look-ins are what this site is designed for anyway - its their currency.)
    The point of my earlier comment was that the article author wasn't making any point other than that the people who enjoy a Transformers movie are ruining culture for him and the
    Mace, you're arguing with me while we agree on things. Transformers 4 wasn't very good at all. Not even for a summer CGI-fest. I even pointed out reasons (some subjective, some objective,) why I think so. But as s I noted earlier, consumers must carry some blame for this - we shovel money at, and glue our eyeballs to culturally unredeeming shiny things. But as the author did a somewhat fair job of doing, he pointed out that we have alternatives. That's the system my man, vote with your dollars. Don't see Transformers 5. I probably will, because in 3 or 4 years, I'm sure I can carve out 3 hours to sit and watch a movie I don't need to think about. Admin knows I certainly seem to have a little free time right this minute.
    Michael Bay is only responding to what people with spending money seem to want. I can't blame him. He's a populist filmmaker. He doesn't make thinkers, and he isn't going to. there are other filmmakers who already do, so go support them.
    I think you came here ready to fight to defend your opinion that the Transformers sequels aren't very good, and picked my comment like I even remotely disagreed with you, Mace.

  • mace | July 1, 2014 3:26 AM

    Daniel, the "Transformers" sequels are terrible. The first one was "shallow" too, as you put it, but it was mostly harmless, silly, enjoyable fluff. But each successive sequel has gotten louder, longer, and more poorly written, shot, acted and edited. They're an insult to the very people who continue to pay good money to see them. Why? Because Michael Bay doesn't care about making good movies. He doesn't care if he entertains us or not. He just wants our money. He doesn't even try to fake it. And each time his movies make $100M opening weekend, it gives him even more freedom to put out anything he wants no matter how terrible. Meanwhile, there are folks who are at least TRYING to make good movies -- even "shallow summer action flicks" of quality. Someone recently noted that one summer in the 1980s gave us Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Police Academy and Star Trek III. One summer alone! Not all of those are perfect. But you can tell the filmmakers at least TRIED. Today we're lucky to get one so-so movie per season. But if people started demanding more from hacks like Bay -- and therefore stopped making excuses for his films' awfulness -- he'd be forced to do better. We'd get better films. After working hard all week at a job I hate with people I can't stand, why SHOULDN'T I demand better than what Bay is dishing out?

  • Vio12 | July 1, 2014 12:24 AM

    Bravo, Daniel! You summed up my thoughts exactly. No further commentary needed.

  • Daryl | June 30, 2014 6:29 PMReply

    Sergio I'lt tell you what's wrong with people they don't have nothing on their mind, critical thinking is going by the wayside. They want simplistic cgi movies or slick marketing movies that convince to go and spend their money and like garbage. I had a conversation the other day with somebody about this same thing, The answer i got from them was I just want to be entertained and I don't real care about story I like the special effects or I don't get that deep with movies, in a nutshell this is the makeup of big box office office, they don't view movies as an art or craft, it's just something to do. That's why it has to be more of concerted effort with people that love movies to use our buying power to build that sub- culture. hollywood is going to be hollywood, the general public is going to be who they are. I don't care if Transformers make a billion dollars, it still sucks in my opinion and people can think it's the greatest movie of all time.

  • Rocket | June 30, 2014 8:52 PM

    I wouldn't go that far. With better TV's and short wait times for home video certain kinds of films just don't get people out of the house anymore. The comic book films provide an experience that can't be had at home. But a drama that is short on special effects can be seen in the comfort of home without all the distracts of a movie theater.

    The movie going public has changed. The movie ticket buying public are the ones who want to see the CGI stuff. It has always skewed toward buyers who wanted explosions. But that even more so now.I think the people who want to see the more engaging material mostly don't want to see films in the standard multiplex. Even if the films are there they would rather see it at home.

    I don't think it has anything to do with people getting dumber. It has everything to do with the changing composition of movie ticket buyers.

  • Nick | June 30, 2014 4:09 PMReply

    What's wrong with people is that film people like you are pretentious haters that can't like anything mainstream. But all of you pretend that you all discovered the same exact movie, even though you're all following the hipster trend of your own world.

    It's an action movie, the cgi is almost completely
    Unmatched in 3 of these films, they are unapologetic fun. Go watch your Korean Kung fu movie.

  • deadguyknows | June 30, 2014 12:35 AMReply

    Hmmmm ... you seem bewildered Sergio? How come? We live in a culture that gorges on 'Kim Kardashian' images and your surprised when audiences stuff their mouths on CGI porn?

  • Mike | June 29, 2014 10:57 PMReply

    It all comes down to marketing. When they spend the MILLIONS they did to make "Transformers 4" it is no surprise. The studios have to make back their MONEY so they will ADVERTISE the heck out of "Transformers 4." These kinds of movies are popular right now the comic book and sci-fi films.

  • Michele | June 29, 2014 4:22 PMReply

    I went to see Transformers 2 at the movies. I don't think I've ever been so angry in a movie theater in my life. People around me were laughing at jokes that weren't funny being delivered ad nauseam. That experience led me to boycott the 3rd film which I haven't seen to this day. My sister saw Transformers 4 at the movies, and she said it was loooong, but better than the previous film, and Tyrese-less (her word not mine). I've seen it (for free, ahem). It's ok. But it's a mindless summer popcorn movie. I guess when it comes to movies, visual really does trump substance. How often is there a balance?

  • Steven | June 29, 2014 3:14 PMReply

    Humanity has once again... failed. *puts gun into his mouth.... BANG*

  • Mark and Darla | June 29, 2014 2:39 PMReply

    Tim Story and Michael Bay are C- directors on a good day.

  • troublemaker | June 29, 2014 1:42 PMReply

    Should anyone be surprise that Transformers made $100 million this weekend? I think the surprise is if it didn't make that amount. Normally the audience on Saturday is larger than Friday but I notice that there was a huge decline in the audience on Saturday for Transformers. Lets see if it holds on the #1 spot for Fourth of July weekend. I don't know about TLAM 2. I haven't seen any foreign box-office for it as yet.

  • A | June 29, 2014 1:07 PMReply

    Actually, I enjoyed Transformers (even though I thought it was a little too long for my taste). However, I agree that action movies such as Snowpiercer should get more recognition.

  • Shawn M | June 29, 2014 1:05 PMReply

    Erik W. above hits the nail on the head. Marketing. You appeal to a mass audience, exhaust merchandising opportunities and OF COURSE everyone is going to see it because everyone is talking about it and seeing it everyday. The problem is not completely with studios releasing garbage, it also has to do with the way films are marketed - in a draconian manner.

    The internet allows us to reach any audience everywhere and only independent film-makers are taking advantage right now.

  • ASFan | June 29, 2014 1:01 PMReply

    Not to worry completely. Considering their estimate is right on the nose with 100M, it'll likely go down and we'll laugh at how even Transformers failed to get to 100M on its opening weekend.

  • kid video | June 29, 2014 3:47 PM

    LOL @ LOL

  • ASFan | June 29, 2014 3:17 PM

    Alright, we'll laugh and then we'll cry because we won't see a 100M opener this year until Hunger Games.

  • LOL | June 29, 2014 1:05 PM

    I want what you're smoking.

  • Erik W. | June 29, 2014 12:58 PMReply

    I was wondering what ever happened to "Snowpiercer." So Harvey gave in to releasing their original cut but punished them with a very limited release huh? No surprise...

    Transformers is PG-13 and sells to the kids. Plus the parents can go along with the whole family. It will always make more because of that formula, especially when "Raid 2" and "Snowpiercer" get an R rating and don't get ANYWHERE near the same marketing budget. Studios are obsessed with making sure the kids can watch too.

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