Summer 2013: The Summer of Flops

11 Jul

It’s always interesting to see what occurs to films that are released in the summer. Generally, you have your slew of box office hits like The Avengers; your box office poison, like Battleship, and movies in-between.

Every summer, without fail, there will be winners and losers. But is it always fair which movies do amazing at the box office and which flop so hard that even the studios are embarrassed?

Of course not. Welcome to Hollywood.

battleship

I dunno about you, but I know I thought this looked like a WINNER. (Image from: hollywood.com)

Although there are a lot of movies that were released this year, I’m focusing on White House Down, After Earth, The Lone Ranger, and Pacific Rim.

Why these movies? Because A) they were released around the same time, looking for a similar audience (same time being like, late May- early July as opposed to early May like Iron Man 3). B) I’m not including the animated films, even if Despicable Me 2 kicked The Lone Rangers ass. And C) Because I want to, go away.

despicable me, despicable me 2, minion,

Though this minion is my spirit animal.

Even Family Can’t Save This Film

After Earth was M. Night Shyamalan’s first film directing after the terrible, racist, and embarrassing film, The Last Airbender. However, it brought together the king of summer blockbusters, Will Smith and his son, who I guess was in some movies and that’s cool.

will smith, jaden smith, after earth

Look at that family strength. That’s actually kind of adorable. (Image from: salon.com)

Even though Will Smith is considered the king of blockbusters (I don’t know if anyone gave him that title but me so yay me!), the last summer he reigned at the box office was 2008, with Hancock and I Am Legend. In fact, he wasn’t in a movie from 2008 – 2012, which brought him into the third film of the Men in Black Franchise, MIB3. Which, even if it did well at the box office, wasn’t that good of a film. However, it is still big Will, and his son did well in The Karate Kid. Surely they should be able to kick ass in the box office.

Well.. On a budget of 130 million, it has made, to date, 59 million. The first flop of the summer. To be fair, it’s doing fairly well internationally, but a Will Smith movie only making 59 million after being out almost two months?

Ow.

jaden smith, after earth

It’s okay Jaden. I’m sure you’ll have other chances. I won’t. But you will. (image from: hollywoodreporter.com)

You could blame M. Night for his name being attached to the film, but lets be honest. They hid his connection to the film fairly well for someone who didn’t look this information up. You could blame Will Smith’s fall from his throne of the Box Office King for not being in movies for so long. Heck, you could blame Jaden for his terrible acting (was he a terrible actor? I dunno).

Or you could not see it for exactly why I didn’t see it.

It looked just awful.

There was nothing at all to entice me to see that movie. I could have stayed home and done my hair instead of seeing what would happen on Earth in the future.

Wait a minute… didn’t a movie come out a few months ago that dealt with life on earth after earth a few months ago? Oblivion? Even though they weren’t the same audience at all, I wonder if that could have affected it as well.

tom cruise, oblivion,

Coincidence? I… have no idea let’s be honest. (image from: news.discovery.com)

Timing is Everything

A few months back, I’d heard about two films dealing with Secret Service and attacks on the White House. I didn’t think much of them, only that it would be silly for those films to come out anywhere in the same half of the year as the other. Because one was going to do average to good and one was going to bomb.

I guess I was right.

white house down, jamie foxx, channing tatum, olympus has fallen, morgan freeman, gerald butler, aaron eckhart

I could have put them side to side but LOOK, so many others already have done that. I can’t imagine why… (image from: businessinsider.com)

Olympus Has Fallen may have a lower score on Meta critic than White House Down (41% to 52%), and users may have liked White House Down better… but only the users who saw it.

Olympus Has Fallen was released in late March and to those not obsessed with the film industry or have no idea what movies are coming out (just pretend with me, alright?) it was a movie about the White House being attacked, with dramatic action scenes and kick assing all around.

aaron eckhart, morgan freeman, olympus has fallen

Granted, they had the voice of God, so maybe they did have a step up… (image from: digitaltrends.com)

White House Down was in late June, and It was a movie about the White House being attacked, with dramatic action scenes and kick assing all around.

I guess the only difference was the minor plot reasoning as to why the White House was attacked and the actors.

The biggest difference was the budget and the box office. Olympus Has Fallen was made for 70 million and made 161 million to date. White House Down, on the other hand, was made for more than twice the amount, 150 million, and was considered the summers second flop, raking in only 67 million so far.

Could you blame it on the actors? Gerald Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman versus Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx? Not particularly. All are known for their action movies and have been in the public’s mind (Tatum and Freeman especially).

channing tatum, 21 jump street,

Luckily, this hair has slipped from the public’s mind… (image from guardian.co.uk)

Could you question the fact that this is just another film with way too big of a budget, showing that maybe smaller budgeted films are able to connect to the audience better? That’s a possibility, as seen in Disney’s The Lone Ranger, but that will be brought up later.

But how about the fact that these movies, with seemingly similar plots were released almost three months to the date apart? I know I barely have time, money, and energy to see a movie once in theaters, but to pay to see the same plot over and over again? You’re kidding right?

Granted my parents did but they’re weird, weird movie goers whose favorite films are Battleship and Transformers so …

What bothers me about this failure at planning is exactly that – it was a failure at planning. It wasn’t like Sony couldn’t have pushed their movie back farther, so Olympus has Fallen was out of the minds of consumers. Hell, they could have pushed it up to actually have the movies go head to head. But I suppose they believed that the Tatum star power from 21 Jump Street was enough to cushion their movie. Clearly it wasn’t.

When Star Power Can’t Save Your Terrible Film

Speaking of star power failing to save a movie, The Lone Ranger crashed and burned hard against some adorable minions on July 4th weekend. Never have I ever seen a movie crash so hard when they have the star power of someone like Johnny Depp, a studio like Disney, and the producing/directing power of the Pirates of the Caribbean crew. What could have been the issue with this film?

armie hammer, johnny depp, the lone ranger

I mean look at this! It just looks so… uh, I guess you can maybe say awesome if you squint and tilt your head. (image from: aceshowbiz.com)

There’s two reasons I’ve discovered why people didn’t go out in droves to see this.

One – it looked awful. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was fresh, funny, and really enjoyable. Johnny Depp has, essentially, been playing Jack Sparrow in every single character he does ever since, and ten years later, that shtick is old.

johnny depp, pirates of the Caribbean, the lone ranger

Huh. I can’t even tell that it’s the same actor. Nope. Even if they’re wearing essentially the same thing… oops. (image from: cinemavine.com)

Also, while I find Armie Hammer attractive, he isn’t a good enough of an actor to get me to see a movie just because he’s in it.

Not to bring up my parents again, but, as mentioned, they loved Battleship, and even they hated this film. When your movie is worse than Battleship, I’m sorry.

Two – …the amount of emphasis that was placed on the fact that Johnny Depp has some Native American blood because, surprise, the character he’s playing is not white, but in fact, Native American.

I personally have been so so so SO sick of watching Hollywood cast white actors in roles that were either written for any ethnicity or were written for a specific ethnicity that wasn’t white. And with the worst excuses too. I love Tom Hardy and I was irritated to see him cast as the villain in the Dark Knight Rises, Bane. Benedict Cumberbatch is a great actor, yes, but to see him cast as Khan in the recent Star Trek after they essentially promised that he wasn’t was a slap to the face.

Also by promising it that much, it was like they were saying “of COURSE he’s Khan you silly fools! But shush!”

So seeing another actor take up a role that was written as a person of color gives me warm feelings inside. And by warm, I mean like a furnace.

What I found so interesting about my final film, Pacific Rim, is that they were considering casting Tom Cruise for the role that Idris Elba eventually was cast in. Was it because they needed more diversity or because Idris is a fucking amazing actor? I like to think it’s the latter of the two, because it’s so true.

idris elba, pacific rim

Also who in their right mind casts Cruise when we could have Elba all day, every day? (image from: clutchmag.com)

Do I honestly think that 90% of the viewing public even gave a consideration to the fact that Johnny Depp was playing a Native American man? No. Not at all. Do I think that the public was sick of seeing Johnny Depp play the exact same role over and over, and would rather have seen some adorable minions in Despicable Me 2, some kick ass ladies in The Heat, or even White House Down?

Yes. Yes I do.

When Your Marketing Sucks, All You Can Do is Hope

Pacific Rim is an amazing film go see it as SOON as it hits theaters.

Okay, I’m biased against this film. Sue me.

As much as I love it, though, I’m afraid that it will be yet another flop in the summer of domestic misses at the box office. The marketing is promoting this film as a TRANSFORMERS and emphasizing the giant robots and the aliens and the fighting, but what pleasantly surprised me was the amount of characterization that it brought to the table. In fact, much of the trailers are just the film’s set up, which allows you to later explore the world that they have created.

But let me be clear. While I loved this movie, I had no intention of seeing it a little while back. I had the opportunity to see Guillermo del Toro at Wondercon 2013 and he talked about the film with such passion that I realized I had to see it. But the trailer confused me and before I was able to see del Toro, I thought it was just another attempt to cash in on GIANT ROBOTS WHEE.

But it’s not.

But many people think it is.

Will this be an issue? Yes. I have seen many people who have already watched the film having to convince people “No, it’s really good!” and the people are super skeptical. But why shouldn’t they? The posters are all about the Jaegers (or the giant robots in the film), and the trailers are all about the fighting. No mention of the interpersonal relationships that make this film so amazing.

charlie hunnam, rinko kikuchi, pacific rim, guillermo del toro

So many interesting and fun relationships in this film. Also? Main dude has a really nice voice. WHAT. HE DOES. (image: schmosknow.com)

Do I hope that it will attract the audience who is used to seeing films like transformers and show them what a good movie is? I HOPE. OH GOSH I HOPE. Do I think the marketing is strong enough to see people come out in droves to see it? No. I really don’t.

I hope that the name Guillermo del Toro is enough to get people to the theater and the word of mouth helps as well, because I don’t have high hopes on the box office return. Which is SUCH a shame, because this film has a diverse cast, a bad ass woman, and a really fun and kick ass story.

AND GIANT MONSTERS AND ROBOTS.

WHEEEE.

Although there have been a lot of flops this summer, there have been a lot of strong movies. Watching Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 battle it out has been fun. I want to see how RIPD does even with it’s comparisons to Men in Black. I’m even a little interested in the Matt Damon film, Elysium, does because it looks like fun.

But mainly, I’m afraid that if stand alone films don’t do well in the box office, we will be stuck with prequels and sequels and remakes forever.

And I can’t do that anymore.

Pirates of the carribean, johnny depp

NOOOOOOOOO PLEASE JUST LET IT END. (image: news.infeeds.com)

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2 Responses to “Summer 2013: The Summer of Flops”

  1. Alexis C July 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi Brie!!!!!! This post was really awesome and informative! Keep it up! And you raise some really good points regarding why movies flop. I was actually thinking about that exact same thing yesterday so it was a good to see your opinion. So jealous of your life!

  2. Anonymous September 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    spot on!

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