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The Panda

Is there an untapped demand for adult blockbusters/dramas?

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I was discussing in the silence thread the weird success of films like The Revenant, and how they stick out among other successes in the years.  

 

So how much untapped demand do you think there is for more serious adult dramas, versus the conveyer belt of PG-13 franchise tentpoles?  Or are these just outliers and can't be relied upon for a studio's success?  

 

Do you think there potential for even more adult drama success than the 1-2 a year we've been seeing?

 

Examples of Recent Adult Drama/Sci-Fi Drama Success from 2013-2016

Sully - 125m

Arrival - 80m+

The Martian - 230m

The Revenant - 183m

Straight Outta Compton - 161m

American Sniper - 350m

Interstellar - 188m

Gone Girl - 168m

Unbroken - 116m

The Equalizer - 100m

Lucy - 126m

The Magnificent Seven - 97m

Creed - 110m

Fury - 85m

The Imitation Game - 91m

Bridge of Spies - 72m

The Big Short - 70m

Gravity - 274m

American Hustle - 150m

Lone Survivor - 125m

Now You See Me - 117m

The Wolf of Wall Street - 116m

The Butler - 112m

Captain Phillips - 107m

Elysium - 93m

42 - 95m

Oblivion - 89m

Saving Mr Banks - 83m

2 Guns - 75m

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Adult drama can do well but I suspect the ROI isn't great compared to a blockbuster, Sully has done $200m WW on a $60m budget which is decent and profitable but ancillary revenue is minimal compared to a tentpole. It's also the reason why romcoms are pretty much dead, Bridget Jones's Baby flopped in the US but was succcesful OS so there's an untapped market 

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Demand is there but obviously these movies depend way more on quality and WOM than brand-name blockbusters do, and those are harder to predict, plus it doesn't help that ticket prices are going up and if you've got enough time you can get more and more of a quality adult drama fix on TV. In order to hope for a real breakout, you still gotta rely very heavily on Oscar hype and/or a big-name director applying his style to a story with some big hook to it and/or an actor people like getting cast in exactly the right role. Scorsese, Tarantino, Eastwood, Fincher and DOR's recent hits, plus stuff like Arrival, True Grit and The Revenant, and, on a smaller scale, even The Grand Budapest Hotel and Midnight in Paris, all more or less apply.

 

But it's dismaying that a less show-offy no-frills drama like Manchester By The Sea, despite seeming to resonate a lot with not just cinephiles, has to actively build its WOM in limited release and basically fight to become even a small success (when it would have been one of the highest-grossing films of 1976 and probably even a solid success in 1996). Or that films like Room and Whiplash, the former based on a bestseller and the latter having since penetrated popular consciousness far more than its $13m gross would suggest, aren't placed in good enough conditions to find a sizable theatrical audience in the first place. (Seriously, my ears still remember the applause that erupted at Whiplash's end credits. I remain fascinated by what it could have made if SPC just immediately dropped it into 1500-2000 theaters with some well-placed advertising, and then let WOM do the work).

 

I'm no longer sure where I'm going with this, I guess it's nothing original but yeah, people are interested and producers/studios should work more actively to satisfy that interest, which in turn would hopefully make people more interested, etc. 'Cause every year there are invariably these adult breakouts, big and small, and still every year even the people who produce these films throw their hands up in the air and proclaim that the small/mid-budget film is on the verge of dying. Maybe it won't be if you actually put more faith both in your artists and your audiences. (Arrival's stupid initial theater count is actually another perfect example of this lack of faith).

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Of course there's always a market for adult blockbusters and adult dramas, but the issue with this argument comes with audiences being far more selective. With the exception of Now You See Me, all of the films you've listed either had big Oscar buzz, a big-name actor or director, or were based on a true and well-known event (42, SOC). If there's another middle-of-the road drama that doesn't have any major star or director backing to it that has made a decent amount of cash, then I'd agree with you more. But right now, it's hard for me to say that any of the movies listed were successful solely because it was an adult drama with decent marketing, especially since something like Money Monster didn't really take away any attention from a movie like Civil War.

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1 hour ago, ThePanda A Star Wars Story said:

I was discussing in the silence thread the weird success of films like The Revenant, and how they stick out among other successes in the years.  

 

So how much untapped demand do you think there is for more serious adult dramas, versus the conveyer belt of PG-13 franchise tentpoles?  Or are these just outliers and can't be relied upon for a studio's success?  

 

Do you think there potential for even more adult drama success than the 1-2 a year we've been seeing?

 

Examples of Recent Adult Drama/Sci-Fi Drama Success from 2013-2016

Sully - 125m

Arrival - 80m+

The Martian - 230m

The Revenant - 183m

Straight Outta Compton - 161m

American Sniper - 350m

Interstellar - 188m

Gone Girl - 168m

Unbroken - 116m

The Equalizer - 100m

Lucy - 126m

The Magnificent Seven - 97m

Creed - 110m

Fury - 85m

The Imitation Game - 91m

Bridge of Spies - 72m

The Big Short - 70m

Gravity - 274m

American Hustle - 150m

Lone Survivor - 125m

Now You See Me - 117m

The Wolf of Wall Street - 116m

The Butler - 112m

Captain Phillips - 107m

Elysium - 93m

42 - 95m

Oblivion - 89m

Saving Mr Banks - 83m

2 Guns - 75m

 

The only movies interesting me in there are The Martian and Interstellar...And not because they're "adult" but because they're sci-fi.

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4 minutes ago, Chewy said:

Kind of a stretch to list all those movies together. Very different audiences being targeted

 

yeah I was going to say some don't really fit, but regardless.  I don't think there is really anything untapped.  I think because there aren't as many is what is helping them to a point.  But yes, obviously when one looks good, people do tend to go out and watch them.  So I think the anticipation of finally getting one helps with some of the bigger grosses whereas yes, there is the possibility that money could be spread out over more adult movies instead of just a few.

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3 hours ago, ThePanda A Star Wars Story said:

I was discussing in the silence thread the weird success of films like The Revenant, and how they stick out among other successes in the years.  

 

So how much untapped demand do you think there is for more serious adult dramas, versus the conveyer belt of PG-13 franchise tentpoles?  Or are these just outliers and can't be relied upon for a studio's success?  

 

Do you think there potential for even more adult drama success than the 1-2 a year we've been seeing?

 

Examples of Recent Adult Drama/Sci-Fi Drama Success from 2013-2016

Sully - 125m

Arrival - 80m+

The Martian - 230m

The Revenant - 183m

Straight Outta Compton - 161m

American Sniper - 350m

Interstellar - 188m

Gone Girl - 168m

Unbroken - 116m

The Equalizer - 100m

Lucy - 126m

The Magnificent Seven - 97m

Creed - 110m

Fury - 85m

The Imitation Game - 91m

Bridge of Spies - 72m

The Big Short - 70m

Gravity - 274m

American Hustle - 150m

Lone Survivor - 125m

Now You See Me - 117m

The Wolf of Wall Street - 116m

The Butler - 112m

Captain Phillips - 107m

Elysium - 93m

42 - 95m

Oblivion - 89m

Saving Mr Banks - 83m

2 Guns - 75m

Looking at this list with the exception of the Revenant, Lucy and Elysium I liked/loved everyone of these movies.   And I haven't seen Arrival or Sully.  And I guess the Butler was okay.  But other than that I liked/loved everyone of these movies.

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I like the topic but the list is a mixed bag. How is Lucy, a pulpy sci fi obviously trying to capitalize on Scarlett's Marvel fame, an adult-oriented movie likeSully, Arrival,  The Revenant or Wolf of Wall Street? R rating doesn't automatically mean movie for older crowd. Deadpool (which isn't listed, thank goodness) and Lucy (which is) don't belong with the likes of Arrival, The Revenant, Scorcese's Leo opus, basically any cerebral movie or movie that doesn't have signature OTT action/ADD editing/wiz bang/etc. 

 

But to answer your question, there's demand but studios won't rush to make many of these movies for one important reason - older crowd doesn't make big opening weekend. Unlike teens who frontload franchise movies, older people take time, see movies when it's less busy. They give a movie legs but studios really love their OW cause first 10 days or so of the release is when they keep the most money. 

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27 minutes ago, elcaballero said:

Isn't this normally negotiated movie by movie though?

 

I don't remember details, so you may be right. But yes, the gist is that they make more money right off the bat than later. 

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