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Eric Smiley

Top 10 Wins and Fails of 2017 (& 5 Disappointments) l LIST COMPLETE l #1 ON P. 7

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It's a brand new year. New year, new resolutions, and of course, new movies. But before the new year comes in and we talk about the future box office, it's important to look back at 2017, warts and all.

 

Like with most recent events, 2017 was not a great year for the film industry. Many anticipated films bombed with critics, general audiences, or both. Disney and 21st Century Fox merged with one another, which divided the BOT community, and has already led to layoffs from the studio and some of Fox’s creatives like TV show creator Ryan Murphy rumored to jump ship from the company. Do I even need to bring up the entertainment industry's sexual harassment allegations that have been in the news this past fall?

 

When it comes to the box office, things weren’t much better, as it’s projected to hit a three-year low. Due to poor box office, a lot of popular franchises had to end abruptly, while other aspiring franchises attempted to make their mark but failed miserably. Last summer was one of the worst ever, failing to gross $4 billion in total for the first time since 2006. Ticket sales are also projected to hit the lowest mark since 1995.

 

Although even with the doom and gloom, there were still some wonderful things to enjoy, both as film and box office nerds. In one year, we saw the greatest superheroine smash the glass ceiling and deliver a boffo debut. In one year, we saw a Stephen King adaptation become a phenomenon, while a comedian directed one of the most acclaimed horror films in recent memory. In one year, we saw M. Night Shaymaylan officially return to his former glory, Pixar release an authentic and touching celebration of Mexican culture, Marvel Studios give us three great superhero flicks, Hugh Jackman get a beautiful swan song to end his work on his most famous character, Edgar Wright finally breaking into the mainstream, a fantastic sequel to a cult classic was released, Christopher Nolan told us all why the theatrical experience is so special, and to top it all off, another Star Wars movie was released to critical acclaim...kinda.

 

At the very least, you can’t argue 2017 was a boring year for the box office, and as 2018 now begins, here’s to a brief look back at the ups, downs, and middle-of-the-roads of 2017.

 

But first, here’s some quick rules to understand what’s going on.

 

The three categories go as such:

 

WINS: Self-explanatory. The reasons these films are chosen and placed depends on a few factors: Overall gross, how the film did domestically, how the film did overseas, the film’s legs, and most importantly surprise factor. Star Wars was #1, but we all expected that, so it's not surprising, and therefore not that interesting. For a lot of the other films, especially the ones in the top three, we didn’t expect the runs they had. Expectations compared to previous films in a series, being an original film, and critical reception are also important.

 

FAILS: Again, self-explanatory. The reasons these films are chosen and placed depend on a few factors: Overall gross, how the film did domestically, how the film did overseas, surprise factor, and most importantly, how it tarnished or harmed the studio, a franchise, or even the industry as a whole. A film like Collide bombed hard, but it didn’t really hurt the studio from a long-term perspective, and pretty much everyone knew that was going to flop. The films listed above were far more surprising and far more damaging. Expectations to previous films, being an original film, and critical reception are also important.

 

DISAPPOINTMENTS: These are the films that didn’t necessarily do bad, but they certainly didn’t do anything great. They might have made a profit and kept the studio satisfied, but they still relatively underperformed from expectations. Basically, the main factor is that not only could the movie have made more money, it should have made more money.

 

And just to add a few more ground rules:

-These are mainly focusing on the big tentpoles, so limited movies will be ignored. Sorry Lady Bird.

-One or two films from 2016 will be making an appearance in this countdown. It seems like cheating, but the ones I’m choosing were films that went wide in 2017, and made almost all of its money in that year, so...¯\_(ツ)_/¯

-As this is January, many films like Greatest Showman, Jumanji, Pitch Perfect 3, and many others are still in their runs, and at this point, just about anything could happen. My placements could very well end up moot and meaningless, but I have confidence in what my list is like. If anything happens and these movies do something more impressive than other films on the list, then I'll probably just do a quick addendum.

-To shrink things down and talk about more movies, a few slots will be filled up with multiple movies that fit a specific theme. Don’t be surprised when that happens.

-Because there’s a lot of debate on The Last Jedi’s run, and whether it’s a win or a disappointment, I’m just going to not place it anywhere, because flame wars is something I don’t want to deal with. If you want to debate its success or failure, go somewhere else, and don't bother me.

-This is all based on my own personal opinion. If you feel passionate that one movie should or shouldn’t be on one of the lists, then go on ahead and make your own Top 10 list. I’m not gonna be upset.

-The format will go FAIL to WIN. DISAPPOINTMENT will be smack-dab in the middle of the countdown. The placements for DISAPPOINTMENT are in no particluar order and only focus on six movies.

-I hope to get work done every day, but there are going to be a few days I'll skip due to work, school, and my upcoming wisdom teeth surgery, so don't expect this every day.

 

With that out of the way, let’s reminisce!

Edited by CoolEric258
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Of course, before we actually begin the countdown, here's just a long list of honorable mentions. These films did very good or very bad this year, but they weren't massive enough to make it to the top 10.

 

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS (FAILS):

 

Live By Night: Geared as WB’s attempt at getting its foot in the Oscar race, the Ben Affleck film was hated by critics, and even more so by audiences, as it opened outside of the top 10 on its first weekend in wide release, and completely disappeared afterwards, grossing barely over $10 million, and breaking Meet Dave’s 9-year long record of “Biggest Theater Count Drop.” It’s estimated the film will lose $75 million.

 

The Great Wall: Matt Damon’s first and surprisingly highest-grossing film, The Great Wall suffered due to accusations of whitewashing and a white savior narrative, as well as being a stupid movie. What was supposed to be a breakthrough collaboration between American and Chinese studios was a stinker that is expected to lose $75 million. It was a decent-sized hit in China, so...that’s something.

 

A Cure for Wellness: #PoorTOG. Too wierd for general audiences, not well-recieved enough to excite cinephiles, the experimental horror film landed at #10 in its opening weekend with only $4.3 million, and ranked #2 in “Biggest Theater Count Drop,” again beating Meet Dave’s record, except grossing $2 million less than Live By Night. Thankfully, Gambit, Gore Verbinski’s next project, will do much better.

 

Collide: I have no idea what this movie is or what it’s about. All I know is that it has Nicholas Hoult, it opened to $1.5 million, and its final gross was $2.3 million. Yikes!

 

Rock Dog: Its North American gross was weak, with a $9 million gross off of a $3.7 million opening weekend. Its release in China, on the other hand was very interesting. The film, a USA-Chinese coproudction bombed in that country, only making $5.7 million, but it was apparently due to direct sabotage from theater comapny Wanda, who purposefully limited the film’s release and showtimes, due to the film’s production company Huayi Bros. poaching one of Wanda’s former executives. This Cartoon Brew article explains it better than I can.

 

Power Rangers: Originally, Lionsgate was going to make six movies on this property, but after its disastrous legs in spite of a pretty solid opening weekend, those plans fell through. Being a fan-driven film with mixed reviews and intense family competition, though kudos for having one of the Rangers be a lesbian, and another autistic, the film opened high at over $40 million, but had a disastrous drop in week 2, and it only went south from there, leading to the film only making $85 million, just barely above a 2x multiplier.

 

All Eyez On Me: One of the most frontloaded films of the year, dropping 78% in its opening weekend in spite of a decent weekend gross, this Tupac biopic was critically savaged for its poor acting and writing, and even Jada Pinkett Smith went on Twitter calling out the film for its inaccuracies. It didn’t even break even, grossing only $54.9 million worldwide on a $40 million budget.

 

Valerian: #PoorTOG. The passion project of Luc Besson, the film failed to find an audience big enough to help make the gargantuan film break even, grossing only $225.2 million worldwide on a $175 million or so budget. It also garnered mixed reviews. It was almost going to appear on the list, but a few other films managed to beat it out.

 

Detroit: Annapurna’s first distributed film, its dark and violent content and story turned off audiences, leaving the Kathryn Bigelow film with what is expected to be zero Oscar nominations and a terrible $21 million on a $34 million budget. Hopefully the company will have much better luck next year with their upcoming MGM deal and Oscar hopefuls like Backseat and If Beale Street Could Talk.

 

Nut Job 2: Here’s an idea. Why don’t we take a critically panned film that made only a decent amount of money, and arguably only got that money due to sold out Frozen shows, and make a sequel? What’s that? It opened to only $8 million and grossed around $28.4 million? What a shock!

 

Logan Lucky: Steven Soderbergh’s big return and first attempt at distributing his own movie independently was a whimper, grossing only $46.7 million on a $29 million budget. It’s a shame, but at least Soderbergh will be back next year with Unsane.

 

Flatliners: Why was this remade again?

 

Geostorm: Delayed several times, the film was a critical and financial dud domestically, making $33.4 million. Worldwide it did...okay enough, I guess.

 

The Snowman: Hey Universal, maybe having your director unable to shoot 10-15% of his script was a bad idea. Because of your boneheaded decision, the film was hot garbage, and it was a complete bomb ($43 million on a $35 million budget). At least we got a good meme though.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS (WINS)

 

La La Land: Thanks to Oscar buzz and amazing WOM, the film opened in December with one of the strongest PTAs in film history, and had phenomenal staying power during its January expansions, grossing over $150 million domestically and becoming the fourth highest-grossing musical ever. Its worldwide was just as impressive, grossing over $446 million. Director Damien Chazelle’s next project is the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, and it will be interesting to see how the film will follow up on its success.

 

John Wick Chapter Two: Going leaps and bounds over the first film, Lionsgate created a highly successful follow up both with critics and at the box office, with $92 million domestically and $171 million worldwide. It’ll be interesting to see how Wick 3 will capitalize on the bounce as it will face bigger competition in May 2019.

 

Logan: It had a great run, making over $615 million worldwide, $225 million domestically. It was also critically acclaimed, making it the perfect send-off for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. With X-Men’s future seemingly wishy-washy and uncertain, mainly due to the Disney-Fox deal (#FuckthatDeal), at least Hugh Jackman went out on a high note.

 

The Boss Baby: Alec Baldwin capitalized on his success on playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, and helped take this Dreamworks toon to great success, with $175 million domestic and almost $500 million worldwide. A 2021 sequel is on the way, a perfect new franchise for Universal when they start distributing Dreamworks’ new movies next year.

 

Fate of the Furious: In America, it only grossed about $225 million. Impressive for sure, but it’s still a big, if expected drop from Furious 7. Overseas however, it managed to gross over $1 billion in total, making it one of the highlights of foreign box office...outside of the Chinese film Wolf Warriors 2, of course. The Hobbs/Shaw spinoff will be coming in 2019 (Suck it, Tyrese!), with the 9th film the year after.

 

How to be a Latin Lover and Baahubali 2: In the last weekend of April, these films, one bilingual English and Spanish, the other Indian, were pleasant surprises that overperformed considerably on their opening weekends thanks to an empty market and niche targeting (and in Latin Lover’s case, the starpower of Eugenio Derbez). Hopefully this will give studios an interest to release more Spanish and Indian films.

 

47 Meters Down: Originally a Direct-to-DVD movie that was thrown into theaters at the last second thanks to The Shallows and Mandy Moore’s role on the show This Is Us, 47 Meters became the sleeper hit of the summer, grossing $44.3 million on an $11.2 million opening. A strong debut for Entertainment Studios, with 48 Meters Down expected to come out soon.

 

Baby Driver: Edgar Wright finally hit it big. With an empty summer, rave reviews and buzz, as well as a killer cast (well, it was killer before Kevin Spacey’s allegations were let up), Baby Driver was a sleeper hit for Sony, grossing $107 million domestically and 226 million worldwide. A sequel is now in the works, and I'm sure Wright has gotten plenty of phone calls for new projects due to this film’s success.

 

Despicable Me 3: Made $1 billion worldwide, but its reception was “ehh” and its domestic gross wasn’t anything to write home about, only grossing ahead of the first Despicable Me, a massive drop from the monsters that were Despicable Me 2 and Minions. We’ll see if this drop will impact Minions 2 in the States once it arrives in 2020.

 

Annabelle: Creation: After a disastrous first film, director David Sandberg turned things around and released a sequel that was considered infinitely better than its predecessor, and has become the third film in The Conjuring Cinematic Universe (I can’t believe that’s a thing) to gross over $100 million domestically. We’ll see if next summer’s The Nun will continue the trend.

 

Murder on the Orient Express: Kenneth Branagh managed to create a potentially successful new franchise using a star-studded cast, a prime November release date, and strong marketing. Its reviews may have been mixed, but it didn’t stop the film from doing extremely well ($100 million domestic, $326 million worldwide) to warrant a sequel coming soon, creating a new franchise for Fox...or, I guess now Disney. #FuckThatDeal

 

Wonder: A sleeper that came out of nowhere, Wonder used rave reviews and a smart grassroots campaign with kids organizations to make their inspiring kids movie into a smash hit, with solid legs and a gross expected to head towards $125 million domestically. Easily the highlight of the pre-Thanksgiving openers.

 

Coco: Pixar’s Day of the Dead feature was a massive hit overseas, becoming the highest-grossing film in Mexico and became one of the biggest films in China for the studio. Its domestic gross on the other hand is just okay. It started out strong, but due to heavy competition from Star Wars, Ferdinand, and Jumanji, the film’s late legs were a bit of a disappointment, as the film is only expected to just barely cross $200 million. It’s still a great success, but it could have done a lot better in North America.

 

The Greatest Showman: After a mediocre opening, its second weekend exploded, gaining over 76% from its first weekend and having the smallest drop ever for a film in 3,000+ theaters. I’m making this as its run is still in progress, so maybe it will sneak its way into the top 10 when all is said and done if it has phenomenal holds in January. In that case, I’ll just do a quick addendum I guess.

 

Okay, the next post will actually go into the list, I promise.

Edited by CoolEric258
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1 hour ago, CoolEric258 said:

Nut Job 2: Here’s an idea. Why don’t we take a critically panned film that made only a decent amount of money, and arguably only got that money due to sold out Frozen shows, and make a sequel? What’s that? It opened to only $8 million and grossed around $28.4 million? What a shock!

Another great idea: open it in over 4,000 theaters ensuring a pathetic average.

 

Good work so far but if I had made the fail list Valerian would’ve been near the top. :apocalypse:

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9 hours ago, John Marston said:

nice write up but I would put DM3 firmly in the win category. Despite an underwhelming opening it still had terrific legs and made 1 billion on a modest 80m budget. Making it massively profitable

This. It had the 2nd best Domestic Multiplier this year (x3.64) after Wonder Woman (x4) which means reception was surely good in the US.

EDIT: This is among 200+ DOM Friday openers in 2017.

Also it's never about DOM only, it's about worldwide for sure. Domestic is where the media focuses on because these writers are from the states, but what matters is worldwide these days.  

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2 minutes ago, MinaTakla said:

This. It had the 2nd best Domestic Multiplier this year (x3.64) after Wonder Woman (x4) which means reception was surely good in the US.

Also it's never about DOM only, it's about worldwide for sure. Domestic is where the media focuses on because these writers are from the states, but what matters is worldwide these days.  

Sure, if you ignore Get Out, Dunkirk, Coco, Girls Trip, Wonder, Baby Driver, and every Christmas release that isn't TLJ.

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1 hour ago, WrathOfHan said:

Sure, if you ignore Get Out, Dunkirk, Coco, Girls Trip, Wonder, Baby Driver, and every Christmas release that isn't TLJ.

Right, I meant to refer to 200+ DOM Friday openers in 2017. Wonder Woman is first, DM3 is second. 

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1 hour ago, filmlover said:

Related image

Among the 2017 domestic 200+m grossing films this year, Wonder Woman is first and has the best multiplier and DM3 is second.

Thanks to @ak2net for the list:

 

SW8 2.91-3.0x

BATB 2.88x

WONDR 4x

GOTG2 2.66x

SMH 2.86x

IT 2.65x

THOR3 2.54x

DM3 3.65x

JL 2.42x

LOGAN 2.56x

F8 2.29x

 

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