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

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Just now, RandomYojimbo said:

I almost think TLJ's performance is impossible to judge, as to whether disappointment or not, at the moment.

 

That said, is Justice league a failure or a disappointment?

 

Oh no, dont start it :ohmyzod:

 

Spoiler
Spoiler
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Spoiler

JL is an embarrasing failure

 

 

 

 

 

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DISAPPOINTMENT #3

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

"This is our last stand. And if we lose...it will be a Planet of the Apes."

large_war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes_ver

 

Release Date: July 14

Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn

B.O. Gross: $146.9M DOM, $490.7M WW

 

Again, I'm sorry, but I had to do it. 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a major breath of fresh air for the once dead property. After Tim Burton’s 2001 remake came out and was hated by pretty much everyone, this film changed the entire franchise and its goodwill towards audiences, thanks to its unique story from the other films that actually explained how Earth got taken over by the Apes, and became one of the biggest surprises of 2011, both with critics and at the box office. 2014 saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. That film became one of the highest-rated films of the year, and was considered one of the best films of the summer, opening with a stellar $72.6 million, and ending with over $208.5 million domestic and a staggering $710.6 million worldwide.

 

2017 saw the next chapter to the with War for the Planet of the Apes. The film promised an epic battle that delivered on the suspense, emotion, and dark story line of the previous films, culminating in an epic battle between the Apes and the surviving humans. When the film’s first initial press screenings were unveiled, just about every critic on the planet went nuts over it, as it was hailed the best of the new Apes trilogy, thanks to its stunning visual effects and gripping story. While the tracking suggested around $50-60 million, many analysts believed the immense acclaim would’ve pushed it to the same opening weekend as Dawn’s.

 

In the end, that didn’t happen, as the film only grossed only $56.3 million on its opening weekend. But simply falling into expectations wasn’t what made this so disappointing. The film’s legs were the weakest of the trilogy, as it dropped 60% on its second weekend, followed by a 50% drop on its third weekend, and ending up dealing with consistent drops around the 40% mark, before ending up only grossing around $146.9 million domestically, which made it the lowest-grossing of the trilogy. Overseas wasn’t very kind to it either, since the film lost around $159 million from its predecessor, leading to a mediocre $490.7 million gross.

 

The reasons for this disappointing result comes down to two factors: The biggest one, to me, is the competition. With Spider-Man: Homecoming still packing in crowded auditoriums, and Dunkirk targeting the same adult male demographic as Apes, the competitive landscape was far too much to handle, especially when the previous two came in during periods where the summer offerings were slim pickings. The other factor came down to its dark, gritty tone. At a time when many moviegoers are more likely to pick light, escapist fantasies, having such a cold and dreary flick harmed repeat viewings and somewhat dampened word of mouth, making it even tougher for Caesar and friends to stand out.

 

As the big finale to an epic trilogy, it delivered on its promise from a filmmaking standpoint, but it failed to go out on a box office high note. Maybe the next reboot of the franchise that’s sure to come in about 10-15 years will turn things around for Disney and Fox.

Edited by CoolEric258
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DISAPPOINTMENT #4

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

"Viva la Vegan"

kingsman_the_golden_circle_ver23_xlg.jpg

 

Release Date: September 22

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges

B.O. Gross: $100.2M DOM, $405.2M WW

 

Here’s another Fox franchise that disappointed financially. When Kingsman: The Secret Service first released on February 2015, its success was quite a surprise to many people. The over-the-top spy action comedy was smart counterprogramming towards Fifty Shades of Grey, and managed to receive decent reviews, thanks to its action sequences and writing, although some were critical on the ultraviolent content. Regardless, the film seemed to play well with audiences, as it grossed over $128.3 million domestically and around $414.3 million worldwide, making it a strong contender as a potential franchise for Fox, causing the film to have a sequel greenlit for 2017. Originally slated for a June release, the film moved over to September, and it seemed likely to follow other new franchises and gain from its predecessor. The first film was a sleeper hit, and this one promised to up the ante, with a lot of the stuff people liked in the first movie, alongside a new villain, new characters, and a new angle with the Statesmen, America’s equivalent to the Kingsmen.

 

But once the reviews came in, things started to go south. Kingsman received a mixed reception, including many critics who outright despised the flick. Even the positive reviews weren’t all that enthusiastic, saying that it failed to recreate what made the first film so enjoyable. It opened to just barely over $39 million, and had a split reaction from audiences, meaning the film dropped considerably the following weekends, and just barely limped its way over $100 million domestically. It did cross $400 million worldwide, only jsut behind its predecessor, but the whole run just reeked of disappointment. With the first film’s solid gross, as well as two years of people discovering the film, it seemed like a slam dunk to gross above the first film. And yet, it went out with somewhat of a whimper.

 

While its mixed response was the main factor for its underperformance, I think another big issue was that the marketing for this felt pretty weak. The first teaser trailer was certainly engaging, but its Comic-Con trailer got lost in the shuffle of a lot of other big hitters, and the whole marketing campaign didn’t seem to have the same zest and spunk of the first film. The first film was a hit because of its fun action sequences, and clever dialogue pieces, and Samuel L. Jackson acting like Samuel L. Jackson. This film’s marketing consisted of “Hey Colin Firth’s back...there’s a cowboy in this one...see it, I guess.” Instead of something exciting, it just felt...there. And when you fail to sell your movie to more than just fans of the original, you’re not gonna go far.

 

Director Matthew Vaughn still has plans for a third Kingsman film, but with the domestic drop, mixed reviews, and the Disney-Fox deal, it seems like it’ll follow Sherlock Holmes 3, and be a movie the director keeps saying he’s working on, but never actually comes into fruition. At the very least, let’s hope the fans are able to get another one, and have the franchise go out with a bang instead of a whimper.

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DISAPPOINTMENT #5

BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN

"Girl, that breath smelt like it been in the Civil War."

boo-2.jpg

 

Release Date: October 20

Director: Tyler Perry

Cast: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely, Yousef Erakat, Diamond White, Lexy Pantera, Andre Hall, Brock O'Hurn, 

Tito Ortiz

B.O. Gross: $47.3M DOM, $48.3M WW

 

I know it sounds weird to have this film here, but let me explain myself. Love or hate him, Tyler Perry has become one of the savviest producers in Hollywood. His films are super cheap to make, but are able to make easy profits thanks to having notable but not huge paycheck level actors, and his name becoming one of, if not the most recognizable of all black talent in Hollywood today, with his biggest success being the character and film series Madea. Even though almost all of them did average business around $50-70 million, the one exception being Madea Goes to Jail, they all were still modest successes for Lionsgate, turning the character and Perry himself into household names.

 

But in 2016, something bizarre happened. Boo! A Madea Halloween was the first Madea film since 2013’s A Madea Christmas, which garnered the lowest opening in the series, and only beat out Diary of a Mad Black Woman and I Can Do Bad All By Myself in terms of total gross, as well as Perry’s first film since The Single Moms Club in 2014, which became Perry’s lowest-grossing film so far. It seemed that audiences moved on from Tyler Perry movies. But things changed when Madea Halloween came out. The film overperformed to $28.5 million on its opening weekend, becoming the highest opening in Perry’s career since Madea Goes to Jail back in 2009.

 

But what really stood out was the film’s legs. While the film received negative reviews, as usual, the audience seemed to really dig it, and while its connection to the holiday played a big part, it dropped only 40%. Sounds like a lot, but considering how frontloaded Tyler Perry films usually are, this was an impressive feat. Even after the holiday was over, the film only dropped 55% in its two following weekends, leading the film to an impressive $73.2M gross, the second-highest in Perry’s directorial career.

 

With such a smashing success, Tyler Perry made his very first sequel, with the cleverly titled Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. The film opened to only $21.2 million, a departure from the first film. Expected for sure, but this film simply didn’t click with audiences. The Halloween angle didn’t help the film on its second weekend, as the feature dropped 53% on weekend two, followed by 55% and 56% on weekends three and four. This led to the film grossing only $47.3 million, a steep decline from the last film, and the lowest-grossing Madea film thus far. With a $25 million budget, the film didn’t even break even on its initial run, although it’ll likely turn a profit for home video releases.

 

Again, with the first Madea Halloween only being a minor hit that didn’t even cross $75 million, why include this as a disappointment? The main reason comes down to the fact that Madea Halloween seemed to signal a big return for Perry. After average grosses throughout most of his previous work, followed by a drop in interest with Madea Christmas and Single Moms Club, Madea Halloween seemed to be a return to form and breathe new life into Perry’s box office career. But instead, it seems that a good chunk of the first Madea Halloween’s success just came down to the fact that Perry had been gone for nearly two and a half years, and people were interested in seeing Madea again after three years. It also didn’t help that the film was pretty much the exact same plot as the first one, beat for beat, only exactly one year after the first film. It doesn’t allow good time for an audience to grow, or for people to miss the thing they liked.

 

Tyler Perry still has plenty more to come, as his last two Lionsgate films, Acrimony and A Madea Family Funeral, are planned to drop this year, but seeing the steep drop from Boo 2! It’s far more likely these films will do average Perry grosses at best. Following that, Tyler Perry is now distributing his films with Paramount, with his first film for them expected to drop in 2019. Will audiences go big on that, after an onslaught of 4 films in the past three years? Well, I’m not giving my hopes up, though I doubt it will be a huge loss for Paramount (Trust me, we’ll get to that studio in a little bit).

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24 minutes ago, CoolEric258 said:

DISAPPOINTMENT #3

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

"This is our last stand. And if we lose...it will be a Planet of the Apes."

large_war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes_ver

 

Release Date: July 14

Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn

B.O. Gross: $146.9M DOM, $490.7M WW

 

Again, I'm sorry, but I had to do it. 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a major breath of fresh air for the once dead property. After Tim Burton’s 2001 remake came out and was hated by pretty much everyone, this film changed the entire franchise and its goodwill towards audiences, thanks to its unique story from the other films that actually explained how Earth got taken over by the Apes, and became one of the biggest surprises of 2011, both with critics and at the box office. 2014 saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. That film became one of the highest-rated films of the year, and was considered one of the best films of the summer, opening with a stellar $72.6 million, and ending with over $208.5 million domestic and a staggering $710.6 million worldwide.

 

2017 saw the next chapter to the with War for the Planet of the Apes. The film promised an epic battle that delivered on the suspense, emotion, and dark story line of the previous films, culminating in an epic battle between the Apes and the surviving humans. When the film’s first initial press screenings were unveiled, just about every critic on the planet went nuts over it, as it was hailed the best of the new Apes trilogy, thanks to its stunning visual effects and gripping story. While the tracking suggested around $50-60 million, many analysts believed the immense acclaim would’ve pushed it to the same opening weekend as Dawn’s.

 

In the end, that didn’t happen, as the film only grossed only $56.3 million on its opening weekend. But simply falling into expectations wasn’t what made this so disappointing. The film’s legs were the weakest of the trilogy, as it dropped 60% on its second weekend, followed by a 50% drop on its third weekend, and ending up dealing with consistent drops around the 40% mark, before ending up only grossing around $146.9 million domestically, which made it the lowest-grossing of the trilogy. Overseas wasn’t very kind to it either, since the film lost around $159 million from its predecessor, leading to a mediocre $490.7 million gross.

 

The reasons for this disappointing result comes down to two factors: The biggest one, to me, is the competition. With Spider-Man: Homecoming still packing in crowded auditoriums, and Dunkirk targeting the same adult male demographic as Apes, the competitive landscape was far too much to handle, especially when the previous two came in during periods where the summer offerings were slim pickings. The other factor came down to its dark, gritty tone. At a time when many moviegoers are more likely to pick light, escapist fantasies, having such a cold and dreary flick harmed repeat viewings and somewhat dampened word of mouth, making it even tougher for Caesar and friends to stand out.

 

As the big finale to an epic trilogy, it delivered on its promise from a filmmaking standpoint, but it failed to go out on a box office high note. Maybe the next reboot of the franchise that’s sure to come in about 10-15 years will turn things around for Disney and Fox.

This is pretty much the reason I didn't see it until second theaters. Wasn't in the mood for it until mid August

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#5 FAIL

COMEDY

"*crickets chirping*"
chips_xlg.jpgsnatched_xlg.jpgbaywatch_ver15_xlg.jpgrough_night_ver12_xlg.jpghouse_xlg.jpgbastards_ver2_xlg.jpg

 

Finally, our first entry that's a compilation of other films. Expect this to happen a lot in this top 5.

 

Anyway, while 2017 was a great year for horror and superhero films, it was a very rough year for comedy features. While not everything completely tanked, it seemed like 9 times out of 10, a comedy film failed to deliver with critics, audiences, or both.

 

It all started with the film Fist Fight. Thanks to a muted marketing campaign and poor reviews, the film came and went, with only $32.2 million domestic and $41.1 million worldwide.

 

Then in March, CHiPs was released. The film attempted to follow in the footsteps of 21 Jump Street by taking an old TV show, and turning it into a raunchy comedy. The issue however was that the show they picked had zero relevance in 2017. I didn’t even know this show existed until I heard they were making a movie out of it. And while 21 Jump Street had superstars like Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, this had Michael Pena, a guy whose entire career has been character acting and supporting roles, and Dax Shepard, a comedian who has zero starpower, and is more annoying than amusing. Then you add on terrible reception, with many saying it was one of the worst films of the year, and the film tanked with only $18.6 million domestic and $26.8 million worldwide. And surprisingly, it wasn’t even the biggest blunder when it came to films aping 21 Jump Street, but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

 

The following May, after the critical and box office success of Trainwreck, Amy Schumer’s next feature, Snatched, attempted to capitalize on that film’s success, being a female counterprogrammer on Mother’s Day weekend against Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. However, the film received negative reviews, and opened to a mediocre $19.5 million, and ended up with only a $45.8 million domestic and $60.8 million worldwide gross, which meant the film couldn’t break even on its $42 million production budget. We’ll see if I Feel Pretty, Schumer’s next comedy, will be any better for her.

 

Then on Memorial Day weekend, Baywatch was released. This was supposed to be one of the biggest comedy hits of the summer and the entire year, as it followed the 21 Jump Street formula, but also had box office superstar Dwayne Johnson as its lead. And considering this was a show most people actually recognized, this should have been a slam dunk. Tracking suggested the film would open to $40 million on its 5-day opening weekend, but then the reviews came in, and it all went downhill. Critics derided the film as one of the worst of the year, and audiences seemed to agree, as the film opened to only $27.7 million in its first five days, a far cry from what was expected, and quickly disappeared, ending with a $58.1 million domestic total. Worldwide was a touch rosier, as it grossed $177.8 million, helping it break even on its $69 million (Nice) production budget. But for a Dwayne Johnson-led comedy that was planned to be a franchise for Paramount (Again, we’ll get to them in a bit), it was a total failure.

 

June saw two star-studded comedies completely bomb with critics and audiences. The first, Rough Night, had a lot of hurdles to jump through. Despite a star-studded cast featuring Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon, the film’s dark concept of a group of friends at a bachelorette party accidentally killing a male stripper did not appeal to audiences, and left critics mixed, and audiences unhappy (A C+ Cinemascore). It opened to only $8 million, and ended up with only $22.1 million domestic, and $47.3 million worldwide.

 

The House, like Baywatch, also seemed like a slam dunk at the box office. Will Ferrell’s always been a reliable name to put butts into seats, Amy Poehler’s also well-known, and the previews were amusing enough, so it should have at least made The Campaign numbers. But once the disastrous reviews came in, the film completely tanked, failing to meet its tracked $10-14 million opening, a number that was already pretty low, the film only opened to $11.9 million on its 5-day Fourth of July weekend, and a $25.6 million domestic gross, one of the lowest in Will Ferrell’s career.

 

September also saw Home Again as a counterprogram for It. Because of how groanworthy the trailers were, as well as the production looking more like a CBS or ABC show than an actual movie, the film opened to only $8.6 million, and ended with a $27 million gross. October later saw Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, which I've already gone into great detail on in the previous post.

 

And to end off the year, Just Getting Started, a film that was delayed multiple times due to distributor Broad Green filing for bankruptcy and the film being flat-out terrible, opened in 10th place with $3.2 million, and dropped like a rock, only making $6 million, and Father Figures, which also was delayed multiple times, to the point where it was supposed to come out in November of 2016, opened to $3.3 million, but thanks to Christmas legs, it has so far grossed $17.2 million and counting. Although again, that’s a pretty terrible number.

 

The genre wasn’t completely in the pits though. Going in Style made $84.9 million worldwide, while the film only costed $25 million to make, How to Be a Latin Lover surprised on its opening weekend, The Big Sick became a sleeper hit, as did Lady Bird, both of which being considered Oscar contenders, Girls Trip, as I’ve said before, did very, very well, The Hitman’s Bodyguard had a decent opening and a decent ending total, and A Bad Moms Christmas and Daddy’s Home 2, while still dropping quite a bit from their predecessors and recieved negative reviews, didn’t really drop that much. Daddy’s Home 2 even managed to cross $100 million. And of course, there was Jumanji, but we’ll get to that film in a little bit.

 

However, with so many disappointments, including ones from reliable name talent like The Rock, ScarJo, and Will Ferrell, it definitely felt as if comedy films did nothing but fall flat on their faces. There’s been a lot of theories as to why these films failed, from the studios overreliance on tentpoles, therefore ignoring their lower-budget fare, to these films being made before the current presidential administration. While there’s a lot things in the world to blame Trump on, underperforming box office is a bit of a stretch to pin on the annoying orange.

 

I think the biggest issue, and it’s a quite simple one, was that this year’s comedy crop flat-out sucked. This year, only about three or so comedy films got solid reviews from critics, and those three, Girls Trip, Big Sick, and Jumanji, were the few comedy films that landed. Making a good comedy is hard work, because its most important job is to make people laugh. If they can’t make people laugh, and people end up bored, uninterested, or even angry that they spent money on it, people are going to be upset, and the movie isn’t going to make any money. And that's exactly what happened to CHiPs, Baywatch, and The House, and just about every other comedy feature this year.

 

Hopefully, 2018 will offer more laughs and make people come back and see another funny flick. At the very least, I’m sure Ocean’s 8 will cross the $100 million mark domestically, while Night School and Holmes & Watson will have a good shot at crossing that mark as well.

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WIN #5

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

"I like can't even with this place."

jumanji_welcome_to_the_jungle_ver3_xlg.j

 

Release Date: December 20

Director: Jake Kasdan

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale

B.O. Gross: $293.7M DOM, $678.7M WW, and counting

 

In 1995, Sony released Jumanji, a family adventure comedy starring Robin Williams. It was a big success, thanks to its impressive visuals (at the time) and the starpower of Williams, in spite of lukewarm reception. In 2012, nearly 17 years later, Sony announced they were in the early planning developments for some sort of remake/reboot/continuation thing with the property. But it wasn’t until 2017 that the film finally released.

 

And while many expected the film to do well, in spite of Internet outcry that this would "tarnish" the 1995 classic, I think it’s fair to say no one, maybe not even Sony themselves expected this film to do so well. While the film officially premiered on December 20, a few days after Star Wars, serving as the counterprogrammer to the big juggernaut, it actually began its run on December 8. Sony knew they had a crowdpleasing winner on their hands, unlike Warner Bros. who used King Arthur previews as a last-minute resort. With a clever Amazon partnership (Get it? It’s because there’s a jungle!), Jumanji grossed $2 million from these Friday previews. Considering they were only in a handful of theaters, only consisted of one showtime, and were somewhat exclusive, it really proved how much interest the concept and stars had on moviegoers. And with the film being such a crowdpleaser, word very quickly spread about how funny and smart the movie was. It wasn’t some dumb cashgrab, but a fun family adventure comedy.

 

But when it got to wide release the film garnered over $71 million in its first six days ($36.2 million for the 22nd to the 24th), above the $60 million estimates tracking initially suggested. Very soon, word of mouth spread like crazy, with the film continuing to pack seats. So much so, the film gained a substantial amount on New Year’s Eve weekend, with a 38% jump to nearly $50 million, having the 4th biggest second weekend gain ever for a film in more than 3,000 theaters. Once New Year’s Day rolled around, Jumanji usurped the #1 slot from Star Wars, and as of this writing continues to do so. In its third weekend, the film continued to impress, as it had one of the lowest drops in the top 10, a mere 25%, making it gross $37.2 million, which might I add is more than what the first 3-day weekend grossed. This MLK weekend saw another great drop, at 25% to a $28.1 million for the 3-day ($35.4M 4-day). Currently, the film’s total is at $293.7 million domestically and $678.7 million worldwide, which has already made it one of the biggest movies of the year and a film with a long number of records. For one, it’s currently the highest-grossing film to open on Christmas weekend, beating out films like Sing and Meet the Fockers, and in terms of December movies, it’s currently only behind Titanic, Avatar, all 3 Disney Star Wars films, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the first Hobbit film. And keep in mind, this is still on its way to $350 million at worst, which will make it only behind the Cameron joints, the Star Wars joints, and Return of the King (Heck, with how phenomenal its legs are, maybe it will beat that). In fact, this is Sony’s first film to cross $200M domestically since Hancock in 2008, and when all is said and done, it will be Sony’s biggest non-Spider-Man film ever. It might even just beat out all of the other films in the franchise apart from the first one (Maybe it could beat that too, ya never know). Being relatively cheap at around $90-110M will generate even more profits for the film.

 

What made this movie be a part of the top 5 was how unexpected its opening and legs are. Most people predicted the film would make Daddy’s Home numbers at best, and I myself thought the film was only going to barely gross $100 million. And seeing the film more than double from those expectations was incredible, and can be chalked up to many different elements.

 

For one, starpower. The film took Dwayne Johnson, arguably the biggest name in Hollywood, Kevin Hart, one of the biggest comedians working today, Jack Black, a name that’s already been in several hit family movies, Karen Gillan, a rising star fresh off Guardians of the Galaxy, and Nick Jonas, a teen heartthrob with a lot of fans, this film delivered in the superstar factor which helped make promotion very easy, and made a lot of people excited, especially the idea of Johnson and Hart teaming up again, and Jack Black playing a teenage girl. Speaking of which, the premise was extremely clever. Instead of just doing a shot-for-shot remake of the 90s film, they made it a continuation that didn’t need any prior knowledge of the 90s film, outside of a few easter eggs, and gave the idea a creative spin, with kids turning into video game characters. This not only led to a lot of clever comedic moments (Jack Black as a teenage girl), but it also allowed them to play with video game conventions in a way that made it funny and fresh. Then you add on the fact the film was one of the rare features that was able to appeal to both kids and adults on the same level, as well as solid reviews, and it’s no surprise that the film caught on with a mass audience, and word of mouth propelled it to becoming one of the biggest hits of the year, and was a wonderful finale for a pretty decent year for Sony. Let’s hope that momentum continues for the studio in 2018.

 

A sequel still hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m sure at the moment Sony is already negotiating ideas for a sequel, and it will be interesting to see how the second...or third...I guess...installment of the franchise will do.

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1 hour ago, filmlover said:

The R-rated comedy genre is really stuck in a "we're still chasing after that next Hangover or Bridesmaids" rut right now.

Or in the case of Baywatch, the next Jump Street.

 

Then again, once the international financiers got their money involved, perhaps the notion of actually making it like Jump Street went down the shitter.

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FAIL #4

JUSTICE LEAGUE

"Do you bleed?"
Justice-League-teaser-poster.jpg

 

Release Date: November 17

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons

B.O. Gross: $227.6M DOM, $655.2M WW, and counting.

 

Yep, I’m going there. I know I said Star Wars wasn’t going to be on this list, because I knew there would be flame wars and battles no matter where I put it, but for this film, most of the DC fanboys either weren’t enthusiastic about the movie, or are currently suspended, so I don’t have to worry about those clowns, and can trash its performance all I want, so yay me. But in all seriousness, let’s start from the very beginning.

 

DC, like every other studio at the time, wanted to create their own cinematic universe like Marvel’s. But unlike Marvel, it has been anything but smooth sailing for the franchise. After Christopher Nolan ended the Dark Knight Trilogy, Warner Bros. decided to start out their new universe with Man of Steel. As a reboot of Superman, the film was given a polarized with critics and audiences. Some enjoyed the darker interpretation, others condemned it for not being accurate to Superman’s character. Regardless, it was still a box office success, and a sequel was already in the works. That film was a feature called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. WB put out all the stops for it, by having it be the film that introduces Batman, making it the first time both characters would appear in the same movie. It also saw the big-screen debut of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Everything but the kitchen sink was thrown into this movie, and while it may have seen a touch bloated, there was also the chance the film could have improved upon Man of Steel and deliver fans an epic superhero flick.

 

The film garnered even worse reviews than Man of Steel, and it was still polarizing to audiences. Fans weren’t happy with a lot of the interpretations, while newcomers were confused by the onslaught of characters and the needlessly complicated story. It opened to $166 million domestically and dropped like a rock to $330.4 million. Seems like a lot of money, and it is, but it’s a multiplier that couldn’t even double from its opening, which is hardly a good sign. While there are still passionate defenders of the flick, Batman v Superman definitely left a bad taste in many people’s mouths.

 

Then after Suicide Squad which achieved...let’s say mixed results, followed by Wonder Woman, which we’ll talk about in a little bit, the follow-up to Batman v Superman emerged in the form of Justice League. Promised to be the epic team-up that would bring all of the core members together into an epic battle, it was going to be the epic event of a lifetime, similar to Avengers over 5 years ago (Man, it’s really been that long?)

 

Although Justice League received mediocre review, it still seemed like a slam dunk for box office success. Even if BvS disappointed many moviegoers, this still seemed like something everyone had to go see. And yet...many people didn’t. While the film was tracking towards a $110-120 million opening weekend, things quickly turned south, as the film opened to $93.8 million, drastically down from BvS’s boffo debut, and became the first DCEU film to open below $100 million. It was downright shocking. Three months before, people were thinking it would hit close to $130 million, possibly even more. But then, the film that was supposed to be the gigantic mega event of the season sunk to a disastrous low. It later dropped 56% on Thanksgiving weekend, ending up in second behind Pixar’s Coco, followed by a total of around $227.2 million.

 

To the average normie who doesn’t follow box office, this may not seem like a bad number. But the issue comes to the expectations of all of the other DCEU films. Every other film in the universe made more than $290 million at the domestic box office, which is an impressive feat on its own right, especially with how poorly received the other films sans Wonder Woman were. And seeing as how this film was essentially DC’s answer to The Avengers, you would think that the film would be the biggest film in the franchise, or at least as big as BvS. And yet, the film became the lowest-grossing DCEU film both domestically and worldwide ($654.4 million). That total's even worse, considering the film had been estimated to have a $300 million budget.

 

Four factors played a huge part in this film’s underperformance at the box office. For one, there wasn’t any novelty. The DC Trinity already teamed up with Batman v Superman, and the other characters got their cameos, while The Avengers was the first time the Marvel heroes got together. The fun factor and excitement in seeing these characters together was already done, so why should people care about the same thing again?

 

The second thing that didn’t help was that Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg only barely got an introduction in BvS. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Cap all had solo adventures to explain their origins, backstory, and why and how these characters play a part in their universes, which gave a good introduction to these characters and their personalities. Even Black Widow played a major role in Iron Man 2. This is essentially the first time people saw these interpretations of these characters, and since people outside of the DC diehards barely know who these characters are, why should they be excited for them?

 

Thirdly, the previous DCEU films definitely played a part. Like or dislike, it’s clear that WW aside, the receptions for these films were mixed at best and toxic at worst, and simply put, audiences aren’t going to go back to something they weren’t crazy about. A classic case of "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

 

Lastly, the film...just didn’t garner a response. Say what you will about the other DCEU films, but people were passionate about it. When they saw it, they either absolutely loved it, or absolutely despised it, with a handful of inbetweens. With Justice League, the average response was either it was kinda funny, or kinda dumb. It was a collective shrug that didn’t entice newcomers and elicited nothing but “a’ights” from the fans. This almost always leads to mediocre box office, which was clearly the case with this film.

 

The next few films in the DCEU will be very interesting to follow. Wonder Woman 2 will obviously be a smash, but will Aquaman sink or swim after a mediocre response to his debut movie? Can Shazam stand out when the character hasn’t been introduced at all in any of the other movies? I don’t fully know the answer, and Justice League hasn’t helped solidify things in the slightest, so I guess it's best to just wait and see.

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WIN #4

Marvel Cinematic Universe

"I'M MARY POPPINS Y'ALL!"

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Like or dislike this series, I think it’s fair to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the defining franchise of the 2010s. This is thanks to its stellar box office and solid reception from just about every feature they’ve made, and 2017 was further proof of that.

 

While Marvel has usually done two movies a year, they followed the Dreamworks Animation route and released three movies all in the span of one calendar year, with Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 in May, Spider-Man: Homecoming in July, and Thor: Ragnarok in November. It may seem brilliant now, but back then, you can argue it was a bit of a risk. Even if they are different franchises, would audiences grow tired of Marvel? Would so many movies in a short timespan hurt the brand? Would there be enough interest in these movies in the first place? Guardians 1 was a smash hit that came out of nowhere, but it could have just as easily been a one-and-done thing for many audience members. This was the third Spider-Man reboot in the span of 10 years, and even with the popularity of Holland’s portrayal in Civil War, the saturation of the character might have been too much for some people. Thor has always been one of Marvel’s least popular characters, so it seemed doubtful people would turn up for another entry.

 

But lo and behold, not only did each film hit, they really hit. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 more than doubled from the original when it came to opening weekend ($94.3M to $146.5M) and had pretty solid legs throughout its run, leading to the film generating a $389.8M DOM and $863.7M WW total, a strong leap from its predecessor. This was not only thanks to the popularity of the first film, which only became even more popular thanks to TV reruns and DVDs, as well as solid reviews, albeit not as strong as the first one, but also due to a killer marketing campaign that promised a lot of the elements people liked in the first movie, while also adding in new stuff like Kurt Russell as Star-Lord’s dad, and of course Baby Groot, a character that was loved by even the most cynical viewer. This will only further help Guardians of the Galaxy 3, which is expected to come out sometime in 2020.

 

July saw Spider-Man: Homecoming, which differentiated rather heavily from the previous adaptations. For one, Peter Parker wasn’t played by a late ‘20s-early ‘30s actor. Second, the film focused a lot more on a high school setting, which was basically ignored in the previous movies. Then you add in a supporting role for Iron Man, a multicultural and diverse supporting cast, and strong reviews touting the film as a return to form for the character, it had plenty to show it wasn’t just another rehash. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows at first, as while the film did have a strong debut at $117 million, it had a pretty ugly second weekend drop at over 62%. But as time had gone on, word spread, and it seemed more people were willing to check it out and seemed to have enjoyed it. For the rest of the summer, the film only dropped to 50%, followed by 40%, then 33%, then 32%, then 29%, and then 33%. This helped the film cross $334.2 million at the domestic box office, and while it couldn’t beat the Sam Raimi films, the $880.2 million worldwide total helped it become the second-highest grossing Spider-Man film of all time, only behind 2007’s Spider-Man 3. Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 is already in development and being fast-tracked for 2019, but what is more interesting is how the film will help the other Spider-Man features Sony has in the works, including Venom, Into the Spider-Verse, and Silver & Black.

 

Lastly, there was Thor: Ragnarok. This feature took everything from the first two movies, and threw it all away, offering a fresh new perspective of the characters. Jane Foster and company, as well as the Warriors Three, were thrown out of the movie entirely, instead focusing on the characters people actually like (Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall) and adding in a bunch of new characters, like Hela, Valkyrie, the Grandmaster, and of course Korg. Then you add on a Hulk crossover, some 80s tunes, fun setpieces, killer marketing, with the film’s teaser becoming the highest-viewed trailer in 24 hours, and stellar reviews, it had all the elements for a massive breakout. With a $122.7 million opening, it managed to beat out Homecoming’s opening, an impressive feat for a less well-known character. Its legs were hurt due to the arrival of Justice League, but in the end, the film was still a smash success, with a current gross of over $313.1 million, and will likely pass the $315M mark. Worldwide was also amazing, delivering $851.2 million, making it the highest-grossing Thor movie so far. A fourth film is up in the air, but I think Marvel’s willing to extend Hemsworth’s contract a little bit longer, especially with the new world Daddy Taika created.

 

Let’s really look at what all three films managed to do. They all grossed above $100M in their opening weekends, while their runs ended above $300M domestic and $800M worldwide. Doing that within the span of 6 months is practically ludicrous.

 

While the Marvel brand definitely played a part, becoming in a way the Pixar of the superhero genre, I think the main reason each of these features was a hit was that each film was not only very good but very different from one another. True, they all played to the typical superhero comedy conventions, and the dreaded “Marvel formula,” but in execution, each one was able to stand out from the film before it which didn’t make audiences say “been there, done that.” Guardians 2 was a space opera featuring wild planets and creatures, as well as a touching story on fatherhood and emotional baggage. Spider-Man: Homecoming was one part high school comedy, the other part coming-of-age story, with Peter Parker trying to make his mark and defining who he is in a world full of superpowered heroes. Thor: Ragnarok was a road trip comedy that offered hilarious supporting characters and gorgeous otherworldly visuals.

 

Marvel let James Gunn, Jon Watts, and Taika Waititi (paging @aabattery) do what they want to do with these characters, and deliver fun adventures that excited moviegoers with their new interpretations on old favorites. 2018 looks to deliver on 2017’s momentum, and it seems likely with Black Panther breaking pre-sales records, and Avengers: Infinity War breaking trailer view records. Hopefully, Ant-Man finds a way to cross $300M, so Marvel Studios can get that twice in a row action. Michelle, the fate of the MCU is counting on you (paging @WrathOfHan and @ddddeeee)

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We'll be getting into the top 3, and I promise I'll try and get this done by the time January ends.

 

At this point, you all can probably predict what the top 3 wins will be (though, maybe not the specific order), but my top 3 fails may surprise you. ;)

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