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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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FAIL #3

PARAMOUNT PICTURES

"Don't kill the messenger, or the messenger will kill you."

monster_trucks_xlg.jpgghost_in_the_shell_xlg.jpgDB5m0ctUIAAtAB1.jpgMother-Poster-Rosemarys_1200_1789_81_s.j

 

 

There’s a thing called Murphy’s Law, which states anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This was the perfect definition for Paramount Pictures this year. Even some of the “success stories” still had some sort of negative spin upon them.

 

At $534.3 million, this was Paramount’s lowest-grossing year since 2004, ranking dead least from the big six. Even Lionsgate, a mini-major, beat them this year. But to best explain the problem, let’s go all the way back to 2011.

 

At that point, Paramount was at the top of their game. Not only were they fresh off of prior hits like G.I. Joe, Paranormal Activity, and Star Trek, but 2011 saw them become the highest-grossing studio of that year, thanks to the boffo success of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the resurgence of Mission: Impossible with Ghost Protocol, the solid gross of Super 8 and Rango, and two reliable moneymakers: Marvel and Dreamworks. Consistently delivering $100M+ grosses, these studios gave Paramount a lot of money and success in the late aughts and early 2010s. But it was on that year where tragedy struck, for the next MCU films would now be distributed by Disney. The following year saw Paramount’s contract with Dreamworks end, with the studio moving over to Fox, and the studio soon dropped all the way down to 7th place, and wasn’t even able to gross above $1 billion for that calendar year. The next few years saw ups and downs, from promising new blood like Ninja Turtles (well, for like 1 movie) and Daddy’s Home, to reliable hitmakers like Mission: Impossible and Spongebob, to solid grosses for Oscar contenders like Wolf of Wall Street, to box office drops from franchises like Transformers and Star Trek, to disastrous starts for properties like Terminator.

 

In 2017, things went down to an all-time low. First up was Monster Trucks. Envisioned by a Paramount executive’s four year-old son, because in Hollywood, even paste-eaters can make it big, the film was supposed to come out in May of 2015. But due to disastrous test screenings where kids were screaming and running away from the theater due to how scary the original design of the monster Creech was, it was retooled and reworked and delayed multiple times, only to end up on MLK weekend 2017. Even Paramount knew this was a disaster, as they already made a $115 million write-down just months before the movie even came out, and unsurprisingly, the film was panned by critics, and bombed, grossing $64.5 million worldwide on a $125 million budget. A disastrous gross for what was supposed to be Paramount Animation’s follow-up to Sponge Out of Water.

 

The following week saw xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. The first xXx was a modest success that largely got to where it got due to Vin Diesel’s success with the first Fast and Furious movie, as shown by the gross for State of the Union, and for this. Having old, tired Vinny D try and do cool extreme sports stunts didn’t attract many audiences here in America, as the film only made $44.9 million. However, what did help was its overseas gross, particularly in China. Thanks to the inclusion of Donnie Yen, the film grossed over $164 million in China, which helped lead to a $301.2 million overseas total and a $346.1 million worldwide gross. On an $85 million production budget, the film still managed to break even and generate a decent profit. Vinny D said he was contacted by Paramount for a sequel, so we’ll see what happens.

 

Super Bowl weekend saw Rings, a sequel to the first two films back in the early 2000s. Like Monster Trucks, this was also supposed to come out in 2015. But because the film was a complete disaster, it was delayed multiple times, only to end up in 2017. The film was panned by critics and audiences, and is widely considered one of the worst films of the year. It did break even with a $83.1 million worldwide gross on a $25 million budget, but after such a critical disaster, the franchise will likely stay dormant for the next few years, killing off a franchise that was already dead for a long while.

 

March later saw Ghost in the Shell. Based on the manga and anime film of the same name, this feature was acquired by Disney after the studio split with Dreamworks Pictures. Right from the announcement of Scarlett Johansson as the Major, the film was already hit with controversy due to racism and whitewashing accusations. When the film finally came out, against a marketing and production budget of around $250 million, the film grossed $40.5 million domestically and $169.8 million worldwide, a disastrous result that could have easily been seen a mile away. Live-action anime adaptations already had a bad rap, but when you add in whitewashing controversy, a marketing campaign that didn’t sell a story, and poor reviews, you had a film that didn’t appeal to fans and turned off newcomers. Paramount is expected to lose $60 million on the feature.

 

Memorial Day weekend saw Baywatch. I already said everything I wanted to say in the comedy entry.

 

Then in June, Paramount’s big tentpole, Transformers: The Last Knight, was released. Promising an evil Optimus Prime, a good dosage of #GirlPower, and a story that involved King Arthur, Nazis, and Harriet Tubman, this ended up being a disaster for the studio. It got negative reviews, as expected, but this time, audiences stayed far away from the movie. Originally tracking suggested the film would open towards a $70-75M 5-day weekend, which was already the lowest of the franchise. But soon, it dropped all the way down to $68.4 million, a number so low it didn’t even match with the previous films’ three-day openers. Legs also weren’t very kind, as the film ended up with a $130.2 million domestic gross. Worldwide wasn’t much better, with a $605.4 million total, making it the lowest of the franchise. This is a terrible sign for the future, as Paramount was planning on creating a Transformers Cinematic Universe, with up to 12 films in development, but with the massive rejection of The Last Knight from all audiences, the idea will either be dramatically scaled down, or just be completely scrapped. At least we got Cogman out of it though. (paging @CoolioD1 @Chewy and @aabattery)

 

And then there was mother! This psychological horror film was the first in what I like to call the “Paramount Auteur Trilogy” a series of films that were released back-to-back-to-back, and were Paramount’s attempts at trying to earn Oscar gold. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film certainly had a unique marketing campaign, as much of the advertising shrouded itself in mystery. All that it showed was Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, a house, some crazy cult, and that was about it. It kept its plot and sequences mostly hidden, as it was hyped up as a film audiences needed to see to believe. But once it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, things started to fall apart. It polarized critics and attendees, as some saw it as a work of art, while others saw it as a pretentious, disturbing mess. But Paramount wasn’t deterred. They tried so hard to make this movie a hit they had a trailer play in front of It that literally stated “After you see It, go and buy tickets for mother!”

 

In the end, people didn’t. The film opened to only $7.5 million, and while critical reception was still okay enough, even if still polarizing, general audiences flat-out despised it, for the film became one of the few to earn an “F” Cinemascore, dooming the film to an awful $17.8M domestic and $44.5M worldwide gross, dooming its chances at any Oscar nominations.

 

The month after saw the release of Suburbicon. Directed by George Clooney, the film was based on a script made in 1986, more than 30 years after the movie actually got made. This already seemed like a bad sign, but once it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, the film was critically savaged for its jumbled script and commentary, leading to the film earning a “D-” Cinemascore, and opening to only $2.8 million, and ending with $5.8 million, a complete dumpster fire in every way, shape and form.

 

November saw Daddy’s Home 2. That is probably one of only two bright spots for Paramount, and the only one domestic-wise. It still lost more than $50 million from the first film, but it still made more than most other comedies this year, and its worldwide gross ($179.1M) isn’t that bad. For a sequel to a movie that was really only a hit due to sold-out shows of The Force Awakens, it could have done a lot worse.

 

Last, and certainly least, was Downsizing. Its creative premise about shrinking humans down to combat overpopulation had potential, but once it hit film festivals, the film quickly garnered mixed reviews from critics, and audiences also hated the film, with a “C” Cinemascore, due to its weak execution and offensive portrayal of the Vietnamese character Ngoc Lan Tran, played by newcomer Hong Chau. Chau did earn a Golden Globe nomination, but Downsizing, and the film itself, did not play well with the Academy at all, leading to her being snubbed.

 

In the end, I do somewhat admire what Paramount was trying to do with this lineup. They tried to go for movies that were off-color, by reviving old 2000s franchises, try and develop potential new franchises off of crazy ideas, and distributing Oscar contenders that were unlike the usual Oscar bait material. But sadly, it just didn’t work. Through a combination of unappealing features, brands no one cared about, and for the most part awful films, it put the Mountain in freefall, and ended up with the studio earning a disastrous ending total.

 

2018 sadly doesn’t look any better, Mission: Impossible 6 aside. Annihilation has already been sold off to Netflix for overseas distribution, Cloverfield 3 and Action Point have been delayed yet again, Bumblebee is a spin-off from a dying franchise, and the less said about Sherlock Gnomes, the better. Maybe 2019 will be the year everything turns around for the studio...oh wait, there’s yet another Terminator reboot coming out that year...and Paramount’s planning a “Hasbro Cinematic Universe”...well, at least Top Gun, Spongebob, and The Loud House will do okay.

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WIN #3

IT

"You'll float too."

it_xlg.jpg

 

Release Date: September 9

Director: Andy Muschietti

Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard

B.O. Gross: $327.5M DOM, $700.3M WW

 

At the beginning of the year, the Stephen King adaptation most expected to be the box office smash would be The Dark Tower. The other King adaptation that came out in the same year was a film called It. Based on the popular book of the same name, at first glance, this didn’t seem like an obvious hit. Yeah, scary clowns were becoming a thing because of those freaky sightings that happened in October 2016 (y’all remember that?), but it was still a scary horror flick with no big names and a weaker release date. How could it be as big as a fantasy sci-fi epic like Dark Tower?

 

Then, on April 2017, the teaser dropped. And on that day, the Internet went nuts. It offered intense scares, had a cool Stranger Things vibe, and Pennywise seemed masterfully updated, terrifying audiences before the movie even came out. As a result, the film broke trailer records by becoming the most-viewed teaser in 24 hours. Right then and there, it seemed like the film was going to be a hit, but there was still a ceiling for horror films. They don’t make grosses on the level of some of the other trailer view record-breakers, and they never will. But as time had gone on, all of the elements seemed to have come together to create a perfect storm of buzz and hype. Trailer views for the teaser were great, and the second trailer was just as strong, both in content, and in view count. The horror genre was at an all-time box office high, with the success of films like Split, Get Out, and later Annabelle: Creation. Annabelle also had a 5-minute sneak preview of It, which further enticed and excited horror buffs into seeing the infamous clown.

 

Then you add in a killer marketing campaign, an ultra-popular book and 90s miniseries to cash in on #nostalgia, rave reviews, and a completely dead market after Dunkirk’s release, and it led to an incredible $123.4 million opening, breaking the September OW record, earning the second-highest R-rated opening, and at the time the third-highest opening of the year. Not bad for a $35 million budgeted feature with no recognizable names. The film’s legs were more on the average side, but with such an amazing opening, it didn’t matter. It continued to play well into the Halloween season, exciting Stephen King fans, people who wanted a good scare for the holiday, as well as average audience members who just wanted to see It to see what all the hype was about. With nearly $372.5 million domestically, and over $700.2 million worldwide, It became the highest-grossing horror film of all time, helping launch the horror genre into new heights, and turning Pennywise into a household name.

 

Even after its release, It’s run seems practically ludicrous. A horror film opening in the middle of September with zero starpower making grosses on the level of the average superhero flick is simply jaw-dropping, but due to WB’s savvy marketing, and the film’s high quality, it had led the studio to an incredible win, and massive profit, considering how cheap the budget was in comparison to films surrounding the feature like Suicide Squad or Batman v Superman. It: Chapter 2 is already slated to release in September 2019, and Paramount has already acquired the rights for another King novel with Pet Sematary, which is a film I’m very interested to see when it comes to box office, and in whether it can capitalize on the It effect. Regardless, with this and the Conjuring films, Warner Bros. has become the only studio that can turn horror features into massive worldwide blockbusters and in turn create iconic and recognizable brands worldwide, and it will be exciting to see what the studio will do next, when it comes to both horror and King adaptations.

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58 minutes ago, CoolEric258 said:

FAIL #3

PARAMOUNT PICTURES

"Don't kill the messenger, or the messenger will kill you."

 

 

2018 sadly doesn’t look any better, Mission: Impossible 6 aside. Annihilation has already been sold off to Netflix for overseas distribution, Cloverfield 3 and Action Point have been delayed yet again, Bumblebee is a spin-off from a dying franchise, and the less said about Sherlock Gnomes, the better. Maybe 2019 will be the year everything turns around for the studio...oh wait, there’s yet another Terminator reboot coming out that year...and Paramount’s planning a “Hasbro Cinematic Universe”...well, at least Top Gun, Spongebob, and The Loud House will do okay.

They need to get their act together. We need them to get their act together. With the Disney-Fox deal, audiences need the rest of the majors to be as strong as they can be. Shape up, Paramount.

Edited by Kraken
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I like your list.

 

Few things:

 

The Great Wall is not Matt Damon's "highest grossing" film, if you mean like 3rd or 4th then sure but there are 2 Bourne movies that grossed 400+ and one of the Oceans might of, not sure.

 

Why is Valerian a fail? It's a minor miracle that a studio can make a profit off a 180M film that only grosses 200M. That's a win in my eyes.

 

DM3 did not have a "massive" drop from Minions, it was a 20% drop.

 

Why is Lego Ninjago a big fail? Compared to some of the runners up at least. It's a movie that's made to shift plastic toys. The Lego Movie not so much as it wasn't based on any existing Lego products but Ninjago was just made to sell Ninjago toys, and I'll bet anything that it worked.

 

Why is The Dark Tower a big fail? 112M on 60M budget yeah not very good, but it's not that bad. It grossed more than King Arthur in america and cost a third of the budget, yet is higher on your list... sometimes you can kick off a new series, sometimes you can't.

 

Please amend your suggestion that "we all love" BR2049. It's one of the worst films of the year. 

 

What's Kingsman a disappointment for? It made a similar gross to the first movie, on a similar budget. They're going ahead with the third movie since the second was a success. I think it's a little premature to claim "it seems like it will be a movie the director keeps saying he's working on but will never actually come to fruition." it's been like 3 months since the film came out. Give it a chance.

 

 

Props to giving Paramount a shout out on the fails list.

 

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1 hour ago, Kraken said:

They need to get their act together. We need them to get their act together. With the Disney-Fox deal, audiences need the rest of the majors to be as strong as they can be. Shape up, Paramount.

their 2018 is set to be a lot worse than their 2017. this is their grand line up for the year:

 

Annihilation Paramount 2/23/18
Sherlock Gnomes Paramount 3/23/18
A Quiet Place Paramount 4/6/18
2017 Cloverfield Movie Paramount 4/20/18
Action Point Paramount 5/11/18
Mission: Impossible 6 Paramount 7/27/18
Overlord Paramount 10/26/18
Untitled Paramount Event Film Paramount 11/2/18
Bumblebee Paramount 12/21/18

 

:hahaha::hahaha::hahaha::hahaha:

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On 1/23/2018 at 6:44 PM, Tree Billboards said:

their 2018 is set to be a lot worse than their 2017. this is their grand line up for the year:

 

Annihilation Paramount 2/23/18
Sherlock Gnomes Paramount 3/23/18
A Quiet Place Paramount 4/6/18
2017 Cloverfield Movie Paramount 4/20/18
Action Point Paramount 5/11/18
Mission: Impossible 6 Paramount 7/27/18
Overlord Paramount 10/26/18
Untitled Paramount Event Film Paramount 11/2/18
Bumblebee Paramount 12/21/18

 

:hahaha::hahaha::hahaha::hahaha:

 

Mission: Impossible 6 should be a reliable hit. A Quiet Place is the other one to pay attention to as the combination of an intriguing horror premise and likely low budget should make it the horror breakout of the year.

 

But probably still not enough to plug the losses they saw in 2017.

Edited by Jay Beezy
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On 1/23/2018 at 5:07 PM, Kraken said:

They need to get their act together. We need them to get their act together. With the Disney-Fox deal, audiences need the rest of the majors to be as strong as they can be. Shape up, Paramount.

They fired their head of marketing close to the end of the year. It was said she had influence into what movies were made and how they were made.

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On 24.01.2018 at 1:44 AM, Tree Billboards said:

their 2018 is set to be a lot worse than their 2017. this is their grand line up for the year:

 

Annihilation Paramount 2/23/18
Sherlock Gnomes Paramount 3/23/18
A Quiet Place Paramount 4/6/18
2017 Cloverfield Movie Paramount 4/20/18
Action Point Paramount 5/11/18
Mission: Impossible 6 Paramount 7/27/18
Overlord Paramount 10/26/18
Untitled Paramount Event Film Paramount 11/2/18
Bumblebee Paramount 12/21/18

 

:hahaha::hahaha::hahaha::hahaha:

This is sad. But we (theoretically ) receIve Sony's recovery, may be it'll happen to Paramount. Anyway, I'm looking forward Bumblbee. Travis Knight+Hailey= combo, baby. 

Edited by KeepItU25071906
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On 1/23/2018 at 6:42 PM, Tree Billboards said:

I like your list.

 

Few things:

 

The Great Wall is not Matt Damon's "highest grossing" film, if you mean like 3rd or 4th then sure but there are 2 Bourne movies that grossed 400+ and one of the Oceans might of, not sure.

 

Why is Valerian a fail? It's a minor miracle that a studio can make a profit off a 180M film that only grosses 200M. That's a win in my eyes.

 

DM3 did not have a "massive" drop from Minions, it was a 20% drop.

 

Why is Lego Ninjago a big fail? Compared to some of the runners up at least. It's a movie that's made to shift plastic toys. The Lego Movie not so much as it wasn't based on any existing Lego products but Ninjago was just made to sell Ninjago toys, and I'll bet anything that it worked.

 

Why is The Dark Tower a big fail? 112M on 60M budget yeah not very good, but it's not that bad. It grossed more than King Arthur in america and cost a third of the budget, yet is higher on your list... sometimes you can kick off a new series, sometimes you can't.

 

Please amend your suggestion that "we all love" BR2049. It's one of the worst films of the year. 

 

What's Kingsman a disappointment for? It made a similar gross to the first movie, on a similar budget. They're going ahead with the third movie since the second was a success. I think it's a little premature to claim "it seems like it will be a movie the director keeps saying he's working on but will never actually come to fruition." it's been like 3 months since the film came out. Give it a chance.

 

 

Props to giving Paramount a shout out on the fails list.

 

-The Great Wall: I was talking about his highest-grossing film for the year. Not all-time.

 

-Valerian: Well, I don't consider making $225M on a $180M+ budget as anything "success worthy," especially since it caused layoffs at EuropaCorp, but okay. If anything, having it as a dishonorable mention is far more generous than what most people would put the film at.

 

-DM3: Still, domestic-wise, I feel as if the movie could have done better, both as a follow-up to two monster $330M+ grossers, and when its biggest competitor was Cars 3, which came and went this year, I feel it should have at least crossed $275M, and not make only $15M more than the first film 7 years ago. Maybe "massive" was too strong a word, but I still think the movie could have done a touch better.

 

-Lego Ninjago: It costed only $10 million less than Lego Batman, and the Lego film series was something WB prioritized as one of their big tentpole franchises. Even as a spin-off, with the name recognition of the franchise, you really think WB wanted this to gross less than Storks or Happy Feet Two, and aren't satisfied with the film failing to even gross $150M worldwide?

 

-Dark Tower: For King Arthur, WB has many strong franchises, was something no one was clamoring for, and was automatically predicted to be a bomb. For Dark Tower, Sony has a limited roster of franchises, was a property King fans wanted to see adapted for years, and had plenty of potential to be a hit series (J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard were originally attached for a reason). It killed off something promising and exciting to fans, and all of the plans Sony had envisioned in one fell swoop. Also, how much money was lost is only one of many factors, and Dark Tower had more negative factors in its gross than Arthur, at least IMHO.

 

-Blade Runner: I was generalizing, considering the film garnered critical acclaim and has a lot of fans here on BOT.

 

-Kingsman: There's a reason I said "seems like." Obviously, I don't have a crystal ball, but considering the film did drop from its predecessor, when many believed the film would increase due to strong word of mouth and increase in interest, a la other sleeper hits, and with the imposing Disney/Fox deal likely to affect the studio's output, along with the mixed reception of the first film, I think some of these factors could (key word being "could") put the plans for Kingsman 3 to a halt.

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FAIL #2

THE MUMMY

"Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters."

mummy_ver3_xlg.jpg

 

Release Date: June 9

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Cast: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Russell Crowe

B.O. Gross: $80.2M DOM, $409.2M WW

 

Sweet cheese and crackers, what happened? This film, on paper, had everything going for it, and it managed to tank so hard it not only destroyed its own franchise, but made so many studio executives shaky on the whole “cinematic universe” idea. It’s actually rather sad, as with this film, things were supposed to come full circle.

 

As I’ve stated before, once Marvel hit it big with the MCU, every studio wanted to cash in on their own shared universe. But believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time this type of franchise happened. In the 1920s, Universal, which was home to several classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and others, had been the home to many classic horror films, but in the 1940s, they took the idea of these timeless characters sharing the same realm and put that into film, with crossovers, versus films, and team-up features that continued throughout the decade.

 

Decades later, with Marvel and DC making so much money, Universal decided to give the Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe idea another shot, with their first outing being...Dracula Untold. But the movie had mediocre box office and reviews, and literally nobody remembers that film, so the first true outing was with The Mummy, which in all honesty was a good film to start out with.

 

The previous reboot starring Brendan Fraser was a massive hit, and the sequel was just as big, and while the third film that came out in 2008 disappointed, it still had enough relevancy to still be remembered, and enough time had passed that audiences would likely be open to a reboot. It also featured superstar Tom Cruise, and while he may not be the name he once was, seeing him in an action tentpole not unlike Mission: Impossible was a smart idea. Then you add on some distinct action setpieces, including a plane crash and a chase through London, and while it might not have been anything great, it would have been a decent-sized hit at the box office.

 

Universal certainly seemed confident, as before the movie came out, they put out an online promo that proudly cheered the film and its creation of what would be called the “Dark Universe.” They had already begun casting the other monsters, including Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster, and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man. Universal was also in negotiations with Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, and even Dwayne Johnson for other roles (Frankenstein’s Bride, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman respectively).

 

And then, the reviews came out. Just about everyone trashed the film for being dull, incoherent, poorly-acted, poorly-directed, and for having too many shoehorned elements that attempted to set up the “Dark Universe.” When audiences first got to see the film, they were just as repulsed as critics, with the film earning a “B-” Cinemascore, and opening below a tracked $35-40 million opening, with only $31.7 million, the lowest of all the recent Mummy films, including The Scorpion King. Word of mouth was so toxic, the next few weekends dramatically dropped, leading to the film only earning $80.2 million domestically. Worldwide wasn’t completely awful, as it did gross more than $400 million, but the film’s high production and marketing costs meant the film is estimated to have lost $95 million for Universal.

 

With this film being such a critical and financial disaster, Universal, failing to count their chickens before they hatched, has already pulled the brakes on the idea. 2019 was supposed to see Bride of Frankenstein, directed by Bill Condon, and rumored to star Angelina Jolie. But on November 2017, the people in charge of the universe, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, had moved on to other projects, and while there are rumors the production team for Bride have begun turning the gears again, only with Gal Gadot in the title role, the other planned films in the franchise are likely to be dead in the water, and I doubt Bride of Frankenstein will even get made, leading to one of Universal’s biggest failures of the decade.

 

So, why did something that seemed so lucrative and easy to market and release flop so hard? For one, the focus on the cinematic universe. There’s nothing wrong with cinematic universes, but the problem comes, like with King Arthur, when you focus on making your sixth movie first, and your first movie last. Nobody cares about the other monsters, or Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll. People want Tom Cruise running around, kicking ass, and fighting a mummy. If you can’t deliver on something so basic, then you failed big time. Second, the film was just not good. Again, people just want to see Tom Cruise run around, kick ass, and fight a mummy. But instead, people got a confusing plot, boring characters and action scenes, and a forgettable mess of a product.

 

It’s a shame too, because I actually like the idea of the Dark Universe in concept. Yeah, it sounds kinda corny, but a Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe was a great success before, horror can and should deliver box office grosses on the level of massive tentpoles, and these monsters are important, timeless characters who deserve to be appreciated by a new generation. But sorry to say, this is certainly not the way to do it. Maybe Universal will one day crack the code and deliver a universe that’s exciting, fun, scary, and entertaining, but it's best the whole idea stays dead for a little while longer.

Edited by CoolEric258
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WIN #2

GET OUT

"If I could, I would have voted for Obama for a third term."

get_out_ver2_xlg.jpg

 

Release Date: February 24

Director: Jordan Peele

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Catherine Keener

B.O. Gross: $175.9M DOM, $254.9M

 

Unlike The Mummy, Get Out, on paper, seemed like it would have made nowhere near as much money as it did. Obviously it would still be a hit (with a $5 million budget, it was practically forced to be a hit), but become one of the top 15 grossers of the year? It seemed near impossible even a week before it came out.

 

It premiered in late February, which isn’t necessarily a bad release date, but not some massive tentpole weekend like in the summer, March, or even pre-President’s Day or President’s Day weekend. It’s a horror-comedy, which has always been hit-and-miss when it comes to box office. It wasn’t based on any established brand or setting up some sort of shared universe, like Stephen King, or The Conjuring, unless you want to count Blumhouse. It was a cheap film, only a $4.5 million budget, so it wasn’t like Universal had plans to make it into some tentpole giant. The film had zero starpower, to the point where the biggest name was the director, Jordan Peele. Speaking of Peele, not only was it his directorial debut, meaning audiences didn’t know how he was as a filmmaker, but he also was best known for being on a sketch comedy show. Why on earth was he making a horror film? And having the main topic of the film be on the horrors of racism, a touchy subject that is often dodged instead of addressed, especially after the recent US election, made this seem like a film destined for $30 million at most. Even Jordan Peele thought it wasn’t going to be a big hit, as he quoted in Los Angeles Times, “What if white people don't want to come see the movie because they're afraid of being villainized with black people in the crowd? What if black people don't want to see the movie because they don't want to sit next to a white person while a black person is being victimized on-screen?”

 

And then, it premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. People praised the film for its writing, direction, acting, the whole shebang. But even if it was critically-acclaimed, that still didn’t automatically mean it would make boffo numbers.

 

But as review buzz continued to grow, and the market was close to empty, the film opened to $33.4 million on Oscar weekend, which is somewhat ironic when you consider the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that emerged a year before the movie came out. When that happened, even Peele and Blum dropped their jaws. Here, this politically-charged horror film managed to become #1 and go above its $20-25 million tracking by a significant margin, shocking the industry and automatically turning Jordan Peele into a Hollywood superstar. And then, next weekend rolled around. With horror being a frontloaded genre, and with the debut of the hotly-anticipated Logan, most expected the film would take a big drop. But miraculously, it didn’t. Thanks to strong and passionate word of mouth, the film dropped a slim 15% in weekend two, earning $28.2 million. That never happens to horror movies. Just dropping around 45% would be considered amazing. This proved this was here to stay, word was incredibly strong, and people were willing to have this movie be as big of a priority as a Marvel movie.

 

Next week also saw the release of Kong: Skull Island, which generated an impressive opening and along with Logan took up a lot of screens. And yet Get Out was not deterred, as it only dropped 27% in weekend three, and on that weekend it had broken the $100 million threshold, a threshold that seemed impossible to reach just a couple of weeks ago. It ensured the film would become one of the biggest horror films in years.

 

Weekend four saw Beauty and the Beast, a massive four-quad tentpole capturing all audiences from all demographics. Surely it would have left a dent in Get Out’s performance. Again, Get Out wasn’t deterred. It dropped 35%, the lowest drop in the top 10, and was only $3 million or so behind Split, meaning that the film would soon surpass that film and become the biggest film. It later beat Split the following Wednesday. Then the next few weeks saw even more phenomenal holds (34%, 36%, 28%, 26%), and the film managed to end by grossing above $175 million, making it the biggest R-rated horror film since Blair Witch Project...then it was unseated by It, but we’ve already gone on about that film. Overseas also wasn’t too shabby, especially since the topic was targeted strictly at American audiences, making it gross over $250 million

 

I’m sure many people would be confused as to why a film that did only $250M would be so high up on the list, while other films made upwards of $500M, $750M or even $1B are ranked lower. The thing to remember when it comes to my rankings is that surprise factor plays a huge part in my rankings. If you do what’s expected, you’re not anything special. With Get Out, no one, and I do mean no one expected this movie to make the money that it did. $175 million meant that the film outgrossed a good chunk of major franchise films that came out this year, including Kong, Pirates, Apes, Transformers, and so many more.

 

So why was this film such a hit? The main reason, ironically, comes down to its content. The topic of racism has been addressed multiple times in film, but this is one of the first to move away from the stereotypical “redneck racism” or the “I’m not a racist, but...”, but instead focus on “West Wing liberals” and their accidental racism. Their ways on how they treat black people more as commodities or accessories instead of people. How they try to hide their obsession with their skin color, yet fail to do so. How they try to combat racism, and yet do more harm than good.

 

It was an idea that had never been done before, at least in mainstream cinema, and using it as a horror film at a dangerous political time for many African-Americans really made it something people responded to. This led to an incredible opening weekend, and with Jordan Peele’s sharp writing, intense direction, and brilliant commentary, the film struck a chord, and made people go out of their way to be a part of the conversation and either reaffirm or learn about what Mr. Peele has to say about modern race relations in America.

 

This film was a part of a banner year for many different creatives who had worked on the film, from the actors, producers, and of course the director.

 

Daniel Kaluuya, who was mostly a part of British TV like Skins and Black Mirror, was a complete unknown in the States, but thanks to this film, he has quickly become one of the most exciting up-and-comers in years. His performance as Chris, both as a relatable protagonist, a symbol of century-long oppression, and him effectively dealing with the subtle racism many African-Americans have to deal with every day led him garnering multiple accolades, including the BAFTA, the SAG, the Golden Globe, and the Oscar. He’s already attached to Black Panther, and hopefully Steve McQueen will give him a meaty role in the film Widows, so that we can see him in the Oscar nomination list again.

 

Jason Blum has always been one of the savviest producers out there. Take a film that costs about as much as the catering for a Marvel film, make effective-looking trailers to get butts into seats, and make profit on the first weekend alone. It’s led to several massive hits, like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Purge, but Get Out was a huge factor in a banner year for Blum and his production company. Get Out landed at the Oscars. Split grossed over $278 million worldwide, generating a new franchise. Even Happy Death Day was a sleeper hit, becoming the choice horror film for the Halloween season, and potentially turning Jessica Rothe into a new Hollywood star. Blumhouse’s strong momentum is continuing into the new year, as the latest Insidious film, The Last Key, delivered over $29 million in its opening weekend, the second highest in the franchise, and the film is expected to end up with around $70 million domestic, and $150 million worldwide, making it, again, the second biggest film in the franchise. The next few films slated for release, Truth or Dare, The Purge 4, and Halloween, are also set to be box office smashes when they release too.

 

However, the man that garnered the most success is Jordan Peele himself, as he is now the most sought-after director in Hollywood, with a ton of projects on his plate. His next project is the TBS sitcom The Last O.G., coming in March, with other TV projects including the HBO drama Lovecraft Country, which will be co-produced with J.J Abrams,  a Nazi hunting drama called The Hunt, which is currently being bidded on by different television networks, and another revival of The Twilight Zone for the streaming service CBS All Access. Film-wise, he’s already attached as a producer for the upcoming Spike Lee film Black Klanman, which is expected to drop sometime this year and hopefully becomes an Oscar contender, and in March 2019, he has yet another social thriller currently under wraps, in what is expected to be a long list of other social thrillers within the next few years.

 

In all, Get Out became an out-of-nowhere monster that launched a promising new director’s career to new heights overnight, represented an incredible year for both its production company and its genre, and more importantly, has helped bring racism and white-black relations into productive and meaningful discussion, something very few films this year had done this year. That, and more, is plenty enough reason for Get Out to be in the #2 slot.

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Hey everyone, the #1 slots are on the way, but I should mention a couple of things:

 

First, I'm sorry that the postings have been more sporadic for me lately. I'm back in college, and the way that my schedule is now working means that I basically have to work on courses and assignments on the weekdays, and deal with super busy and long shifts at my part-time job on the weekend. Then you add on an unfortunate case of mild seasonal depression, and I just don't have much time or energy to sit down and write up my stuff. But I promise, I will get this done by the time Black Panther weekend rolls around.

 

Second, before I get into #1, I actually do have to make an addendum. If you've been following the box office at all within the past couple of weeks, you know that there's a movie out that's been having phenomenal holds after an awful opening. I feel it's an incredible run that warrants discussion, so I'll be adding an addendum to the wins list. Just pretend that it's a #11 spot, I guess. ;)

 

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On 1/23/2018 at 4:09 PM, CoolEric258 said:

FAIL #3

PARAMOUNT PICTURES

"Don't kill the messenger, or the messenger will kill you."

monster_trucks_xlg.jpgghost_in_the_shell_xlg.jpgDB5m0ctUIAAtAB1.jpgMother-Poster-Rosemarys_1200_1789_81_s.j

 

 

There’s a thing called Murphy’s Law, which states anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This was the perfect definition for Paramount Pictures this year. Even some of the “success stories” still had some sort of negative spin upon them.

 

At $534.3 million, this was Paramount’s lowest-grossing year since 2004, ranking dead least from the big six. Even Lionsgate, a mini-major, beat them this year. But to best explain the problem, let’s go all the way back to 2011.

 

At that point, Paramount was at the top of their game. Not only were they fresh off of prior hits like G.I. Joe, Paranormal Activity, and Star Trek, but 2011 saw them become the highest-grossing studio of that year, thanks to the boffo success of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the resurgence of Mission: Impossible with Ghost Protocol, the solid gross of Super 8 and Rango, and two reliable moneymakers: Marvel and Dreamworks. Consistently delivering $100M+ grosses, these studios gave Paramount a lot of money and success in the late aughts and early 2010s. But it was on that year where tragedy struck, for the next MCU films would now be distributed by Disney. The following year saw Paramount’s contract with Dreamworks end, with the studio moving over to Fox, and the studio soon dropped all the way down to 7th place, and wasn’t even able to gross above $1 billion for that calendar year. The next few years saw ups and downs, from promising new blood like Ninja Turtles (well, for like 1 movie) and Daddy’s Home, to reliable hitmakers like Mission: Impossible and Spongebob, to solid grosses for Oscar contenders like Wolf of Wall Street, to box office drops from franchises like Transformers and Star Trek, to disastrous starts for properties like Terminator.

 

In 2017, things went down to an all-time low. First up was Monster Trucks. Envisioned by a Paramount executive’s four year-old son, because in Hollywood, even paste-eaters can make it big, the film was supposed to come out in May of 2015. But due to disastrous test screenings where kids were screaming and running away from the theater due to how scary the original design of the monster Creech was, it was retooled and reworked and delayed multiple times, only to end up on MLK weekend 2017. Even Paramount knew this was a disaster, as they already made a $115 million write-down just months before the movie even came out, and unsurprisingly, the film was panned by critics, and bombed, grossing $64.5 million worldwide on a $125 million budget. A disastrous gross for what was supposed to be Paramount Animation’s follow-up to Sponge Out of Water.

 

The following week saw xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. The first xXx was a modest success that largely got to where it got due to Vin Diesel’s success with the first Fast and Furious movie, as shown by the gross for State of the Union, and for this. Having old, tired Vinny D try and do cool extreme sports stunts didn’t attract many audiences here in America, as the film only made $44.9 million. However, what did help was its overseas gross, particularly in China. Thanks to the inclusion of Donnie Yen, the film grossed over $164 million in China, which helped lead to a $301.2 million overseas total and a $346.1 million worldwide gross. On an $85 million production budget, the film still managed to break even and generate a decent profit. Vinny D said he was contacted by Paramount for a sequel, so we’ll see what happens.

 

Super Bowl weekend saw Rings, a sequel to the first two films back in the early 2000s. Like Monster Trucks, this was also supposed to come out in 2015. But because the film was a complete disaster, it was delayed multiple times, only to end up in 2017. The film was panned by critics and audiences, and is widely considered one of the worst films of the year. It did break even with a $83.1 million worldwide gross on a $25 million budget, but after such a critical disaster, the franchise will likely stay dormant for the next few years, killing off a franchise that was already dead for a long while.

 

March later saw Ghost in the Shell. Based on the manga and anime film of the same name, this feature was acquired by Disney after the studio split with Dreamworks Pictures. Right from the announcement of Scarlett Johansson as the Major, the film was already hit with controversy due to racism and whitewashing accusations. When the film finally came out, against a marketing and production budget of around $250 million, the film grossed $40.5 million domestically and $169.8 million worldwide, a disastrous result that could have easily been seen a mile away. Live-action anime adaptations already had a bad rap, but when you add in whitewashing controversy, a marketing campaign that didn’t sell a story, and poor reviews, you had a film that didn’t appeal to fans and turned off newcomers. Paramount is expected to lose $60 million on the feature.

 

Memorial Day weekend saw Baywatch. I already said everything I wanted to say in the comedy entry.

 

Then in June, Paramount’s big tentpole, Transformers: The Last Knight, was released. Promising an evil Optimus Prime, a good dosage of #GirlPower, and a story that involved King Arthur, Nazis, and Harriet Tubman, this ended up being a disaster for the studio. It got negative reviews, as expected, but this time, audiences stayed far away from the movie. Originally tracking suggested the film would open towards a $70-75M 5-day weekend, which was already the lowest of the franchise. But soon, it dropped all the way down to $68.4 million, a number so low it didn’t even match with the previous films’ three-day openers. Legs also weren’t very kind, as the film ended up with a $130.2 million domestic gross. Worldwide wasn’t much better, with a $605.4 million total, making it the lowest of the franchise. This is a terrible sign for the future, as Paramount was planning on creating a Transformers Cinematic Universe, with up to 12 films in development, but with the massive rejection of The Last Knight from all audiences, the idea will either be dramatically scaled down, or just be completely scrapped. At least we got Cogman out of it though. (paging @CoolioD1 @Chewy and @aabattery)

 

And then there was mother! This psychological horror film was the first in what I like to call the “Paramount Auteur Trilogy” a series of films that were released back-to-back-to-back, and were Paramount’s attempts at trying to earn Oscar gold. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film certainly had a unique marketing campaign, as much of the advertising shrouded itself in mystery. All that it showed was Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, a house, some crazy cult, and that was about it. It kept its plot and sequences mostly hidden, as it was hyped up as a film audiences needed to see to believe. But once it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, things started to fall apart. It polarized critics and attendees, as some saw it as a work of art, while others saw it as a pretentious, disturbing mess. But Paramount wasn’t deterred. They tried so hard to make this movie a hit they had a trailer play in front of It that literally stated “After you see It, go and buy tickets for mother!”

 

In the end, people didn’t. The film opened to only $7.5 million, and while critical reception was still okay enough, even if still polarizing, general audiences flat-out despised it, for the film became one of the few to earn an “F” Cinemascore, dooming the film to an awful $17.8M domestic and $44.5M worldwide gross, dooming its chances at any Oscar nominations.

 

The month after saw the release of Suburbicon. Directed by George Clooney, the film was based on a script made in 1986, more than 30 years after the movie actually got made. This already seemed like a bad sign, but once it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, the film was critically savaged for its jumbled script and commentary, leading to the film earning a “D-” Cinemascore, and opening to only $2.8 million, and ending with $5.8 million, a complete dumpster fire in every way, shape and form.

 

November saw Daddy’s Home 2. That is probably one of only two bright spots for Paramount, and the only one domestic-wise. It still lost more than $50 million from the first film, but it still made more than most other comedies this year, and its worldwide gross ($179.1M) isn’t that bad. For a sequel to a movie that was really only a hit due to sold-out shows of The Force Awakens, it could have done a lot worse.

 

Last, and certainly least, was Downsizing. Its creative premise about shrinking humans down to combat overpopulation had potential, but once it hit film festivals, the film quickly garnered mixed reviews from critics, and audiences also hated the film, with a “C” Cinemascore, due to its weak execution and offensive portrayal of the Vietnamese character Ngoc Lan Tran, played by newcomer Hong Chau. Chau did earn a Golden Globe nomination, but Downsizing, and the film itself, did not play well with the Academy at all, leading to her being snubbed.

 

In the end, I do somewhat admire what Paramount was trying to do with this lineup. They tried to go for movies that were off-color, by reviving old 2000s franchises, try and develop potential new franchises off of crazy ideas, and distributing Oscar contenders that were unlike the usual Oscar bait material. But sadly, it just didn’t work. Through a combination of unappealing features, brands no one cared about, and for the most part awful films, it put the Mountain in freefall, and ended up with the studio earning a disastrous ending total.

 

2018 sadly doesn’t look any better, Mission: Impossible 6 aside. Annihilation has already been sold off to Netflix for overseas distribution, Cloverfield 3 and Action Point have been delayed yet again, Bumblebee is a spin-off from a dying franchise, and the less said about Sherlock Gnomes, the better. Maybe 2019 will be the year everything turns around for the studio...oh wait, there’s yet another Terminator reboot coming out that year...and Paramount’s planning a “Hasbro Cinematic Universe”...well, at least Top Gun, Spongebob, and The Loud House will do okay.

This makes me sad, but is so accurate. I remember when Paramount was releasing many of my favorite films. Like Star Trek, and HTTYD. I think them losing both DreamWorks and Marvel almost at the same time was a massive blow to the studio that I'm not sure they will ever recover from completely. I do hope they can get back on their feet again, because the idea of Disney buying out and taking over everything terrifies me.

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