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The Odd Case of the Disappearence of the “Non-Franchise” Film

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Let’s look at the averages of “non-franchise” hits the last 5 Years, 10 years prior and then 20 years prior.

 

Ill allow franchise starters and soft-readaptions (Legend of Tarzan, The Grinch, etc) to count.

 

Non-Franchise 100m+ Films 2018 (2019 ticket prices):



Bohemian Rhapsody

A Star is Born

The Grinch

A Quiet Place

Crazy Rich Asians

The Meg

Ready Player One

Peter Rabbit

The Mule

Rampage

A Wrinkle in Time

Total: 11 (3 200m+, 5 150m+)

Percentage is 100m flms (2019 price): 34.4%

 

2017:



It

Coco

Dunkirk

Get Out

The Boss Baby

The Greatest Showman

Split

Wonder

Girls Trip

Baby Driver

Murder on the Orient Express

Total: 11 

Percent: 34.4%

 

2016:



The Secret Life of Pets

Zootopia

Sing

Moana

Hidden Figures

Trolls

La La Land

Central Intelligence

The Legend of Tarzan

Sully

Bad Moms

The Angry Birds Movie

Arrival

Passengers

Sausage Party

Total: 15 

Percent: 48.4%

 

2015:

Inside Out

The Martian

The Revenant 

Home

Straight Outta Compton

San Andreas

Daddy’s Home

Kingsman: The Secret Service

The Good Dinosaur

Spy

Trainwreck

Total: 11

Percent: 37.9%

 

2014:



American Sniper

The LEGO Movie

Maleficent

Big Hero 6

Interstellar

Gone Girl

Divergent

Neighbors

Ride Along

Into the Woods

Lucy

The Fault in Our Stars

Unbroken

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

The Maze Runner

The Equalizer

Noah

Edge of Tomorrow

Non-Stop

Imitation Game

Total: 20

Percent: 57.1%

 

The average: 13.6 Non-Franchise “Hits” a year

Average Percentage: 42.4%

 

Looking 10 Years prior

 

2008



Iron Man

Hancock

Wall-E

Kung Fu Panda

Twilight

Horton Hears a Who

Sex and the City

Mamma Mia!

Gran Torino

Marley and Me

Slumdog Millionaire

Wanted

Get Smart

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Four Christmases

Bolt

Tropic Thunder

Bedtime Stories

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Eagle Eye

Step Brothers

You Don’t Mess With Zohan

Yes Man

10,000 BC

Beverly Hills Chihuahua 

Pineapple Express

21

Valkyrie

What Happens in Vegas

Jumper

Cloverfield

Total: 33

Percentage: 84.6%

 

2007



Transformers

I Am Legend

Alvin and the Chipmunks

300

Ratatouille

The Simpson’s Movie

Wild Hogs

Knocked Up

Juno

American Gangster

Enchanted

The Bee Movie

Superbad

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Hairspray

Blades of Glory

Ghost Rider

Meet the Robinsons

Norbit

The Game Plan

The Bucket List

Bridge to Terabithia

Beowulf

Disturbia

Total: 24

Percentage: 68.6%

 

2006



Cars

Night at the Museum

The Da Vinci Code

Happy Feet

The Pursuit of Happyness 

Over the Hedge

Talladega Nights

Click

The Departed

Borat

The Devil Wears Prada

The Break-Up

Dreamgirls

Failure to Launch

Inside Man

Open Season

Eight Below

Nacho Libre

You, Me and Dupree

Eragon

Monster House

Total: 21

Percentage: 63.6%

 

2005



Chronicles of Narnia

War of the Worlds

Wedding Crashers

Madagascar

Mr and Mrs Smith

Hitch

The Longest Yard

Fantastic Four

Chicken Little

Robots

Walk the Line

The Pacifier

The 40 Year Old Virgin

Fun With Dick and Jane

Flightplan

Monster in Law

Are We There Yet?

Brokeback Mountain

The Dukes of Hazard

March of the Penguins

Constantine

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Four Brothers

Sin City

The Interpreter

Total: 25 

Percentage: 75.8%

 

2004



The Passion of the Christ

Meet the Fockers

The Incredibles

The Day After Tomorrow

National Treasure

The Polar Express

Shark Tale

I, Robot

Troy

50 First Dates

Van Helsing

Farenheit 9/11

Lemony Snickett

Dodgeball

The Village

The Grudge

Collateral

The Aviator

Million Dollar Baby

Starsky and Hutch

Along Came Polly

Mean Girls

Anchorman

The SpongeBob Movie

The Notebook

Man on Fire

The Terminal

Garfield

Ray

Ladder 49

Christmas with the Kranks

White Chicks

Sideways

Total: 33

Percentage: 80.5%

 

Average Total: 27.2

Percent: 74.6%

 

So 10 Years who we were averaging more than twice the number of Non-Franchise “hits” that we are now.

 

Non-Franchise films made up 3/4 of the hits from the sample from last decade, yet they make up less than half of the hits in the sample from this decade (and just over a third of them the last two years).

 

It’s hard to judge creativity with a metric, but by this one it’d appear mainstream films have gotten less creative (or at least much more franchised to a point where it’s not really deniable).

 

And a quick count (without listing them from the 90s)

 

1998

Total: 38

Percent: 92.7%

 

1997

Total: 30

Percent: 83.3%

 

1996

Total: 29

Percent: 93.6%

 

1995

Total: 31

Percent: 83.4%

 

1994

Total: 25

Percent: 86.2%

 

Average: 30.6

Percent Avg: 87.8%

 

So there was already a trend going from original films to franchised films, but it seems like it exponentialized this decade.

 

There’s a few primary guesses I’d have:

 

Rise of streaming platforms

Market Consolidation (Disney in particular)

Introduction of Cinematic Universes

Success of easily adaptable serial material (Comic Books, Star Wars, Remakes, etc)

Success of Nostalgia based products (rehashing old products, fits in with easily adaptable material)

 

Those are all things that have grown more prevalent this decade (while a few of them began last decade).  Hard to say which of them takes the bill for the primary reason why, or if there even is a primary reason and it’s a large mixture of many.

 

I may try to do some more formal, and not off-hand, analysis of this later in this thread.  But I thought I’d open up this topic as a water cooler type of discussion

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4 minutes ago, CJohn said:

Those movies belong to Netflix now.

I could potentially run a regression analysis for some of people’s guesses.  Idk how much the results would say or not, mostly because the rise of streaming and the cinematic universe rise happened around the same time.

 

Would want to figure out a sound idea of how to test it without getting spurious correlations before taking the time to try.

Edited by The Panda
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6 minutes ago, TMP said:

When Once Upon a Time in Hollywood saves us from this wasteland of a summer, this will age poorly.

Yes, but I think part of this thread is to also show that just because we get a “Non-Franchise” hit, that doesn’t mean they’re anywhere near as prevalent as they used to be.

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Sorta amuses me that Booksmart (or perhaps more accurately, Olivia Wilde's tweet on the movie's opening weekend) ended up being the movie that would serve as the wake up call to the industry. J.J. Abrams actually cited that movie in that big NYT piece with a number of big name industry figures a few weeks back.

 

I remember there were concerns about the movie industry surviving around 2005-2006 when the DVD market was booming and the box office was down a bit but eventually recovered. That said, it is concerning how certain genres of movies are rarely made anymore within the past few years (or are being sent to Netflix where they give off the appearance of a production budget of $20). Adult dramas/Oscar contenders are mostly relegated to the indie world now while comedies have largely dried up. It's two years this month since the last original comedy that made $100M+ and four years on Christmas since the last one that made $150M+. Probably gonna take another instant classic like The Hangover or Bridesmaids (which we haven't had since those movies were released) to turn the genre around but will we even get the chance to reach that point? I know we're witnessing an industry in transition (one of the big studios was sold off and doesn't exist anymore, for one) but...

Edited by filmlover
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It’s worth noting there are movies still being made (although idk if as many, didn’t check that, doubt it) that are non-franchise and would have been a hhit 10 years ago, such as Booksmart and Yesterday.

 

People are also just less willing to give these non-tentpole films a try in the theaters.

Edited by The Panda
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8 minutes ago, filmlover said:

t's two years this month since the last original comedy that made $100M+ and four years on Christmas since the last one that made $150M+

I don't even remember what those are.

 

There will never be another Hangover.

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1 minute ago, Slambros said:

The wells are drying out.

 

I don't know what else to say other than that.

Idk if it has to do with Hollywood just getting less creative.  More that the less creative efforts are getting rewarded and the more original content isn’t hitting as well.

 

Original content requires more risk, so if you have safe franchise films to spend your budget on, a studio is going to be more inclined to do that

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2 minutes ago, The Panda said:

Idk if it has to do with Hollywood just getting less creative.  More that the less creative efforts are getting rewarded and the more original content isn’t hitting as well.

 

Original content requires more risk, so if you have safe franchise films to spend your budget on, a studio is going to be more inclined to do that

 

It's courage that we need in the industry.

 

That's why I'm excited for Warner Bros. They're greenlighting Dune. They're greenlighting Akira. They're greenlighting Methuselah. They've chosen to be courageous. I pray that others choose to be courageous as well.

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10 minutes ago, Slambros said:

 

It's courage that we need in the industry.

 

That's why I'm excited for Warner Bros. They're greenlighting Dune. They're greenlighting Akira. They're greenlighting Methuselah. They've chosen to be courageous. I pray that others choose to be courageous as well.

 

It's not about what we need, but what we give. If we give money to original content, the industry will start focusing on original content.

 

If not, studios can't keep wasting money just to show they have courage. 

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21 minutes ago, Slambros said:

 

It's courage that we need in the industry.

 

That's why I'm excited for Warner Bros. They're greenlighting Dune. They're greenlighting Akira. They're greenlighting Methuselah. They've chosen to be courageous. I pray that others choose to be courageous as well.

Akira is a remake of a cartoon lmao. Dune is gonna be incredible though, BR 2049 smokes every single big budget film released since BR 2049.

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Matt Zoller Seitz made a gigantic Twitter thread about this months ago, and he mentioned the biggest issue comes down to ticket prices.

 

 

 

 

This can also apply to what's selling at the moment. People are way more choosy, and want something that will give them their money's worth, both in quality and in the theatrical experience. So remakes and franchises reign supreme in that regard. It's familiar, so for many, it's not worth the risk. And that also applies to the non-franchise films that are currently hitting.

 

Looking at last year, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born benefit from surround sound playing awesome music full blast. Bohemian also benefits from songs people are familiar with. The Grinch is an iconic IP that's loved by all ages. A Quiet Place's concept basically forces people to stay quiet as a mouse throughout the movie ("I get to see a movie without annoying patrons? Ticket for me!"). Crazy Rich Asians not only was the first major representation for Asian-Americans in decades, but it also had gorgeous scenic shots of Singapore plastered on the big screen. The Meg and Rampage had giant monsters, whose impact can't be recreated on a TV or laptop. Ready Player One had spectacle for days (I know some people think that movie's ugly, but it certainly appealed to some people). And even A Wrinkle in Time had spectacle and minority representation that is still not that common.

 

The only two movies from last year that didn't fall into any categories that make something "worthy of seeing in a theater' were Peter Rabbit and The Mule. And even then, those movies got help from the time they released (Peter Rabbit was literally the only thing that appealed to little kids, while The Mule was out on Christmas, when people didn't have work or school, and had literally nothing else to do).

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28 minutes ago, Slambros said:

 

It's courage that we need in the industry.

 

That's why I'm excited for Warner Bros. They're greenlighting Dune. They're greenlighting Akira. They're greenlighting Methuselah. They've chosen to be courageous. I pray that others choose to be courageous as well.

FWIW Sony is one of the few studios that hasn't mostly abandoned the adult prestige movie either. They're putting out Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and Little Women all in the second half of this year.

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8 minutes ago, TMP said:

Akira is a remake of a cartoon lmao. Dune is gonna be incredible though, BR 2049 smokes every single big budget film released since BR 2049.

An R-Rated cartoon. And Dune isn't original either.

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7 minutes ago, CoolEric258 said:

A Quiet Place's concept basically forces people to stay quiet as a mouse throughout the movie ("I get to see a movie without annoying patrons? Ticket for me!").

Wait were people really respectful during the shows?

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3 minutes ago, filmlover said:

FWIW Sony is one of the few studios that hasn't mostly abandoned the adult prestige movie either. They're putting out Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and Little Women all in the second half of this year.

WB's releasing so many in such a short span of time. Goldfinch, Joker, Long Time Coming, Motherless Brooklyn and The Good Liar all open in the span of 2 months. They also have Richard Jewell likely getting December, and Just Mercy might be moved up to December too - but that sounds like it's gonna be another Live By Night.

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15 minutes ago, TMP said:

WB's releasing so many in such a short span of time. Goldfinch, Joker, Long Time Coming, Motherless Brooklyn and The Good Liar all open in the span of 2 months. They also have Richard Jewell likely getting December, and Just Mercy might be moved up to December too - but that sounds like it's gonna be another Live By Night.

They're also probably banking on Doctor Sleep drawing in an older than usual audience for a horror movie with its Shining connection.

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