Commenting on the critics with Simon Columb…
Charles Gant, on Thursday 29th March, writes for The Guardian:
“MGM, disclosed to its investors that box-office for Fincher’s [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] film was “below our expectations and we booked a modest loss”. The result follows a damp squib return for Let Me In, the US version of Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In. Worldwide cinema gross on the $20m remake is $22m – almost certainly a loss-making venture for its backers, after sundry costs are taken into account. Let the Right One In, by contrast, with an $11m cinema gross and a $4m production budget, looks highly profitable.”
To add to the discussion, Gant notes how the new release Headhunters has already been greenlit for an American remake despite an already successful release structure in the Picturehouse chain in the UK, imitating the release pattern of Let The Right One In.
Other than successful international releases, the international market is now a huge force to be reckoned with. Previously, you could roughly estimate that a US domestic gross would be equalled in the international market – but this is not the case anymore. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides managed to make a total of over $1 billion – but only $240m of that was in the US. The Adventures of Tintin made a worldwide gross of $373,993,951 but again, only $78m was in the US. The many, many cinemas that have sprung up across the world – alongside the easy-to-distribute digital model available to these areas – ensure a paying audience (that previously didn’t exist) may dictate the future of films. For one, Pirates 5 and Tintin 2 are inevitable.
Add to this how often American filmmakers will actively choose to ensure actors speak in their character’s language – without a drop in the box office. Examples would include Inglourious Basterds, Letters from Iwo Jima and The Passion of the Christ. In contrast, Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was set in Sweden but the characters spoke in Swedish accents while the mediocre success of Valkyrie – a Tom-Cruise-led German-accented World War II film – proves how audiences will happily accept foreign languages in the cinema, and shy away from actors putting on accents to represent countries.
I have a feeling that cinema is changing and it is moving a little bit further away from Hollywood. It may be wishful thinking, but clearly international audiences and filmmakers now have a chance to ensure that their own films will gain more coverage and success worldwide – because audiences themselves are becoming more globally aware. People in France speak French – not English with French accents. Audiences know this and films will ring untrue if it is anything but.