If Hollywood had stopped making bad films, they would have made more money…
2017 probably isn’t the year to say that the HL Mencken line about nobody losing money underestimating the public isn’t true, but it certainly looks like it no longer holds for the film industry.
Amidst the wailing and gnashing of teeth from studio executives with the news that 2017’s summer crop of blockbusters have failed to bust any blocks, there is the hope that maybe people have finally realised that the general public might go and see franchise films, remakes and comedy reboots of bad TV shows, they won’t go and see just ANY old franchise films, remakes and comedy reboots of bad TV shows.
With studios looking likely to have their worst summer in ten years, the finger of blame is being pointed at an over dependence on stale movie ideas and big budget movies that failed to live up to expectations. It might be an obvious target, but it’s also probably correct.
One of the flopbusters coming in for most criticism has been Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – known as Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge in some countries (when a movie changes its title, it’s rarely a good sign). Looking at it, you wonder why anyone thought it would be a hit; the fifth instalment of a fifteen year old franchise based on a theme park ride, featuring an increasingly discredited lead actor doesn’t look good from any angle.
Not far down the list of 2017’s duds is The Emoji Movie – a terrible idea from the start; just because people like to use them doesn’t mean they want to see a film about them. It’s a relief that the story about there being a Meme Movie turned out to be a hoax. You cannot build a film around something a slight as a few pixels that people finish a text with because they don’t know how to end it. The fact that the movie even went into production felt like an insult to our intelligence, the studio lost in meaningless buzzwords and trying to keep up with the zeitgeist instead of making a decent film.
The list goes on – who thought Baywatch was a blockbuster in waiting? A 25 year old TV show that only got viewers because it featured women in swimsuits was never going to be a success on the big screen in 2017; you have more nudity on HBO, and those that want to see Kelly Rohrbach and Alexandra Daddario running in slow motion will presumably wait for the Blu-ray and enjoy it in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
It’s headbangingly obvious that these movies wouldn’t be a success, while it’s pretty obvious that a decent, female led comic book movie like Wonder Woman would be a hit in 2017. It really isn’t surprising that this summer has been bad at the box office. Let’s hope the studios have learned their lesson.
Neil Calloway is a pub quiz extraordinaire and Top Gun obsessive. Check back here every Sunday for future instalments.