What All The Biggest Summer Blockbuster Disappointments All Had In Common


I'm working off the /film post about this, which is in turn going off The Hollywood Reporter, but breaks down like this:

Ben Hur will lose $120 million ($70-75 mil expected off a $100 mil budget)

The BFG to lose $90 mil

Alice Through the Looking Glass: $65 mil loss

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: $70 mil loss

Pete's Dragon, Star Trek Beyond and Independence Day: Resurrection all round out that list of loses or barely breaking even when video/ TV rights are factored in.

Now I'm sure I don't have to point out that all of these are either remakes or continuations of films that no one asked for in the first place. I've heard a lot on NPR lately about "sequel fatigue," but I don't think it's just that considering the big winners this year in the $1 billion club (or "tres comas" if you're a Silicon Valley fan) are Jurassic World, Finding Dory, and Captain America III: Civil War.

I believe those three prove that movie goers don't just hate sequels/ remakes, but I think Hollywood has to start rethinking how it handles pre existing intellectual properties (IP in the parlance). Filmmaking is an expensive business, so it makes sense that studios would want to mitigate risk by only making movies about things that already have built in audiences. It's that sort of behavior that brought us Harry Potter and Hunger Games, so we know it works.

But they've gone a bit overboard at this point, buying properties like Max Steele, Stretch Armstrong, Candy Land, and the old Atari game Asteroids to adapt into films. Because those IPs have name recognition, and therefore studios assume they have fans.

It's the difference between name recognition and built-in fan base that I think Hollywood needs to reexamine, and hopefully this summer's losses will help bring that into perspective before we get something like Citizen Kane II: The Utterly Unnecessary.

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MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, I have a suggestion...

 

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