September 6, 2012

Summer Movie Wrap-Up: A Rant

If you weren't a Superhero, a foul-mouthed Teddy Bear, or a Gay Stripper, then the Summer Box Office of 2012 was a sad, sad place for you. Here's how the summer movies finished, gross wise, between may and now(ish.)

1Marvel's The AvengersBV$617,800,4464,349$207,438,7084,3495/4-
2The Dark Knight RisesWB$424,645,7434,404$160,887,2954,4047/20-
3The Amazing Spider-ManSony$258,548,9274,318$62,004,6884,3187/3-
6Madagascar 3: Europe's Most WantedP/DW$213,858,9204,263$60,316,7384,2586/8-
7MIB 3Sony$178,515,5774,248$54,592,7794,2485/25-
8Snow White and the HuntsmanUni.$154,962,8453,777$56,217,7003,7736/1-
9Ice Age: Continental DriftFox$154,188,6833,886$46,629,2593,8817/13-

The Avengers was king of all this summer, and deservedly so. The Dark Knight Rises was good stuff, as was Spidey. Snow White and the Huntsman was enjoyable. We liked Prometheus, though it underperformed in a big way, and was far from ideal. Ted was funny as hell, and a solid hit. Magic Mike... was a hit; a sweaty, glittery, homoerotic hit.

Dark Shadows was a joke, and it's obvious that Tim Burton needs to come up with something new. The Dictator just served to point out that Sascha Baron Cohen is about as funny as Russel Brand (not very.) Battleship was horrid. Men in Black 3 was pointless. That's My Boy was another painfully unfunny Adam Sandler flick. Rock of Ages? An 80's hairband musical? Fuck you.

Katy Perry, The Watch, Step Up Part 54, an Olivia Munn movie... where does the madness end?

Jam that finger right in your ass, Johnny. That's just about what you've given us lately.

As for the horror flicks of Summer...

Chernobyl Diaries wasn't the worst thing ever, but Christ can we ease up on the hand held thing a bit? Piranha 3DD was a slap in the face to horror fans and general moviegoers alike; that's exactly the kind of shit that makes the average person dismiss horror as a shabby genre. Who exactly dumped $70 million into Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and why aren't they fired? Such a shit movie on such a large (for a horror flick) budget is a travesty. The Apparition... given away free, that movie would have been awful.

Summer is not the Horror genre's best season, obviously, but damn. I can hardly blame the average moviegoer for avoiding the good horror flicks that do make it to theaters, because they're few and far between the awful, uninspired ones that Hollywood truly pushes with any kind of effort.

Maybe the worst movie of all of the summer bombs.

Hollywood can blame whatever they want for the lackluster Box Office receipts of late, but the bottom line is that they release more shitty movies on average now than they ever have. Some people are quick to say "Piracy is the problem!" but that's a load of total shit. The movie-going experience ain't what it used to be, and that's the real issue.

Tickets are in the double digits in most places now (evening and night shows), and snacks aren't any cheaper. We're forced to endure commercials before the trailers, which are not only crazy annoying, but they push back the start times by 15-20 minutes. Cell phones, people kicking seats, loud kids, talking moron adults; a lot of times, it's a distracting chore to endure the people who are in the theater with you.

Aside from those reasons, which are all very compelling, you also have the glaring fact that Hollywood is churning out sub-par crap as a general rule now, and they don't seem to care that they've lowered their own bar.

Seriously, what in the fuck is an Oogielove?!?

Sure, there are great movies that are released into theaters too, but many of those only last a week, maybe two, and they tend to hit less screens than the big flicks do. They're not advertised as heavily, or in the absolute wrong ways. For example, a movie like Killer Joe, which was a great movie, hit roughly 75 screens, in very limited release. Conversely, the Uber-Suck Job of a film, Battleship, failed massively on 3700+ screens.

I get the logistics and understand why it happens like that, but good God almighty that's the problem though. The heartless, sloppy, messy, poorly conceived and executed movies are the ones getting the far-too-big budgets these days, and people are tired of it.

Not to mention the fact that more and more people have gorgeous, big, High Definition TV's in their living rooms these days, and sitting home and watching a movie on DVD or Blu-ray is a preferable experience to putting up with a trip to the theater, and it's also far, far cheaper.

To be fair though, as long as audiences keep showing up for remake after ill-advised remake, reboots, re-imaginings, lackluster sequels, big and empty spectacles with crazy massive budgets, and weak formula movies that rehash tired old ideas over and over again, Hollywood will keep churning them about.

Then again, looks like people caught on to all of that this summer.

I'm going on record as saying that Joss Whedon (and Marvel) raised the quality bar with The Avengers. They gave us a big and over-blown spectacle of a summer popcorn flick, and managed to give it a soul. I'm not saying it's the second coming of Celluloid Christ or anything, but it was damn good, fun as hell, and still managed to have heart. They must have really cared about the material, and about giving the fans the good movie that they deserved. Enjoy your billions, boys. You absolutely deserve every spoil you're getting right now.

Let's hope we get more of that type of thing going forward. Maybe then we'll all come back to the theater, at least more than we are now.

Hollywood had better hope we do...


  1. Battleships - pfft the cheap rip-off version was way better - except for the special affects which were decent.