No Surprise --- Superheroes have dominated 2017 at Cinemas

Updated 50 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
No Surprise --- Superheroes have dominated 2017 at Cinemas

When the curtain falls on 2017, two observations appear certain:

First,  six out of the top ten of popular films will be super hero related ( Submission Deadline was late November, so expert projections included from Box Office Mojo and Boxoffice Magazine.) , and (2) it's been a Rotten Tomatoes kind of year.

 

HITS AND MISSES

The Amazing Wonder Woman holds the second position (about $412 million) behind the live action "Beauty and the Beast" ($504 million), but "Star Wars The Last Jedi" likely will rearrange the positions, especially the lower half of the Top Ten with a healthy portion of "Last Jedi" rocketing into 2018. Experts predict a $750 million run for "Jedi," which would give it top of the box in 2017. The animated Pixar/Disney entry, "Coco" has a strong chance for a top ten finish , too, as its Thanksgiving opening demonstrated. 

As of this writing, "Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2," "Spiderman Homecoming," "Thor Ragnarok,"  "Logan," and "Justice League" will grab a spot in the top ten. Despite the mixed critical response , most "JLA," fans have given an early thumbs up --- meaning the film will easily clear the domestic  $200 million threshold; it's the $300 million one that's now doubtful. 

The break out Stephen King terrorizing clown Pennywise  propelled  "It,"  which seems solid to hold fifth or sixth place.  "Despicable Me 2," " Fate of the Furious," and "Dunkirk" round out the entries (as of November 2017).

Unfortunately, 2017 movie news is  what's not at the top. It's been a year of tentpole topples and mid-range pictures ignored.

"Geostorm, " "King Arthur Legend of the Sword," "Baywatch," "Chips," and "Monster Trucks" went bust. "Blade Runner 2049" did not have strong lasting word of mouth. Neither did Tom Cruise's "The Mummy." The latest entry in the Planet of the Apes, King Kong, Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars, Transformers and Fifty Shades franchises finished in the Top 20. 

Comedies mostly failed to sustain laughs. "Boss Baby," "Baby Driver," and "Girl's Trip" pulled the best figures. "Snatched" under performed since Goldie Hawn had expectations high. "Rough Night" and "The House" fell into the same category.

Since gender equality and inclusiveness has rewrote the formula for romantic comedy, few dared to accept the challenge. "Trainwreck" which opened in July 2015 is the last one charted in the Top 25 rom-coms. "The Big Sick" (2017) , "About Last Night" (2014 remake), and "How to Be Single" (2016) are in the Top 100. 

Ironically, Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" demonstrated that it takes a twist to do "falling in love" nowadays. Though it did not play wide, "How to Be a Latin Lover" (with Eugenio Derbez, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell)  came closest to the  romantic roses and sweet nothings approach. 

 

Various horror genres thrived. "It," "Get Out,""Happy  Death Day," and "Annabelle: Creation"  have demonstrated that writing and imagination do not require mega production budgets. Delight the viewers and their screams  initiate an unintended franchise.

 

 TOMATOES AND SOCIAL MEDIA

 The R.T.  website that combines critical reviews into a "tomato score" ---- fresh or rotten --- has some distributors crying foul. Attacking reviews by top critics have occurred, too. Actually, "critics" have been around since movies; now, there are  many that express opinions not  a select few who find themselves quoted for favoring a picture or followed for their expertise of artistic endeavors  and knowledge of historic comparisons.

Tomatoes torpedoes ,  in my opinion,  are  partially on the money finger pointing. It's not the website; it's the instant trickling of social media --- professional reviewers and tweeting moviegoers --- that quickly shake up the favorable or unfavorable word of mouth. 

Picking hits and misses on the screen has gone Vegas for odds. A pick a winner fantasy movie game has surfaced. It appears that the weekend finish results of boxoffice popularity has taken on the same impact as charter a "single" (i.e. song) in the Top 40. 

Before his untimely death, Curtis McCall,  founder of Marquee Cinemas,  shared a theory with me: He could walk in on Friday afternoon and by attendance reactions predict how strong new titles would be. (That was before the wide spread practice of 'premiering' nearly all new films on Thursday evening, a practice that evolved from the 12:01 midnight openings of select films.)  I didn't have an opportunity for a full explanation (or whether his reasoning  was confidential) , but  messaging trends have replaced slow building (spreading) favorable word-of-mouth from ordinary viewers. Studios once relied on so-called "sneak" or "advance" showings a week or two in advance of opening to churn up favorable response. The finger flying  first-in the afternoon, viewers have opportunity to influence a multiplier of social media friends. 

However, the social media indexes are less than simply accurate. Scooping a FB tally of "total likes" (compiled by Boxoffice) near the end of November, "The Last Jedi" had above 19 million "likes." Next?  "Jigsaw," the re-boot of "Saw," whose torture rehash did not churn crowds, yet it has over 16 million "likes."  "Justice League" had 2.5 million; "Coco" 350,000; the teary sleeper "Wonder" 324,000; and animated "Ferdinand" 252,000. What's FB #3... "Incredibles 2" at 7.4 million likes.

By contrast, "Justice League" had gained nearly 85,000 total "tweets," but "Last Jedi" just under 27,000. (Source: Boxoffice)

Incidentally before the internet, new releases had at least the first weekend to rise or fall on orchestrated buzz and star casting. Not anymore. Studios blame the tomato score gatekeepers, when it's the simultaneous spreading of reaction that solidifies, praises an unsung "sleeper" as view worthy, and dings those that don't make the grade.

Viewer reactions  to some degree have influenced super secret test screenings where the filmmakers fill the auditorium for a 'surprise' film, then, filmmakers pay close attention to audience reaction --- laugh, cry, shout --- in the proper locations. "Clue," a mystery based on a game . had three separate endings that could be rotated. Interactivity could futurewise influence films with video game-esque choices.  

Too strong a reliance on favorable "test" screenings may have hurt Warners "We Are Marshall." The distributor moved the release into prime Christmas playing time anticipating a strong sleeper developing. Ultimately, genre competition led to a middle (at best) result. "Balboa" (prize fighting) and "Pursuit of Happiness" (inspiration) kept audiences from finding "WAM." But, it's now a favorite run on cable channels, especially for football season and/or Christmas. 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA CHARTS, FACEBOOK, TWITTER  END OF NOVEMBER

Source Boxoffice

 

TWITTER

Comments powered by Disqus