#1  
Old 03-30-2011, 07:17 PM
The REAL reason Sucker Punch will lose money

So here's a really interesting article that not only discusses the REAL failure of Sucker Punch, but also compares the budgets of other films we know and love here.

Its a pretty well thought out article in some respects (although I disagree to some extent with the Superman Returns/Batman Begins comparison.)

The REAL reason Sucker Punch will lose money


Quote:
Charlie Jane Anders — Since Sucker Punch failed to conquer the box office, there's been lots of speculation about why it was a box office failure. Was it too stylized? Was it the reviews? Did it fail to appeal to women or older adults?

Actually, there's a very simple reason why Sucker Punch won't make back its money, and why its box office returns are disappointing. Are you ready? Here it is:

It's because Sucker Punch cost $82 million to make. If it had only cost $30 million to make, it would be considered a triumph.

(Actually, there are different estimates of the movie's budget out there — people have cited numbers anywhere from $75 million to $85 million, but Box Office Mojo says $82 million, so let's go with that.)

In the aftermath of its $19 million opening weekend, box office experts have been saying that relatively low gross is not that much lower than they were expecting. After all, this is a non-franchise movie without any huge stars in it (sorry Vanessa Hudgens), from a director who has a cult following but not a huge mainstream following. And it had an off-the-wall concept that was hard to convey in posters and trailers. You'd have to be a wild-eyed optimist to expect that film to make more than about $20 million in its opening weekend.

So the question isn't, "Why did Sucker Punch only make $19 million in its opening weekend?", it's "Why did it have such a huge budget?".

This is true of a lot of movies that people consider flops — it's not really that the movie bombed, it's that it cost too much in the first place.

I was mildly surprised, the other day, to realize that Batman Begins made almost exactly the same amount of money as Superman Returns — yet, the Batman film is regarded as a huge hit, while Superman Returns is regarded as a flop. The difference: Superman Returns cost between $270 million and $350 million to make, while Batman Begins cost only $150 million to make. (But actually, Superman Returns' budget included $65 million in write-offs for previous failed Superman films, including Tim Burton's. Thanks to Robert Meyer Burnett and Silas Lesnick for pointing this out.)

I get the sense, from reading the trades and talking to people, that we're moving away from the era of over-inflated movie budgets a little bit. We reached a kind of high-water mark with the Pirates of the Caribbean films — the second Pirates cost $225 million to make and the third cost $300 million to make. By contrast, the fourth Pirates movie is being made for a slightly more modest budget.

Here's a partial list of movie budgets, based on publicly released information — obviously, these numbers aren't entirely ironclad, and they disagree with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. But it does give the sense that a lot of movies were being made for $200 million-plus even a couple years ago, and a budget in the $100 million-$150 million range was considered normal. Now, with movie attendance falling, expectations may have been scaled back somewhat for films, unless they're a sure thing — and sometimes even then.

X-Men: The Last Stand cost around $150 million to make, but I've seen a budget of $80 million being bandied about for X-Men: First Class. Reportedly, a big reason why Sony decided to do a Spider-Man reboot, instead of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 was because the reboot with a new cast and director could be a lot cheaper. Captain America was made for around $140 million, way less than the Iron Man movies. And there were reports, a few months ago, that Marvel was forcing Joss Whedon to work with a much lower budget for The Avengers than he'd hoped for.

One reason the Bioshock movie hasn't happened, reportedly, is that director Gore Verbinski wanted a bigger budget than Universal was willing to cough up.

(Of course, Hollywood accounting is a thing of wonderment in its complexity, so all of these numbers are make believe to some extent.)

Sure, you don't want the studios to cut corners to the point where movies start looking cheap and silly — a big reason why superheroes and aliens have been making such a huge impact on movie screens in recent years is that we can finally make them look cool instead of tacky. Plus, Inception wouldn't have been nearly as cool a film if Christopher Nolan hadn't had so much money to play with.

But it's really hard to argue that so many movies need to cost $200 million — or that a personal project like Sucker Punch needed to cost $82 million, for that matter. The simplest way to keep a film from looking like a colossal failure is to be honest about what sort of film it is, and give it a budget that makes sense.

To be honest, even though I'm dying to see Guillermo Del Toro's At The Mountains of Madness, it's probably true that an R-rated, $150 million H.P. Lovecraft adaptation starring Tom Cruise would lose buckets of money. It would be a fantastic, epic film, but a box office failure.

Anyway, as you hear people talking about Sucker Punch having been a collossal failure, just bear in mind that they're only saying that because the budget was so huge. It actually did just fine for a small film from a cult director, that wasn't based on any well-known source material. So to the extent that we all enjoy playing Monday-morning quarterback about box office stuff, the real question is the film's inflated budget, not its box office.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:27 PM
Yeah I honestly think it's a good thing to scale back the budgets for most blockbusters. It forces more creativity in the storytelling rather than simply throwing as many big money shots up on the screen as possible and calling it a day.

There are certainly exceptions to the rule but I actually think it's a good idea for most comic adaptations. I know Kick-Ass didn't do amazing but I'd point to it as an example of a lower budgeted film that feels as satisfying and slick as any big blockbuster. And it only cost $30 million.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:56 PM
Lmao, what an argument. Where do they think most of that 82 mil was spent on? The fucking VFX. Durrr. If they had scaled it back, they'd look cheaper, or there wouldn't be as much of them in the film, which kind of defeats the purpose.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCPhoenix View Post
Yeah I honestly think it's a good thing to scale back the budgets for most blockbusters. It forces more creativity in the storytelling rather than simply throwing as many big money shots up on the screen as possible and calling it a day.

There are certainly exceptions to the rule but I actually think it's a good idea for most comic adaptations. I know Kick-Ass didn't do amazing but I'd point to it as an example of a lower budgeted film that feels as satisfying and slick as any big blockbuster. And it only cost $30 million.
yes, JC, but did Kick-Ass have flying, fire-breathing dragons in the film?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-31-2011, 02:21 AM
I don't know man. This is kind of a ridiculous point to be made. It's like saying the only reason someone doesn't make that much gambling is because they spent so much money and never won.

He brings up the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as examples of movies with overinflated budgets, but those are among the highest grossing films of all time. I know his point there was in showing how the movie budgets are getting lower, but then he doesn't even know what the budget of the 4th one is. X-Men 3 wasn't very well received compared to the first two. That might be a bigger reason the 4th one is going for a different thing, and the same with Spiderman.

Finally, the argument loses all sense for me when he brings up Inception being something that cost a lot to make, but made a shit ton of money, and adds that it wouldn't have looked nearly as cool for less money. Yeah, okay, so maybe if the REAL reason Sucker Punch will lose money is because its budget is too big, but why not stop there and add that it's budget was too big for something that looked like a fucking pile of dragon shit. That's why I'm not seeing it, and that's why many people aren't seeing it. And that's the REAL reason it's losing money because these studios keep taking gambles with Zack Snyder and they struck the fuck out. Get over it.


EDIT: Argh. This argument is so ridiculous its managed to just annoy me. I mean, seriously - what the fuck? This is some actual published article that is saying the equivalent of, "No, I actually made a lot of money last year, but the only reason why I was bankrupt and the end of the year is because I spent it on really stupid stuff." I mean, yeah okay, technically that's true, but it's a really insipid thing to say.

From here on out, let it be known that the REAL reason Postmater General doesn't play for the NBA isn't because he's not a great basketball player. No, far from it. The REAL reason is that pretty much anyone who practices basketball daily is better than him at basketball.


EDIT EDIT: I'd have liked it better if he just addressed it as a call to studios to chill the fuck out. So there's 1/10th of my appreciation of the article. Respect.

Last edited by The Postmaster General; 03-31-2011 at 02:29 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-31-2011, 03:25 AM
Slo-mo is pretty expensive.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:31 AM
Since when is fucking Zack Snyder a cult director?

Someone doesn't understand the meaning of cult or the basics of box-office. You can have zero knowledge of box-office, go over to the box-office mojo forums for five minutes and know more than this guy.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:17 PM
I find it weird he's focusing on "Overbudgeted, underperforming" movies with Sucker Punch as the prime example when "Mars Needs Moms" is a better example of that recently. A 200 million dollar animated movie is more evidence than a modestly budgeted 82 million
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:34 PM
I think it's that Zach is a little too obessed with making the special effects top notch while sacrificing the story in the process. I mean he's a decent director, but he cannot just let go of the slo mo or the grand special effects. The dude's a one trick pony which is said for me to say because the Dawn of The Dead remake he did was pretty good.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarface98.9 View Post
I find it weird he's focusing on "Overbudgeted, underperforming" movies with Sucker Punch as the prime example when "Mars Needs Moms" is a better example of that recently. A 200 million dollar animated movie is more evidence than a modestly budgeted 82 million
It's Zemeckis Syndrome. which is highly disturbing in this economy.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:58 PM
The budget for Sucker Punch is modest considering the action. And I was surprised it did as 'poorly' as it did, considering. I thought the concept was clearly conveyed- however confusing it turned out during the actual movie, and there was plenty of eye candy and action. It's just a disappointment.

As other posters pointed out, an 85 mil budget for a big deal March release from a popular director like Snyder is modest.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digifruitella View Post
Lmao, what an argument. Where do they think most of that 82 mil was spent on? The fucking VFX. Durrr. If they had scaled it back, they'd look cheaper, or there wouldn't be as much of them in the film, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Yeah, but District 9 cost around $30 million and 300 cost $65 million. Those movies did not look cheap. Plus considering some of the reviews I've read for SP, the effects weren't used to great affect anyway, with some saying the action was was repetitive and boring after a while. So maybe a scaleback would've forced Snyder to be more resourceful and creative instead of just thinking "Yeah and I can go full-on,100% visual splooge in this shit!". Hell it might even have, dare I say, made a better movie?


Thank God Maya didn't exist when they were making Jaws.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:38 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericdraven View Post
It's Zemeckis Syndrome. which is highly disturbing in this economy.

Otherwise known as his diehard determination to shove the uncanny valley in our faces until we learn to love it like he apparently does. And I type this while simultaneously watching Beowulf on FX.


Thank you Disney for putting an end to that shit.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by electriclite View Post
And I type this while simultaneously watching Beowulf on FX.

.
C'mon, 'lite, CGI Beowulf had a nice bod.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-01-2011, 02:12 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by electriclite View Post
Yeah, but District 9 cost around $30 million and 300 cost $65 million. Those movies did not look cheap. Plus considering some of the reviews I've read for SP, the effects weren't used to great affect anyway, with some saying the action was was repetitive and boring after a while. So maybe a scaleback would've forced Snyder to be more resourceful and creative instead of just thinking "Yeah and I can go full-on,100% visual splooge in this shit!". Hell it might even have, dare I say, made a better movie?
And this is where I was coming from, albeit in a more extroverted manner.

I actually don't see the reason they couldn't have done this cheaper either. Realism isn't necessary for something like this, because it's already not looking at all real to begin with.

In that sense it plays out here, where they could have sacrificed the budget. I'm sure it's going to look awesome, for what it is, but I think the people who dig what it is aren't going to not buy tickets if it doesn't look totally 100% amazing.

That's my major criticism of Synder, in that he has a hard time getting ideas across, I feel. Sometimes it doesn't have to look perfect, as long as the idea is gotten across, but it seems Snyder just focuses on getting it perfect, which in turn doesn't always help get the idea across in of itself - take how much of Watchman was lost, despite it looking pretty spot on.

I've honestly felt the kids movie about Owls is the best thing I've seen from him, without having seen Sucker Punch yet. It's because it was pretty simple thematically and had a straight forward story. I thought it really worked on screen and he was good director match for that one. 300 was a little more complicated, but still pretty straight forward. Whereas Watchmen and this one both aren't so simple in the story, and I think that's where things go wrong. I would really love to see him do visual work under another director.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:59 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postmaster General View Post
And this is where I was coming from, albeit in a more extroverted manner.

I actually don't see the reason they couldn't have done this cheaper either. Realism isn't necessary for something like this, because it's already not looking at all real to begin with.

In that sense it plays out here, where they could have sacrificed the budget. I'm sure it's going to look awesome, for what it is, but I think the people who dig what it is aren't going to not buy tickets if it doesn't look totally 100% amazing.
Well the thing with visual effects is that there's a tradeoff in regards to time and quality. If the CGI scenes are shorter than you can still have quality just a shorter scene with complicated CGI. So what do you do with less CGI? More with something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postmaster General View Post
That's my major criticism of Synder, in that he has a hard time getting ideas across, I feel. Sometimes it doesn't have to look perfect, as long as the idea is gotten across, but it seems Snyder just focuses on getting it perfect, which in turn doesn't always help get the idea across in of itself - take how much of Watchman was lost, despite it looking pretty spot on.
In the case of Watchmen, and I've made this point constantly, especially in the old Upcoming Films Watchmen thread, Snyder is toooo reverential, almost to the point where he's self-deprecating. Like a lot of people said, the most inspired part of Watchmen was that opening motiongraphic. That got pages of history from the book in a fluid and economic fashion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postmaster General View Post
I've honestly felt the kids movie about Owls is the best thing I've seen from him, without having seen Sucker Punch yet. It's because it was pretty simple thematically and had a straight forward story. I thought it really worked on screen and he was good director match for that one. 300 was a little more complicated, but still pretty straight forward. Whereas Watchmen and this one both aren't so simple in the story, and I think that's where things go wrong. I would really love to see him do visual work under another director.
I haven't seen the Owl's film but that was mainly because I responded to all the epic soundtrack usage and dramatic slo-mo with "Its just owls!". Also, when I was watching the trailer, I happened to be sitting next to a 10 year old and all they had to say was "Its looks ok."
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:46 PM
Sucker Punch failed because every casual, non-hardcore movie fan saw the trailer and went 'um....what?' It has nothing to do with the budget, which at $80 something million is really not that bad. Terrible reviews from a lot of major critics didn't help matters either, and clearly just having Zack Snyder's name on a movie isn't even a selling point, despite what studios may have thought prior. There were no stars in the film, no real plot that anyone could decipher, and so no real point for casual audiences to pony up the movie to take a big risk on a movie that looks ridiculous on it's best day.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump