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C'mon Hollywood #103


... something beat Titanic!
by Sturdy

In December of 1997, I actually saw TITANIC on opening day. Before it's release, I was sure it was going to be the biggest box office disappointment of all time. I have a history of watching potential box office disasters and I saw CUTTHROAT ISLAND and WATERWORLD on opening day. As much as I love watching a great film, there’s something satisfying about watching a major studio ignore the public, sink a ton of money into a film, and for that film to be horrible. It appeals to the “I told you so” nature in all of us.

As you know, TITANIC was not a box office disaster. It's been nine years since it's release, and it still holds the crown as the highest grossing movie of all time (Ok, I’m not taking into account inflation, in which case GONE WITH THE WIND (wtf?) would be the highest grossing film of all time). As it turns out, I actually love TITANIC. I think it really is one of the greatest films ever made and it works on all levels. Yeah, it's a little sappy. Yeah, watching people bounce off metal objects as they plummet to their death does take away from the romance a little bit, but overall, it's a good flick. It's hard today to find people that still like it since it has the association of being a teenie bopper film. That association is completely unfair to such a great, and critically acclaimed film.

But does it deserve the elite status as the number one movie of all time? I don't think so. What’s more troubling is that it’s not only the number one movie of all time, but it beats out the next highest grossing film by $120 million! I cannot believe that with all the big budget films and comic book movies in the past decade, none of them have managed to beat out TITANIC. Why, do you ask, because you can't fight the buying power of 12 year-old girls. Sure, boys have STAR WARS and those films make up plenty of the top 25, but boys lose interest. If you watched TITANIC after the first month of release, you were watching it with a theater full of women/girls that had seen it at least three times before. By the time it finally ended its run (quiz: Which film finally beat it?), it was commonplace to find women that had seen it a dozen times or more. I’m not sure what the draw was, but something compelled women of all ages to see TITANIC over and over again.

Whenever I see this scene, I always have to stop and admire Kate’s…necklace.

So what's it going to take to beat out TITANIC? First, you have to have a handsome, charming, young lead actor. This gives you a good chance of appealing to the "men want to be him, women want to date him" way of thinking. Second, you have to have a talented, passionate director. Guys like James Cameron, Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson love what they do and that's why they excel with their respective big budget projects. Also, I hear Steven Spielberg is pretty good. Third, you have to have an appealing love story that you stick with. It can't be an afterthought to mindless action. Fourth, you have to have action, but not mindless action. It has to be "real" events and justified. You can't have people speeding through LA freeways throwing cars off the back of trucks. Finally, it has to be epic in nature. You have to have big settings, big story, elaborate costumes, etc.

One way to guarantee a BAD movie: cast Matthew Modine.

So c'mon Hollywood, look at history and make more quality films and get away from the quantity angle. We don't want 25 summer blockbusters a year, we'd rather have 5 high quality blockbusters. And please, find a story and make a movie that will beat TITANIC out of the number one spot, or at least get within $50 million.

Tags: Hollywood



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