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C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Why do good movies tank?

09.29.2011

Since hitting theaters three weeks ago, WARRIOR has only made a piddling $12 million. This despite sitting at a pretty damn impressive 84% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and getting a CinemaScore of A, meaning that both critics and mainstream audiences loved the film. If it’s such a good film (and it is, I gave it a 10/10 that I stand by), why is it flopping?


Sure, it might breakout on DVD/Blu-ray, but for a film to be a money maker, it really needs to at least break-even at the box office. With a reported budget of $25 million (not including P&A), WARRIOR has a long way to go. This is a real shame, as if any film release in the last few months deserved to be a breakout hit, WARRIOR was the one. It’s an old-fashioned, rousing sports drama, in the tradition of classics like CHARIOTS OF FIRE, HOOSIERS, RUDY, and of course, ROCKY.

Why did it tank? Perhaps the MMA part of the movie was a tough sell, with the burly posters featuring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton shirtless and ripped made the film look a little too BEST OF THE BEST for the masses. This is downright tragic; as it should have appealed to the same wide audience THE FIGHTER did, with this even having a more family-friendly PG-13 to THE FIGHTER’s R-rating.

Then again, THE FIGHTER had stars, with Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg having previously proved their mettle. The again, neither are a sure thing at the box office. More importantly, it had Oscar buzz. But dammit, WARRIOR could have had Oscar buzz too!


For one thing, releasing a film of this caliber in September, especially on the NFL's opening weekend, seems short-sighted. At the very least, it should have played the Toronto Film Festival where it would have obviously been well-received by the critics, and started some word of mouth. In my humble opinion, Lionsgate should have played TIFF, Venice or the NYFF and then opened the film limited in December, before expanding after the Oscar nominations are released.

Then again, look at another underperformer, DRIVE. Now, DRIVE has made fairly decent coin, sitting at $22 million in week number two, boasting only a $12 million budget. Considering how hardcore the film is, this is a pretty solid number, and a film like this will also do good business overseas and on DVD/Blu-ray. But, considering how good it is (another 10/10 from me, which I stand by), it should have been even bigger.

In this case, I don’t think Film District can be faulted, as they screened it at Cannes, the L.A Film Fest, and TIFF, with it playing to raves everywhere. They also came up with a fantastic trailer, and cool, Euro-style one-sheets. DRIVE’s failure to be a blockbuster is the most disturbing to me, as the CinemaScore is a C, making me wonder why audiences aren’t appreciating it like they should. Is it too smart? Too different? Too European?


If this is true, than it raises some disturbing questions about the movie going public in general, as it means audiences don’t want to be challenged anymore. This is tragic. The other day, I was reading Peter Biskind’s ‘Easy Riders, Raging Bulls’, and found it sad that in the seventies, truly challenging (and R-rated films) like THE EXORCIST, THE GODFATHER, and CHINATOWN could come out and be huge, blockbuster money makers. What’s the last truly challenging film that came out that made tons of money. INCEPTION? Sure, stuff with prestige like THE SOCIAL NETWORK, or even the recent MONEYBALL does well, but they don’t exactly become the massive money makers they would have been in another era.

Regardless, tastes seem to be changing, for the worst, and it’s a trend that needs to be reversed somehow. But how? Maybe as an audience, we need to be more selective. Maybe, if a blockbuster comes out and is truly mediocre, we need to be selective and say, with our wallets, “no, so-so is not good enough - you want our money, give us something great.” Then again, if great was want people really wanted, WARRIOR and DRIVE would be on their way to $100 million by now.

Extra Tidbit: The fact that ABDUCTION made more on it's first weekend then WARRIOR did in almost it's whole run makes me ill.
Source: JoBlo.com

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