North Texas Daily

How audiences control the film industry

How audiences control the film industry

How audiences control the film industry
July 12
00:42 2016

Preston Mitchell | Opinion Editor


Summer blockbusters have been a tradition ever since “Jaws” broke box office records in 1975. The beauty of this custom is that – after months of working and spending hours in class and watching Oscar nominees – it’s the time of the year where studios pump millions of dollars into movies made solely for our entertainment.

Sadly for Hollywood, most of this year’s blockbusters have gotten lukewarm reviews from critics. Even though this hasn’t hurt past movies (i.e. “Transformers”), the box office is crippled because its blockbusters keep underperforming financially. In fact, this chart illustrates the correlation between critic averages and movie finances.

Despite how much this hurts the film industry, this is actually cause for celebration. Not only are disappointing movies starting panic among their distributors, these trends are showing that audiences finally have power over film quality.

There is a distinct advantage (and disadvantage) in regards to seeing movies on opening night. On one end, you can enjoy the theatrical experience with legions of fans and an ideal audiovisual presentation. On the flipside, you can wait for that film to hit Redbox, Netflix or other streaming sites and save yourself $10. Especially if it’s sitting below a 60 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the online threshold for how good a movie is.

Look no further than “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” to see how public opinion can affect business. Prior to March, comic book fans anticipated a “Dawn” movie for decades. It should’ve went well since superhero movies are consistent hits. Instead, it was an abysmal misuse of both protagonists and cluttered itself with unnecessary subplots and poor dialogue. Thanks to a 27 percent Tomatometer score, it grossed considerably less than its $1.5 billion expectations and was labeled a disappointment for Warner Bros.

Another example is the laugh-out-loud bad “Independence Day: Resurgence,” which failed to match the impact of its 1996 predecessor. It doesn’t help that the original is a modern classic with groundbreaking effects that still hold up. As for the sequel, the new effects are somehow worse, the script is never funny on purpose and Liam Hemsworth comes off as a poor man’s Will Smith. Due to this, the $165 million prospect hasn’t even doubled its budget.

If any studio has benefited, it’s Disney. The new “Jungle Book” only cost $10 million more than “Resurgence” and wowed viewers of all ages with the best digital effects since “Avatar.” Disney did a spectacular job of darkening Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale, casting each role perfectly and maintaining the heart of the story. After receiving universal acclaim from critics, it’s now the third highest grossing movie of 2016.

Sitting at the top is “Captain America: Civil War.” The Disney-owned property took everything wrong about “Batman v Superman” and executed it better. While it introduced Spider-Man and Black Panther very well, its biggest strength was presenting a complex dilemma for Cap and Iron Man to face, resulting in a rare superhero movie where both heroes had their rights and wrongs. It fired on all cylinders, grossed $1.1 billion and is now the 12th highest grossing movie ever.

It’s unfortunate that several movies had to bite bullets, but it’s better for them to fail in the long run. Ever since James Cameron made 3D a mainstay, the increased expenses of movies shouldn’t justify paying for the worst. Nobody wants to see “The Legend of Tarzan” or “Warcraft.” We want more films in the vein of Marvel, “Deadpool” or “The Jungle Book.”

It was about time for studios to take notice. Now, they finally will.

Featured Image: 20th Century Fox

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