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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estim…zzzzzzzzz

Weekend Esti 651w2017-04-30 at 9.20.50 AM copy

With the wide release of a Latino-targeted comedy, a 434-screen roadshow-priced Hindi sequel, and a Tom Hanks/Emma Watson thriller that couldn’t find a way to inspire audiences, The Fate of The Furious held the top spot, even as it struggles to keep the domestic grosses in line with international, which has it over the $1 billion mark worldwide. And the new Jason Blum releasing company ironically could not beat Weekend 10 of the Jason Blum production, Get Out. The only films with per-screens over $10k this weekend were in languages other than English.

This weekend’s box office is interesting on the foreign language front… and boring as hell otherwise.

The #2/#3 punch of How To Be A Latin Lover and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion seems like history being made. I don’t have the energy to spend a day going through every weekend over the last few decades to be sure, but I don’t recall a weekend on which two of the three top grossers on a weekend were foreign language.

It occurs to me that all of those news segment shout-outs to the Top 3 at the weekend box office will sound as they never have before and that I hope there is as much hype for these two films as there would be if The Circle and Boss Baby were #2 and #3.

There are, of course, odd angles to the 2/3 finish. Very weak release weekend. Only one strong holdover film. This is the only weekend of the year to date in which $11.8m would equate as a #2 finish. (Note: I hate the horse race absurdity so much… but it is how the numbers are promoted and perceived and I acknowledge it.) Also, in the case of B2, there are ticket prices for this new-era roadshow, which includes a lot of IMAX screens, up and over the $20 threshold. A film grossing $10 million on opening weekend would usually signal about a million tickets sold. But with these extreme ticket prices, it is possible that the actual audience for B2 was between 250,000-300,000 this weekend. Still impressive for a Hindi sequel, but a variation. (The same could be said, btw, about the first release of Gone With The Wind, which launched with a hugely-expensive-for-the-period roadshow.)

Lionsgate has been in the Eugenio Derbez business since 2011’s No Eres Tu, Soy Yo (It’s Not You, It’s Me) and it continues to grow the already well-established Mexican star. This is his fourth US release as star and it is the widest and highest-grossing opening. The Spanish-language market in the US has been wildly under-serviced (more so than any other minority group, given its outsized ticket buying) and Lionsgate, Fox, and others have been trying to find a way to mainstream it. If How To Be A Latin Lover outdoes Instructions Not Included by grossing, say, $60 million US, it will turn a lot more heads.

Now… on to the boredom. There isn’t a lot more to say about The Furious, their fate, or how fast they gross.

In said boredom, I looked at the influence of Chinese box office on the very biggest films of the last 2 years, 4 months.

There have been 11 billion-dollar grossers in this period. Only two would not be counted as billion-dollar earners if you discounted the Chinese box office to be consistent with returns everywhere else in the world. Last year’s Zootopia, which did $235 million in China, would now be a $906m grosser. And The Fate of the Furious, which would still be at $901 million worldwide, bringing in $319 million so far in China.

Overall, there would be only minor movement in the overall rankings for these mega-hits if we asterisked China. The F&F movies are, by far, the biggest Chinese grossers in these last 3 calendar years. But a new Transformers is coming, so that could be a new record coming as well. The last Transformers movie is another case of a billion-dollar grosser being brought under the billion mark by The Chinese Asterisk. $320m gross, worth roughly half of the half international usually returns… so instead of $1.1 billion worldwide, it would be $945 million. Nothing to sneeze at, but while we are comparing pixie-dust dream numbers, relevant.

Meanwhile, Finding Dory and Rogue One, which each cracked a billion, but not $1.1 billion, would not be dragged under a billion because they performed weakly in China, losing only $19m and $35m respectively to The Chinese Asterisk. Similarly, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the third $2b movie ever, would still be a $2 billion even with a $62 million Chinese Asterisk haircut.

Perhaps most importantly to Hollywood… every single film that grossed $800 million or more worldwide has gotten a Chinese release. So whatever cherry-picking is still going on by Chinese authorities, they are letting the popular stuff through into their still-evolving, but undeniably massive market.

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94 Responses to “Weekend Estim…zzzzzzzzz”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    I’m not sure what’s so boring about the biggest foreign language debut in 11 years (not counting LATIN LOVER which is bilingual).

    The reexpansion of GET OUT has it on track to pass LEGO BATMAN after all now.

    BATB is a somewhat predictable monster in Japan. The odds are against it, but it does have a slight shot at toppling FROZEN to become Disney’s biggest non-AVENGERS/SW worldwide title eventually. It’ll pass DORY to claim that status domestically this week.

    Kinda interesting in a sad way that the two highest grossing actresses of all-time, ScarJo and Emma Watson, have both demonstrated their inability to open movies outside of franchise-phenoms in the last month.

  2. Night Owl says:

    You missed Captain America: Civil War on the China list. Even though it cracked $1.1 billion, take out China and it misses a billion by about $37 million (coming in around $962 million). Iron Man 3 still makes it but Cap would be out.

  3. Bulldog68 says:

    @Etguild: Looks like Boss Baby may also squeak ahead of Kong if it continues to hold this way too. And Furious probably won’t get past Logan.
    The oddities of yearly box office always amuses me. Last year there was $63m gap between Dr.Strange at $232m and Hidden Figures at $169m. This year there is already 4 and possibly a 5th with Boss Baby, wedged in there.

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, How to be a Latin Lover is somewhere between 80 and 90 percent in English.

  5. David Poland says:

    Night Owl –

    My line on Cap: CW is…

    Captain America: Civil War
    $745.20 international
    $190.43 China
    $95.21m Asterisk
    $1.058b worldwide with China Asterisk

    Not fair to take China out completely. Just cutting the gross (like the rental) in half

    If you took China out completely, Rogue One, Dory, and Cap would all be under $1b.

  6. David Poland says:

    And yet, Joe, sold almost exclusively to a Spanish-speaking audience.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, maybe I should not extrapolate from a single market, but here in Houston: There have been billboards for it all over town for weeks. They pre-screened it for critics — twice — here. And the Friday edition of The Houston Chronicle had a huge section-front interview with Derbez. My impression is, they knew they already had the Spanish-language market, and tried to expand their reach this time. Looks like they succeeded.

  8. Night Owl says:

    Ah, sorry. I see what you are going for now.

    In my own boredom I once debated whether Civil War is a “Captain America” movie or an “Avengers” movie. If it’s a Captain America movie it had a pretty great box office increase….but….realistically in every bit of advertising this was an “Avengers” movie (and a damn well reviewed one), that earned about $300 million less than Ultron worldwide and came in under Iron Man 3.

    So has Marvel already reached their summit? Don’t get me wrong, if they have any studio should be so lucky. But does Infinity War have enough of a gimmick to get back to original Avengers heights or have they gone as high as they will go?

    I already dread the think pieces to come when Last Jedi comes in under Force Awakens and if Han Solo doesn’t break a billion. Neither would be the least bit surprising (or make the films any less massive hits), but oh the clickbait to come!

  9. Movieman says:

    One Cleveland theater is playing two different editions of “Latin Lover.”
    The bilingual version Joe alluded to, AND an all-Spanish language/subtitled one.
    I’m guessing that’s the norm in most major markets.

  10. Charles Mayaki says:

    Road show prices indeed for Bahubaali 2.
    I went to the AMC Rolling Hills 20 to catch the 11am showing.
    That’s usually $6.49. I paid $15 to see Bahubaali. 2.5 X the normal price.
    I saw Dangal at the same theatre and paid 6.49.
    I doubt Bahubaali sold more tickets opening weekend than Dangal.
    If it did, it wasn’t by much.
    The distributor must have four walled every theatre they played in. That’s when the theatre lets you set your own price.
    That takes guts though. That’s 2 million dollars up front.
    If I were Disney, I am four walling The Last Jedi and setting my own prices.
    If any movie can sell road show prices, it’s that.
    Bahubaali was a good movie though.

  11. Monco says:

    “So has Marvel already reached their summit?”

    Yes. Their only options are to push more heroes into these films and they are running out quickly. They already wasted Spiderman appearing in an Avengers movie with CW. Is Starlord appearing in Infinity War enough of a gimmick to expand the gross? I bet no.

  12. EtGuild2 says:

    The above question and nearly exact response was written on this blog extensively years ago. So I guess the question is…what do you consider the summit? Because the summit was 2012 in terms of single-movie, but you’d be crazy to argue the pre-2012 MCU was more successful than the post 2012 one.

    We’re about to see a GOTG movie clear $1 billion. THOR 3, which was supposed to be the “next risk,” shattered records for trailer hits well above ULTRON or CIVIL WAR. BLACK PANTHER, the “next risk after that,” is apparently so good that Marvel, in a studio first, let journalists look at production dailies of it. Now we’re questioning whether INFINITY WAR will be big enough to hit $2 billion, and ignoring the fact this studio is now profitable enough to churn out three movies a year. Maybe AVENGERS 1’s box office will stand for years on end, but in terms of total gross by MS per year, no, we ain’t there yet.

    Marvel is near the point of topping the entire worldwide gross of the four HUNGER GAMES movies every single year.

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah those numbers are astounding. I can’t believe how much money those movies make, and people don’t seem to be getting sick of them at all. As Ethan points out quite the contrary. I know we all have different taste and all that, but it really boggles my mind. I’ve yet to see one that didn’t make me wish I had done just about anything else with those 120-150 minutes.

  14. Geoff says:

    Night Owl yes – Etguild and JSPartisan busted out the pitchforks for me a year ago for saying this but considering it was marketed as Avengers 2.5, considering it was the vaunted re-introduction of Spiderman, and considering that most critics were gushing over it several weeks before release, ‘Civil War should have done better than selling fewer tickets than Iron Man 3 three years prior – the brand has matured JUST like the Fast/Furious brand has matured and F8 of the Furious is still likely to clear $1.3 billion. Does that mean that these films are losing money or are going away any time soon?? Not at all. Just like The Walking Dead, a show with ratings which peaked a couple of seasons ago but is still the highest rated TV show right now.

    And Etguild, that’s just a goofy comparison – for one you’re comparing Disney to Lionsgate which is like comparing McDonald’s to Five Guys. And along those lines, Marvel/Disney spent more on ‘Guardians the Squeakuel than Lionsgate spent on last two Hunger Games films COMBINED. Those last two combined to make more than $1.3 billion worldwide while ‘Guardians Part Deux will be happy to clear $900 mill worldwide.

    It made $100 million overseas this past weekend covering most of the overseas market – if it follows the typical Marvel sequel trajectory, that’s likely to be about 25% of the total international gross so short of a China explosion and/or better domestic legs than the unusually leggy first Guardians, how do you see it clearing a billion?? 🙂

    That said, I’m quite looking forward to Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther….

  15. Js partisan says:

    Ethan, Scarlett got that GitS movie, to almost two hundred million. When you have a wounded bird, and make a better than average landing with it. That’s a win. The Circle, on the other hand, is another one of those movies, that no one gives a shit to see. Why? We already know, that social media and Google, are fucking us. We all know. We don’t need a hokey fucking movie, that is retreading some Black Mirror shit, to warn us about social networking. We fucking get it, and hope it doesn’t get, that stupid.

    Geoff. It wasn’t sold, as Avengers 2.5. Stop it, with that bullshit. It’s bullshit. It was sold, as an extension, of Cap’s story. Sure. It has avengers shit in it, but it’s how the universe work. Spiderman, isn’t fucking Iron Man 3.5. It’s an overlapping universe. That’s how this shit works. Seriously. It’s how it works.

    And in what world, does Guardians not make a billion dollars? Come on, man. It’s got all the way to the end of the month, to beat Beast. It will continue to pick up steam overseas, and the rest is history. Again, when Thor beats JL…

    That aside, Stella, you have a lot of horror movies to watch, and I have a lot of Marvel movies Also,, in what world does The Last Jedi not best TFA, or even tie it? Did sequel fever die down? Can Jon Boyega, finally date? It will either tie, or best it. Asia, can’t ignore it, with homegrown shit… This time. Also…Luke.

  16. EtGuild2 says:

    Geoff make another comparison then. MS is on the verge of basically releasing three Potter movies a year….only Its releases are more profitable than Potter save the premiere and finale. The 6th Annual Straw Grasping to prove Marvel Studios is heading toward a nadir starts before May this year it seems!

    This year we have a hot new special, WALKING DEAD coomparisons! Good grief. Math on the billion: 50% territorial increases over comps, weaker dollar be damned, put it above a billion.

    @JS, putting aside the fact id rather be Europa than Paramount given the money lost of Ghost, that was really just a domestic point. For all I know, Zoe Saldana might have the overseas record for actress in a month. It’s just intersting to me than Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz held the top for 20+ years and could consistently open almost anything, even total crap. Maybe Scarjo and Watson will be consistent $15 million grossers one day. Not yet.

  17. Stella's Boy says:

    For someone like me who doesn’t see every single MCU movie and isn’t familiar with any of the source material or that world in general, Civil War seemed like it was being sold as an Avengers movie much more than a Captain America movie. Having seen it it feels more like an Avengers movie than a Captain America movie. So yeah it is how the universe works, but maybe it all depends on your knowledge of and familiarity with the MCU. And I think it looks stupid but I have no problem believing that GOTG 2 makes a billion dollars.

  18. Chucky says:

    Worshipping brand name movies, using alphabet soup, typing in all-caps, using profanity. What a sorry lot!

    @EtGuild2: There was no “reexpansion” for “Get Out”. More than a few arthouses picked it up simply because there’s a lack of playable upmarket product.

  19. Geoff says:

    Thank you Chucky – yes I played a part in the text-speak my apologies but I don’t know when this blog had to become a Breitbart-like circle jerk on behalf of all things Disney and Marvel. It’s ok to enjoy these movies and still remain objective about the numbers.

    And JS I doubt you’re serious when you’re​ talking about how Civil War was marketed – all I was going on to make that determination were the traliers, posters, TV spots, and the press tour.

    And Etguild, you made the comparison not me and I’m not sure why you has to use the Hunger Games which is a series that delivered more bang for the buck than most others in recent years. For comparable scale, you COULD try the LOTR/Hobbit movies, two trilogies which each made around $3 billion worldwide with the more expensive trilogies costing around $625 million….Marvel Studios has spent a bit more than that for it’s last three films resulting about $2.3 billion worldwide. That’s very good but not particularly historic. Oh and Illumination made around that much on it’s last three movies too….at less than half of what Marvel Studios spent.

    Nobody’s saying the MCU is headed towards its “nadir” and simple acknowledgement​ of the franchise maturing is not the same thing.

  20. Geoff says:

    Oh yeah the last three Fox/Marvel films grossed a combined $1.9 billion worldwide on combined budgets of $330 million….all released within the past 18 months….and two of them were R-rated.

    Etguild, are we still ONLY bowing down to Disney/Marvel when you have at least two other studios right now with similar levels of financial success albeit at lower costs??

  21. Js partisan says:

    Geoff, you can’t be serious, about the Avengers nonsense. Civil War, doesn’t work, without the Cap story, that sustains it. A horror fan, thinking it’s an Avengers movie, is fine, but Ultron is an Avengers movie. Civil War, is a Cap movie, featuring the Avengers. This shit is a year old, and we can just move on, with this year’s business!

    And you really think, that Deadpool 2, is getting made on the cheap? Seriously, you’re a DC fanboy, and guess what? They are spending as much, or more, than Marvel Studios, and do not even come close, to making that Marvel Studios money.

  22. Geoff says:

    LOL who said I was a DC fanboy?? I love good movies and yes, I would put Nolan’s Batman trilogy above most other in the genre but I would also count The Avengers, Iron Man, Superman II, The Rocketeer, X2, and Spiderman 2 as my other favorites. We’re not talking about DC here….they should have let Zack Snyder go gracefully after Man of Steel years ago….and I’ll allow myself to be impressed with Geoff Johns once he is able to successfully launch a Flash movie.

    And I don’t think Deadpool 2 will be made on the cheap but there’s no way that Fox is going to spend $150 million on it either….it’s being directed by half of the John Wick team who apparently both SPECIALIZE in reasonably priced action – neither Atomic Blonde nor John Wick 2 cost more than $40 million so there’s that.

    And I’m fine moving on but even most die-hard MCU fanboys who I know are willing to admit that ‘Civil War was more of an Avengers movie than a Captain America sequel. Hell just beyond the marketing…I’m visiting with my parents now in Vegas and my father who LOVED the first two Captain America movies (watches Winter Soldier every time it appears on Starz) but refuses to see anything in a movie theater anymore sat down to watch Civil War on Netflix while I was here and guess what??

    Not making this shit up as it happened two days ago: we had to pause it at least THREE TIMES just in the first half hour so I could explain to him what was going on – no context for who Scarlet Witch is, what the hell Sokovia is, why is this Alfre Woodard character angry at Robert Downey, who is this red-colored Data-like character cooking while wearing LL Bean sweaters, what’s so special about Wakanda, etc… actually need to have watched all of the prior Avengers/Iron Man films to be able to genuinely grasp what is going on. Even in the lead-up to the release of ‘Age of Ultron, you could hear Feige and everybody below him talking it up like the events in that film were leading DIRECTLY into ‘Civil War.

    Dude let it go….this is getting to the point where you’re going to next tell me that Trump REALLY did win the popular vote but was robbed because of five million illegal immigrants.

  23. Geoff says:

    Speaking of which, if you’re able to bring Joss Whedon into the fold, why waste him on a tertiary character like Batgirl?? Dude was born to direct The Flash.

  24. EtGuild2 says:

    Thanks Chucky, I appreciate the anti-consumerism reminder coming from the blog’s resident Glen Beck apologist, but since you bashed American indies as a circle jerk in a closet and foreign films as imported guilt I’m more curious about your taste than ever.

    Geoff, Marvel Fox has a long and storied history of bombing every few movies. I’m glad you think DARK PHOENIX and NEW MUTANTS, the latter of which is a movie with no cast, or shooting schedule, but comes out in 11 months are winning propositions. You have more confidence in Fox Marvel than the actual studio does, which is commendable.

    Joking aside I prefer the Fox movies, and it’s nice that in their most profitable three-film stretch in company history, they came in the ballpark of Civil War-Strange-Guardians, but things are such a mess over there I never expect it to happen again. Kinberg!

  25. Chucky says:

    So I’m a Glen (sic) Beck apologist? He is a chickenhawk and a Grade A woman-basher.

    The circle jerks are constantly drooling over comic book and superhero movies while the entire industry is fast becoming barren as far as creativity.

  26. Stella's Boy says:

    Yes if only this horror fan (horror I mean come on) was sophisticated enough to like comic book movies, the pinnacle of sophisticated films. Seriously though what’s the difference between an Avengers movie with Captain America in it and a Captain America movie featuring the Avengers? That really sounds like splitting heirs, but I like horror movies so what do I know.

    Grumpy sniping aside, even though there are plenty of successes outside of the MCU, it sure seems like they are operating at a level all their own. Maybe that won’t last, maybe Fox Marvel can become as consistent, maybe DC gets it together, but right now there’s the MCU and the rest. They seem to excel at giving people what they want and satisfying diehards like IO and more casual fans with each and every film. I admire the success even though I don’t like them, sort of like how I feel about the Patriots.

  27. Js partisan says:

    You have to be a fucking boy, if you keep.using a ten year old blog name. Ten years old, Boy. I guess some boys don’t grow up, and enjoy more macabre entertainment. Yes. You love the movies, where people get needlessly killed, but I’m an asshole for liking Marvel Studios. Where’s fucking Nelson Munst, when I need him?

    Geoff, my old ass momma, can tell the difference. Apparently, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree over there. No one, fucking stated there isn’t any connectivity, but you want to act like the movie doesn’t have a fucking title. Seriously, this is your stupid hill, and you can fucking die on it, with your glib trump comments.

    This, from the same motherfucker, who goes on rants in this blog, about fucking Disney getting favorable reviews, but wants to turn shit on me. Geoff, just doesn’t learn.

  28. EtGuild2 says:

    Ahhhh, sorry Chucky, I forgot he’s had some sort of epiphany. Tomi Lahren fan or Laura Ingraham?

    The entire industry is a creative blackhole, as opposed to what…the 2000s? The 90s? There’s more interesting indies than ever, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard you praise a single movie in 10 years here. I always picture you as a big McTiernan fan.

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    Wrong IO. I don’t care that you like the MCU. Plenty of really nice people like the MCU. Many of my friends downright love the MCU. You are an asshole because you constantly rip the taste of others as well as ripping anyone who dares to not love Marvel and the MCU as much as you do. Big difference.

    Amen Ethan. There are great films all over the place.

  30. Hcat says:

    JS you spent years gushing over Spider-Man, nolans, batman, watchmen, Webbs Spider-Man etc only to turn on each of them, so listening to you split hairs about civil war when youre only going to lament how they got it all wrong a few years from now is tiring. There is no reason to watch either film again but I bet Downey had a higher percentage of scree time in CW then Cavill had in BVS.

    And while I don’t agree with Chucky about a total black hole but the IP is certainly sucking all the air from the industry. In the 90s and 2000s a best actress win would mean at least five years of interesting possibilities now it gets you a spandex role, or worse damsel in distress. Every time they tap Stone, Adams, Mcadams for some main squeeze role it prevents them from working to the heights of their talents. Look at these casts and see how many oscar winners are shuffled into third to seventh billing because Hollywood would rather spend 200 mil on a teenage wank than 20 to 40 on an actual adult movie. Every Indie Performance that Tomei doesn’t give so she can be nursemaid to Peter Parker is a loss to the industry on the whole.

  31. EtGuild2 says:

    Not to focus on one comment but doesn’t Oscar guarantee MORE interesting choices, for say, best actress winners in the low-budget indie age? Lawrence was already in spandex, but moved onto more work with David O. Russell, and now Darren Aronofsky. Blanchett, in addition to THOR, has worked with Haynes and Malick. Julianne Moore is about to enter her 12th career renaissance with Haynes, Weitz, and Clooney/The Coens.

    And Brie Larson, who I assume the comment was partly about has three lead roles between ROOM and MARVEL (Free Fire and Kong were already in production), including her directorial debut which she also stars in! In what universe would Larson get lead billing ahead of and be able to direct Sam Jackson without an Oscar when she spent years toiling in barely speaking supporting roles? Can’t a girl have a little fun now and again?

  32. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Every time they tap Stone, Adams, Mcadams for some main squeeze role it prevents them from working to the heights of their talents. Look at these casts and see how many oscar winners are shuffled into third to seventh billing because Hollywood would rather spend 200 mil on a teenage wank than 20 to 40 on an actual adult movie.

    Your logic doesn’t stack up, just break it down. Stone won the Oscar and made Birdman AFTER appearing in Spidey. Adams has made Nocturnal Animals, Arrival etc AFTER playing Lois. All the evidence points to their appearing in Marvel / comic movies opening more doors in their careers than they close.

  33. Hcat says:

    Lawrence got a shot at spandex after winters bone nomination, she was already on her way and Hunger Games secured her stardom more than First Class did, she only came front and center in the sequels after they shifted them to accommodate her stardom. Adams has been an industry favorite for a decade there is no possible way that she wouldn’t have gotten asked to do Arrival without Man of Steel, and I’m sure as hell that Ford didn’t consider her Lois perm when casting Animals. Th point is that we get less Arrivals and NA when we insist on our top talent make doe eyes at cartoons.

    Same with Stone, the Help, Easy A that’s what led to La La Land not Mary Jane.

    Sure iron man reminded us that Paltrow could be charming, but that doesn’t do her any good as an actress if they don’t have any non marvel films for her to show it off in.

  34. Hcat says:

    As for Lason her Oscar did give her opportunities, to continue making small indie films, but when she goes to the studio level it requires none of the chops she showed in short term 12, Spectacular Now, and Room. Sure she gets to have fun but what’s fun about spending months making and promoting what will be one of the least interesting parts of your filmography.

    And I want to apologize for all the typing descrepenciea, I almost never post from my phone and am quite the Luddite

  35. EtGuild2 says:

    Maybe I’m not seeing your point. Mine is that Oscar Winning actresses, actors…Oscar winners in general score more lead roles and work than in the past–they just don’t happen to be in “major studio” films that aren’t franchises as much, because those movies simply don’t exist. That seems like a small price to pay for actually getting to work more and to cut a sizable paycheck every now and again for a KONG or MCU movie. Larson had a whopping three concurrent lead roles fly into production immediately post-Oscar and was offered work left and right.

    And I don’t think it’s a stretch to have fun making or promoting promoting Marvel’s first female-fronted movie…especially given she’s with Fleck/Boden, the amazing team behind HALF NELSON, SUGAR and MISSISSIPPI GRIND.

  36. Hcat says:

    Your point that those movies don’t exist in exactly on the nose. That is my problem. Fleck/Boden get a nice paycheck to participate in a franchise that TV directors have thrived in. Wouldn’t it be better if they got one fifth of those resources for something that they could put more of a personal stamp on. I really enjoyed Aint Them Bodies Saints and am glad it led to bigger things for that guy, but Pete’s Dragon was not a good use of his talent. Its like if Hal Ashby followed up Harold and Maude with Herbie Rides Again.

  37. EtGuild2 says:

    I feel what you’re saying, I think, but there haven’t exactly been a plethora of non-franchise studio movies since the 90s. We’ve definitely hit an all-time low, with Warner Bros and Sony really the last majors still committing somewhat to the traditional model, but I’d still trade the boatload of indie opportunities now for an extra six or seven major studio productions productions a year. Which is basically where things stood 12 years ago before digital had cheapened production.

    Julianne Moore is a great example. She’ll have released her 20th movie since 2010 in a major supporting or lead role by the end of the year, which is more than her whole output from 1999-2010 during her “Far From Heaven” and “The Hours” days. Incredible!

    If you consider “Hollywood” to just be the Big 6 though, I’m with you. With Sony and Paramount struggling mightily year after year though, I think it’s odd we’re still even paying attention to the old structure and pining for the old days in a system that financially can’t support it.

  38. Ray Pride says:

    David Lowery has made A GHOST STORY, which A24’s putting in the middle of summer, and there are other auspicious hints of small-scale industry in his occasional dispatches from shooting THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN, with Robert Redford and Casey Affleck.

  39. Sideshow Bill says:

    JS wrote:

    “Yes. You love the movies, where people get needlessly killed, but I’m an asshole for liking Marvel Studios.”

    This comment really sticks in fucking craw. Reducing the entire horror genre down to people getting “needlessly killed” is ignorant. Especially coming from a fan of the comic book genre where –GASP!!– people get needlessly killed in masses. How many people did Deadpool needlessly kill, or Wolverine? The Avengers?
    You get the idea. What’s the difference? There is a lot of mean-spirited shit in the horror genre but it doesn’t define the genre. Dismissing it wholesale is such an idiotic, uneducated thing to do. It’s one thing if you just don’t like horror films. Fine. I don’t like romantic comedies. But both genres have produced as much great art as any other genre.

    And I say all this as someone who loves the MCU films and likes DC. I like all that shit. But taking a moral high ground on horror while ranting about the virtues of Deadpool or The Avengers is pretty fucking stupid.

    And Civil War was totally Avenger 2.5. Cap was the main focus but Iron Man had as much importance to that story as he did.

  40. EtGuild2 says:

    The argument on CIVIL WAR being AVENGERS 2.5 from last year is not being accurately characterized. It had to do, on my end at least, with the fact that it didn’t deliver overseas gross receipts on par with AVENGERS 1 and 2, and looking at CIVIL WAR internationally as clearly a drop-off from ULTRON rather than an increase from WINTER SOLDIER or a combination of the two is silly.

    My argument was that Captain America, as a figure stooped in American propaganda, didn’t play well overseas the first time and decently the second. Geoff argued that the international dropoff stemmed from fatigue rather than casual fans not being able to discern that a movie titled “Captain America” in Saudi Arabia, and even in the U.S., or wherever is actually an Avengers film. My point was, shocker, there’s people that go to movies without an encyclopedic or beyond very basic understanding of canon, and you can’t be expecting CIVIL WAR to do $1.5 billion based on canonized intent or even marketing when it’s still called Captain America.

    A 62% increase above Winter Soldier and 18% drop from ULTRON seemed dead on with expectations, not an underperformer or disappointment, to me at least! And that was also overlooking the drastic fall of the dollar, which depressed totals the rest of the year and now (with FAST 8 being crowned the “biggest Chinese import” at $30 million less than FAST 7).

  41. Hcat says:

    As far as the big six in the mid nineties and 2000s they had the little six as well. Searchlight and Focus used to be able to get films out into the larger conversation, They have had a rough few years but Focus at least looks like they might come screaming back this summer.

    As for not being finacially viable I disagree. Universal makes more than decent coin taking risks on smaller movies, its when they jump with both feet into blockbusters where they get creamed. Same with Columbia, hell Columbia should never make anything that isnt a cheap low brow comedy or based on an amazing true story (though if they threw in the occasional literary classic I wouldnt mind they excelled at those in the nineties). Its chasing these franchises that leads to financial instability not making inexpensive movies with talent. Give Larson a 20 Million dollar drama and distribution channels to put it in front of audiences. How did Lionsgate get La La Land? Every studio turned it down and walked away from a hefty profit because they did not want to take any bit of a chance even though the talent involved showed little to no downside.

  42. EtGuild2 says:

    Good point on the dependents Hcat. I just see A24, Roadside, etc taking their place, and yeah Focus coming back into Focus. Universal is a weird bird in that they have established franchises and Illumination as a financial safety net, as well as the fantastic deal with Blumhouse, so they can afford to occasionally take a risk like “American Made” or “The Snowman.”

    Sony/Columbia is an example of why that model doesn’t work anymore though without that franchise/pipeline net that Disney, Uni and to a lesser extent Fox and WB have. Sony’s on its third year of not being able to break a billion domestically (the company just reported jaw-dropping Sony Pictures net losses in its earnings), and may be headed for their worst raw dollar total since 1999 even with Spidey. Hopefully, with 8 originals between now at 2018, they’ll break out again. Rooting for them.

  43. Hcat says:

    Sony and Paramount are failing because they are following the Disney model with out the base properties to pull it off, they mine what they have rights to and try to raise it from the dead. American Hustle and Captain Phillips made money but they still want to chase Pixels and Goosebumps and Ghostbusters and Jumanji in hopes of a half billion dollar payoff. They went to the well a third time on the Smurfs, why? Because they did a good job on the first two and people were clamoring for more? Simply because they owned the rights to a kids property. Paramount reboots the Ring? because they have a something to bring to the table? no they just own the rights. They lost money on a horror film, how ass backwards do you have to be to loose money on a horror film in 2017? They are cutting against the grain and loosing money on big bets instead of gaining ground with smaller films. Sony released Moneyball for chrissakes, did anyone bother to watch it? Or look to see what that ROI was compared to Chappie?

    Universal does have established franchises, but they grew them from the ground up. Fast and Furious was what $35 million? The first Bourne $60? The Despicables are a bargain compared to what Sony and Disney spend on a animated property. If they could restore Focus to what it was between 02 and 10 (plus restore Searchlight to its luster of just a few years ago) I would stop complaining about there being so many damn CGI movies.

  44. Hcat says:

    And you mentioned Sony’s big writedown, I think you are talking about the one earlier this year that reconfigured the value of the studio going back to when they bought it. Man what a tough thing to announce, they basically said “we have to write off a billion because we honestly thought we would be better at this.”

  45. Geoff says:

    JS how did I just KNOW you were going to go there?? My father has his Masters and taught HS math, science, and social studies for more than 30 years but sorry….even a PhD would find it a bit challenging to comprehend all that was going in if they watched the mid-season finale of Agents of Shield or Arrow after having only watched a couple of episodes from the prior season.

    And Etguild, my contention last year was that the DOMESTIC numbers for ‘Civil War were a let-down, not the international numbers – it ended up barely grossing what Iron Man 3 did three years prior which nobody was predicting just a few months prior to release.

    And interesting Oscar discussion here – I actually think this whole trend of “cashing” in on winning and Oscar as opposed to nabbing more interesting roles kind of kicked off with Nicholas Cage more than 20 years ago. After winning his Best Actor Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas from ’95, he pretty much went on a flat-out commercial spending spree that I don’t think any other Oscar winner has even approached since then – from ’96 to 2000, he starred in FIVE big budget action films released during the summer: The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off, Snake Eyes, and Gone in 60 Seconds. Try as she might, let’s see Brie Larson top THAT!

    And folks act like this “esteemed actor tries out a comic book movie” trend started with Robert Redford in ‘Winter Soldier a few years ago….it’s being going on that way for decades: Hackman in Superman, Nicholson in Batman, Pacino in Dick Tracy…..hell Orson Welles got one of his biggest paychecks voicing one of the main characters in the Transformers movie during the ’80’s.

  46. EtGuild2 says:

    @Hcat, since 2015 started Sony has released 34 movies that opened wide or went wide, 26 of which were non-franchise movies, the highest proportion of any major studio. Even if you remove stuff like “Goosebumps” and “Pixers(?), you also have Chappie, Aloha, Ricki and the Flash, The Walk, Concussion, The Brothers Grimsby, Billy Lynn, and Life as money losers with the barely breakeven Passengers as a standout. Paramount has half a dozen of their own.

    It’s not like they’re not trying, but without a Blumhouse or stellar in-house animation studio, it’s not sustainable. Sony thought they did have that I’d guess, with their faith division, but it hasn’t been consistent.

    @Geoff Ah yes, that argument. It was supposed to match ULTRON domestically. Or maybe ULTRON is the disappointment because of IRON MAN 3. Or maybe IRON MAN 3 is a post-AVENGERS outliar. Zzzzz

  47. Mike says:

    “Chappie, Aloha, Ricki and the Flash, The Walk, Concussion, The Brothers Grimsby, Billy Lynn, and Life”

    You know, these may not have been moneymakers, but these are all originals, aimed at adults, with good talent in front and behind. These are the kinds of movies that they should get credit for trying to make.

  48. Bulldog68 says:

    “Not making this shit up as it happened two days ago: we had to pause it at least THREE TIMES just in the first half hour so I could explain to him what was going on – no context for who Scarlet Witch is, what the hell Sokovia is, why is this Alfre Woodard character angry at Robert Downey, who is this red-colored Data-like character cooking while wearing LL Bean sweaters, what’s so special about Wakanda, etc… actually need to have watched all of the prior Avengers/Iron Man films to be able to genuinely grasp what is going on. Even in the lead-up to the release of ‘Age of Ultron, you could hear Feige and everybody below him talking it up like the events in that film were leading DIRECTLY into ‘Civil War.”

    Probably the best thing I’ve read as to why it’s more Avengers 2.5 than Captain America.

    Lets say you hate the Avengers movies, for whatever reason, but you love Captain America, I can totally understand that you wouldn’t know your elbow from your asshole when watching Civil War.

    Additionally, Iron Man had more of an arc. Cpt America got his bromance groove back. Iron Man found out who killed his parents. Which character had the bigger life changing story?

  49. Geoff says:

    “@Geoff Ah yes, that argument. It was supposed to match ULTRON domestically. Or maybe ULTRON is the disappointment because of IRON MAN 3. Or maybe IRON MAN 3 is a post-AVENGERS outliar. Zzzzz”

    Um EtGuild ‘Civil War grossing less than ‘Ultron grossing less than the first Avengers is a trend no matter how much you want yawn it off….it’s a DOWNWARD trend, what’s really up for debate here? You and JS must own stock in Disney or something.

  50. EtGuild2 says:

    In the world of Geoff, HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABHAN was a trendline of decline and possible doom for the franchise.

  51. Geoff says:

    Bulldog, logic like that just doesn’t play with this crowd – according to JS and Etguild, the Russo Brothers and Kevin Feige are simply infallible at this point and if WE don’t support them….then the terrorists win.

  52. EtGuild2 says:

    Geoff, you probably like the Russos’ movies more than me. But you are on a yearlong crusade positing that THE AGE OF ULTRON not being the #2 film ever made and CIVIL WAR not being in the all-time top 5 is some evidence of failure, failing to meet expectations, sign of decline, whatever. So I have no idea of your taste or why you’d think I like the Russos.

  53. Stella's Boy says:

    Geoff I am sympathetic to and agree with much of what you’ve said here as I am not fan of the MCU, but all three of those movies made at least $1.1 billion. I agree that Civil War was sold like an Avengers movie, but despite it making less than Avengers and Ultron, I’m not sure that’s evidence of a serious decline or proof that people are tiring of the MCU.

  54. Js partisan says:

    Boy, you know what’s an asshole move? Using an old fucking nickname, as a dig. You use boy in yours. Culturally, I can’t help, but goof on it, because that’s a word no southern male, ever wants to be referred too. That aside, you’ve never seem to get, that vehemently defending something, doesn’t negate your feelings, or opinions. I will defend my shit. Guess what? Read what you write, about some horror films, and how you post about your taste, as if it makes you superior. I’m not above any human, but feel free to be angry, about ten year old shit.

    Bob, let it fucking stick, in your fucking grawl. I’m pissed off, that people would rather be scared, than fucking inspired. Sci-fi, deserves better, than watching shitty fucking horror movies, make that genre more fucking sustainable. That pisses me the fuck off, but guess what? I love horror movies, but so many of them are just bullshit. They aren’t even scary fun. They are just tiresome, repetitive, but the people love to be scared by nonsense. I’ve made my peace with it, but it can still piss me off. It’s like, I like the idea of the Belko Experiment, but the execution? Nah. Why the fuck, do I want to watch a bunch of white collar schmoes, randomly kill each other? Shits already hard enough in these streets. No need to exacerbate the situation, and forcing them to work in Columbia? Man, them five figures, wasn’t worth that hassle. I’m sure Columbia is nice and all, but those people were sent down there to work, and get fucked up, by Tony Goodwyn!

    Geoff nice parental accomplishments, but you made some glib trump comment, so of course I went there. Seeing, as you are the guy, who treats Disneys rt score, like the fucking Zapruder film. Again, I like discussing things with you. It’s spirited, but sometimes you cross a line, not stating that I don’t, but that was a line.

  55. Geoff says:

    Ok JS, I’ll own up to the fact that we both crossed a line there – comparing anybody REMOTELY sensible to Trump is below the belt, I’ll give you that. 😉

    And dude most of these blog discussions are about BOX OFFICE…numbers….discussion of minutiae relating to the success or perceived success of various films. Rotten Tomatoes scores are as relevant a part of that ongoing conversation as batting averages are to baseball.

    And it’s not a year-long crusade Etguild or a two year crusade or whatever….’Ultron was fine and ‘Civil War was ok….in parts. It’s an eight year franchise with ups and downs just like any other sorry….this one happened to explode at just the right time when Asian markets could make your films profitable even when domestic grosses couldn’t.

    And I’ll give Feige this: you may find my comparison of this franchise to a big budget workplace sitcom dismissive but that is EXACTLY what he hand in mind from the get-go – best way to ensure that the average moviegoer keeps coming back again and again is make it like Seinfeld, Cheers, Friends…..visit some old friends and watch them banter for a couple of hours every few months. If these movies had actual STAKES, then half of these characters would be dead by now…or at least doing something different. I mean wow, we now have the FIFTH film coming out soon (Spiderman Homecoming) where the plot is driven by an old business associate and/or rival of Tony Stark’s who now wants to exact revenge on him…..just like Jerry and Newman’s rivalry, Carla and Diane arguing…’s a predictable cycle at this point and that’s by design. Does that make for memorable movies? Not in my opinion.

    And you take any of the highest rated shows in TV history and were any of them actually STILL growing in their eighth year?? Nope.

    So once again, I’m not really seeing what I’m saying that is so controversial.

  56. EtGuild2 says:

    “this one happened to explode at just the right time when Asian markets could make your films profitable even when domestic grosses couldn’t.”

    Wowwwwwww that’s a doozy. The idea that the MCU is better off without the DVD market is something, to say nothing of the fact DP spent four years accurately noting IRON MAN and the pre-AVENGERS’ overseas problem, that these movies had an international lack of appeal that may act as a ceiling. And now history is upside down, the moon is made of cheese and international is the reason the MCU succeeded.

    I wish there was a block button here at this point…you’re like a fiery super-nova of stupidity or insanity, and I’m getting dumber by proximity. You never answer basic questions. You pivot to some other mind-numbing argument. “Thank god for international!” No explanation for accusing me of being in the tank for movies I generally don’t care for, or why ULTRON not being #2 all-time is evidence of something. Moving on to the next crazy assertion is your modus operandi.

  57. EtGuild2 says:

    That being said, I appreciate your admission that the lack of stakes and genericness irks you. It’s the fact you don’t see that this dislike leads you to make weird pronouncements that gets to me. I must love crap or own stock because I consistently defend the success of the defining franchise in Hollywood.

    I really really dislike Illumination Entertainment from a quality perspective. They are the anti-Pixar and make poison for kids in my opinion. But I am fascinated by the monumental success of their movies and probably brought it up more than anyone here. Financial appreciation and personal taste can be mutually exclusive. I can appreciate Rihanna topping the Beatles even after bemoaning her records in comparison.

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    Apparently GOTG 2 is going to open somewhere between $140-$160 million. I find that mind-boggling and remarkable. Doesn’t that speak to the strength and reliability of Marvel? I had never even heard of GOTG before the first one was announced. Even with good reviews, I never imagined it would make anywhere near $333 million domestic and more than $700 million worldwide. Marvel sure seems like a consistent juggernaut to me.

  59. Hcat says:

    “They are the anti-Pixar and make poison for kids in my opinion”

    Its an imperfect metaphor but I always think of Pixar as Chaplin and Illumination as the Three Stooges. Pixar (at least at its best) is lyrical balletic filmmaking, Illumination is baggy pants pie in the face. If there is a surprise among the two its that things like UP, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Inside Out land at the same level as the broader stuff.

  60. EtGuild2 says:

    I like that, and that’s true about Pixar’s performance. What fascinates me about Illumination though is that over the last 5 or 6 years, DWA and Blue Sky have released a ton of lazy crap but they haven’t hit on the level of Minions, Pets or even really Sing (aside from Ice Age 3 and 4 overseas) because…they were still aiming too high? Illumination taps into the lowest common denominator zeitgeist in a way that’s tough to characterize. It’s like they make their stuff using the animatronic animal brain of a 9-year old.

  61. Stella's Boy says:

    My 9-year-old absolutely and positively loves every single Illumination movie. He howls from start to finish. So they know what kids like.

  62. Geoff says:

    ““this one happened to explode at just the right time when Asian markets could make your films profitable even when domestic grosses couldn’t.”

    Wowwwwwww that’s a doozy. The idea that the MCU is better off without the DVD market is something, to say nothing of the fact DP spent four years accurately noting IRON MAN and the pre-AVENGERS’ overseas problem, that these movies had an international lack of appeal that may act as a ceiling. And now history is upside down, the moon is made of cheese and international is the reason the MCU succeeded.”

    Not sure why you’re conflating what I have said with what Dave says….five years ago, I was among those arguing with David vigorously on this blog as to the success of Iron Man and The Avengers along with their QUALITY – but yes, back then these films seemed much more fresh.

    Your insults to my intelligence aside Etguild, this did provide me with a nice little diversion by doing a little numbers research to see if I’m so detached from reality as you keep stating.

    Here are the overseas grosses for every MCU film and the percentage that came from China:

    Iron Man – $267 million, 6% from China
    The Incredible Hulk, $129 million, 7% from China

    Iron Man 2 – $311 million, 3% from China

    Thor – $268 million, O% reported from China
    Captain America: The First Avenger – $194 million, 0% reported from China

    The Avengers – $895 million, 10% from China

    2013 (“The Avengers effect” time period)
    Iron Man 3 – $806 million, 15% from China
    Thor: The Dark World – $438 million, 13% from China

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $454 million, 25% from China
    Guardians of the Galaxy – $440 million, 22% from China

    Avengers: Age of Ultron – $946 million, 25% from China
    Ant-Man – $339 million, 31% from China

    Captain America: Civil War – $745 million, 24% from China
    Doctor Strange – $445, 24% from China

    And just WHEN did the China market open up big-time to U.S. releases….maybe around 2014? GOLLY GEE could these numbers indicate some kind of……trend?? 🙂

    Seriously man you’re INVITING the Trump comparisons when you’re trotting out bullshit that can be refuted with less than 10 minutes of research, then insulting those who call you out on that bullshit.

    So yes WITHOUT China’s grosses, you have several MCU films (‘Guardians, ‘Strange, Ant-Man) that might not have been PROFITABLE….WITHOUT China’s grosses, ‘Civil War doesn’t clear a billion….WITHOUT China’s grosses, ‘Ultron suffers a much larger drop-off from the first Avengers. This market was NOT there in force before 2013 or 2014 – YOU know this, Dave knows this, any one who reads this blog knows this! 😉

    So when you’re spouting hyperbole like Ultron is the “#2 of all time” to make your case, sorry NO…..there are at least a dozen worldwide grossers that came out before it that did NOT have the benefit of juiced numbers from China. Just five years prior to Ultron, Toy Story 3 cleared over a billion with ZERO grosses reported from China and four years prior the final Harry Potter made virtually the same worldwide number as ‘Ultron with only 6% of its overseas grosses from China. These are not apples-to-oranges comparisons like comparing Avatar’s box office to Gone With the Wind – these are films released within the same era but post-2014, those numbers are juiced with China.

    And I’m not saying that Marvel has been the only one to benefit – you have several recent films from various studios who could only boast on their perceived success thanks MOSTLY to China: Warcraft, Terminator Genisys, probably this most recent Fast/Furious movie, the last Resident Evil movie, the Transformers franchise, etc….

    And wow, I’m devoting way more time to my response than you deserve but describing the MCU films as sitcoms as one of MY main creative issues with them, one of the reasons that their numbers ARE “maturing”, and one of the reasons that the franchise has endured for eight years….these three things are NOT mutually exclusive, they’re all actually related.

    A good sitcom that doesn’t veer too much from its initial formula – like a Seinfeld or Cheers – can EASILY last six, eight, ten years because that formula makes its core audience comfortable while ALSO ensuring that the growth of that audience will slow down meaning that it will still have relatively strong ratings several years after it has reached its peak while ALSO ensuring that folks like myself who are outside of the core audience start to get bored with the results.

    It’s ALL linked together – I know this might come as a shock to you Etguild (and I know I’m getting increasinly condescending here but oh well), but oftentimes NOT striving for creativity can also ensure long-term success while also NOT winning over new fans long-term. Pure insanity right? 😉 It never happens in music, on TV, or any other art-form – so I’m guessing it just does not apply to Marvel Studios as a result…

    Oh yeah and Illumination isn’t going anywhere anytime soon for pretty much the same reasons – I can’t stand the minions myself, but we’re going to see them for years to come.

  63. EtGuild2 says:

    Geoff, buddy, China’s a miniscule component of these movies’ success compared to other major franchises, and there’s no way they wouldn’t have thrived if DVDs were still in place and China wasn’t or we lived in a universe without either. DOCTOR STRANGE for instance, provided about $24 million of the movie’s $200 million net profit at the box office.

    MCU movies make up none of China’s Top 5 imports, and just two of their Top 23(!).

    They thrive with China. They thrive without. Remove China and the average MCU movie looks more impressive compared to stuff like Transformers, Furious, video game franchises, the Hobbit, etc etc. You can remove China from every single MCU movie and they’re still all nine-figures+ in profit, aside from Ant-Man and Hulk which weren’t there to begin with.

    Your numbers are nice but if you put a bunch of franchises on paper in a hat and picked, it’s likely they’d look either the same or crazier in regards to China. The MCU isn’t some industry vacuum.

  64. Geoff says:

    Actually Etguild if you look at all four of Illumination’s worldwide hits POST-China boom, only one of them (Secret Life of Pets got 11%) cracked 10% of their overseas grosses from China.

    And the two recent Star Wars films: The Force Awakens got 10% overseas grosses from China and Rogue One got 13% of its overseas grosses from China.

    Like I said, less than 10 minutes of research….

  65. EtGuild2 says:

    “Your numbers are nice but if you put a bunch of franchises on paper in a hat and picked, it’s >>>>>>likely<<<<< they’d look either the same or crazier"

    1.such as well might happen or be true; probable.
    "the likely effects of the drought on sugar beet yields"

    I appreciate your efforts at research Geoff, but a basic grasp of American English might save you some time. When I say something's "likely," it's not meant to be a cue to go dumpster diving for the few examples that don't fit the mold.

  66. EtGuild2 says:

    Here, quickly, is a list of franchises with ongoing increases in Chinese percentage gross; hence the use of the work >>>>likely<<<< To spell this out very clearly, some, like Spider-Man, have been off for a few years, so percentages vary, but the MCU is fairly run of the mill in this list:

    Star Trek
    Fast and the Furious
    DC Comics
    Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit
    Video Game Movies
    Mission: Impossible
    Planet of the Apes
    Bond, though there haven't been enough releases to study the trend fully
    Disney Live Action remakes increasingly

  67. Geoff says:

    Not sure what you’re trying to say with that list and it’s not really helping your case either – the MCU has put out so many movies in a short amount of time that you have enough of a sample size to spot the obvious trend.

    Star Trek films have never relied on overseas grosses to make profit…which might have made it smarter to make them cheaper mind you.

    DC films are not a good example either – Man of Steel made 17% of its overseas gross in China while Batman V Superman made 18% of its overseas gross in China three years later and I don’t think you would find anybody at Warner Bros. who wasn’t disappointed with how it did in China considering the push they gave it. Meanwhile Suicide Squad didn’t even a release in China and still ended up making more overseas than any recent MCU film not featuring Tony Stark.

    X-Men yes to an extent – the last two team-up movies were pretty much saved by their grosses in China and while Logan would have profitable without Chinese grosses, they sure did help. But of course Deadpool didn’t even have a China release and is still likely the most profitable comic book movie of the past five years.

    Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit is a dead franchise that ran its course and yes those China grosses for the last two probably propped it up towards the end but not a trend you would want the MCU to be emulating either.

    Video game movies sure…but are Warcraft and Tomb Raider part of the same franchise now?

    SpiderMan definitely demonstrates this trend as ASM did 10% overseas in China then ASM2 did 20% overseas in China and I’ll bet that Sony is likely (proper use there?) counting on getting at least 25% from China this summer to re-boot the franchise AGAIN…so you’re not helping your case with that one either.

    I’m not sure Mission: Impossible is entirely relevant as it seems that Tom Cruise was big in China before China became CHINA – MI4 made $100 million in China in 2011 damn, that’s impressive. He was actually drawing solid grosses in China all the way back to the beginning of the franchise in ’96.

    Planet of the Apes yes – in 2011, 10% overseas from China and in 2014, 20 overseas from China so there ya go….of course isn’t that franchise ending this summer?

    Terminator yes but that franchise is now dead once again so not a good trend for the MCU to emulate.

    The Disney remakes do demonstrate an increasing dependence on China: BATB overseas has done 13% in China, Jungle Book overseas did 25% in China, Cinderella did 21%, Maleficent did SHOCKINGLY only 9% of its overseas gross in China. So you have an overall upward trend but ‘Beast did less in China than the previous two, so who knows?

    Bond was BOND overseas decades before China even started reporting box office figures – yes a good amount of that came from the UK obviously but you can go back to Moonraker in ’79 to when that film grossed as much in the rest of the world as it did in the US/UK combined.

    So yes you have have SOME franchises that have become more increasingly reliant on China than the MCU: Fast/Furious, Transformers, and Spiderman which is now part of the MCU. Good company to have I’m sure.

    And the X-Men is a tricky case because most of those films have started to rely more on China BUT their most popular character at the moment (Deadpool) apparently doesn’t even need China so that gets an asterisk.

    Fun little exercise.

  68. EtGuild2 says:

    *Flat Wrong on Star Trek: you’re arguing with Viacom’s own earnings statement on BEYOND last year, so take up your disagreement with Brad Gray.

    *You’re ignoring Nolan’s BATMAN but including early MCU

    *Mission Impossible went 3, 6, 10, 101, 135. Straightforward.

    You either agree with the increased reliance for Fast, Transformers, X-Men, LOTR, Bond, Spidey, Disney live action, video games, Apes, Terminator, or needlessly inject narrative opinion to deflect (what does Moonraker have to do with Spectre?) without actually disputing that it exists. Gotcha.

    But nice pivot once again!

  69. Monco says:

    The original question was about if Marvel has reached their summit or peak. I take this to mean, have we seen the highest total that one of these movies with Marvel superheroes can gross. I believe that we have seen that already. Hence the peak. So I believe we are on the downslope of this Marvel era. The very early downslope but a downslope nonetheless. Now there is no evidence to suggest that Marvel is in trouble or that doom is coming. But logic and history informs one that nothing lasts forever. One day one of these movies will significantly underperform. Et’s argument seems butressed the most by the fact that they have had no underperformers yet but it will happen. Or Downey will retire. Or they will exhaust all their storylines etc.

    Now, Et totally cleans my clock when he says that Marvel is gonna be releasing three of these things a year. That is a form of growth and something I did not consider when making my initial argument. In all honsety Et makes such strong arugments that I have to admit that my argument is based more on desire than evidence.

  70. Geoff says:

    “You either agree with the increased reliance for Fast, Transformers, X-Men, LOTR, Bond, Spidey, Disney live action, video games, Apes, Terminator, or needlessly inject narrative opinion to deflect (what does Moonraker have to do with Spectre?) without actually disputing that it exists. Gotcha.”

    You’re getting quite comical now – NO I do not and I did the math to prove it. 😉

    Spare me the bullshit that the Bond or Star Trek franchises NEED Chinese grosses to sustain themselves…..both franchises have several decades of success BEFORE 2013-2014 to prove otherwise. Brad Grey can delude himself all he wants about what Star Trek needs to be for HIM but it’s a franchise built on a MOSTLY American fan-base more geared towards stories that do NOT require $150 million budgets.

    And if you bothered to take a gander at Wikipedia or Box Office Mojo or The Numbers, you would see that Moonraker (most of the Roger Moore Bonds cleaned up overseas beyond the UK) was a full-blown international hit at least ten years before most Hollywood studios even cared that much about overseas markets…but suuuure, the ION folks were just biding their time until they could break into China more than 25 years later with the overseas grosses of SPECTRE right?? 😛

    Like I said…right place, right time….The Avengers was a genuine lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon that everybody loved and changed the game – it made $1.5 billion ($86 million came from China) at a time when that kind of number was pretty damn shocking…a couple of years of “The Avengers affect”….and then the phase we are in now where each MCU pretty much needs to clear $100 million in China alone to be considered successful even Ant-Man.

    I would say the critics and gushing industry coverage of all things Disney had been helping for a while but it looks like that crested last year – Guardians 2 got solid reviews but consider me genuinely surprised how many have called it a letdown and yes I gleaned at least a half dozen reviews now comparing the franchise to a “sitcom.” :O

    And what’s this have to do with Nolan’s Batman movies? Both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises cleared a billion when that was more difficult – TDKR made less than 10% of its overseas gross from China and TDK didnt’t even have a proper China release.

    And wow, you just double down, triple down, ALL this just to dispute my contention that the franchise has “matured”….I never said it was dying but it’s just TOO hard for you to accept that it MIGHT have peaked.
    Dude you’re like a Yankee fan circa 2010…you got your rings and it’s ok to NOT make the playoffs every year and you still have Jeter (Downey would be the ideal comparison) for a few more years….but nothing lasts forever, try to be more like JS and just move on to the next franchise obsession.

  71. EtGuild2 says:

    “TDKR made less than 10% of its overseas gross from China and TDK didnt’t even have a proper China release.”

    Exactly. Btw, have you ever seen MOONRAKER? Take a look and you may realize there’s a reason BOND exited the marketplace essentially for the next 28 years and 8 movies.

    Why go back to the argument that I’m a fan without an explanation? Weak Sauce. But I enjoy these annual arguments, which become more unhinged every year. I look forward to them continuing well into the 2020s.

    @Monco it’ll be interesting to see how they finish this year and next. Their previous yearly high domestically is $640 million (last year) and $1.9 billion worldwide (2015). It will easily blow through those marks this year, but Spider-Man is a tricky thing to credit and categorize of course, so perhaps next year is a more accurate assessment with three entirely in-house movies.

  72. Js partisan says:

    Guardians 2, is wonderful, and I look forward, to feasting on your tears! Anyone, who thinks Guardians is a let down, are on some weird, bullshit trip, because we should always want, our mainstream entertainment, to be this good.

    Next franchise? I’m looking forward to the universal action horror movies, but I’ve wanted something like the MCU, for almost thirty years. Again, I remember talking to my comic book guy at the time, and telling him how cool it would be, if they would make an Avengers movie. He laughed, and told me it would never happen. Again, I’m getting what I want, it’s very Marvel, and Marvel has always been more about personal stakes, than villains, and their maniacal bullshit. If that doesn’t work for you, the scoreboard don’vt lie.

    Ethan, thank you, for your continued posting on this blog.

  73. Stella's Boy says:

    Ah yes the old “you are wrong” and “popularity proves quality” arguments. Those are always persuasive. And you wonder why people take issue with you. It’s not the fact that you like Marvel movies that people take umbrage with. It’s posts like that. Can’t you like those movies without being so defensive and insulting those who don’t share your opinion? I don’t care if you hate a horror movie I love. My own worth isn’t determined by trying to prove you wrong.

  74. Hcat says:

    “Exactly. Btw, have you ever seen MOONRAKER? Take a look and you may realize there’s a reason BOND exited the marketplace essentially for the next 28 years and 8 movies.”

    OK, there is no way that you can argue that Bond exited the marketplace after Moonraker. That was a high water mark for the Moores which were always a few financial steps behind the Connerys (which due to ticket price inflation made it appear constant but boy I don’t want to get into one of those arguments). So you are looking at an outlier in a long running series as your first point of reference and calling the others a decline. You also have to take into consideration that Bond switched studios after Moonraker so the overseas distribution may not have been robust as the through the seventies but that certainly did not diminish Bond as a worldwide franchise or that it somehow hibernated for three decades. MGM bet their entire resurgence in the mid nineties on the back of bringing back Bond.

    And Hollywood has always cashed in on foreign grosses, perhaps not the 75% of total WW gross that some achieve now but you can always find citations in old Variety’s from the 50’s or so that state that half of their revenues come from abroad.

    Meanwhile Bond is the only example you need to illustrate the long term viability of MCU. Peak or Plateau it will still be profitable and with the slow and steady rise in ticket prices they can continue to pass the benchmarks they already reached with a slight decline in admissions and then continue to reboot and reconfigure. I predicted comic book burnout long ago and even as recently as BvsS thought we might hit a downturn (but looking at the reception on what was a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE not even sure if we can call it a movie…) but they are here for the long haul and even if there is constriction in the market the MCU will likely be the last ones standing.

  75. Geoff says:

    Hey Ethan, I’m not clairvoyant – I have zero personal knowledge as to whether you jacked off throughout the entire 2 hour 30 minute run-time of ‘Civil War or whether you loved Doctor Strange SO much that you had to see it again and again for back-to-back screenings on opening day.

    I don’t pretend to KNOW as to whether you’re a true fan of all things Marvel Studios. But by continuously pulling this Fox Business News hogwash a la “Well the national employment numbers were pretty good last month (ignoring the previous three years of Labor Department reports apparently) so that MUST mean that President Trump’s policies are working!” you’re ACTING like a devoted fan when it comes towards discussion of the actual numbers which are SUPPOSED to be objective. Not sure how it’s “unhinged” to discuss how an eight year old franchise might be past its peak….NOT that it’s “dying on the vine” or “tanking.”

    If YOU can’t even consider the VAST middle ground between “tanking” and….”most successful franchise ever….it’s going to be dominating past 2020!” then I’m unclear on why you’re calling others unhinged. But like I said, I’m not clairvoyant.

  76. Geoff says:

    I’m not going to cry either way JS and I’m more than happy for you that you have found your dream franchise to enjoy – life is too short to not have things like that to enjoy, otherwise none of us would be on this blog.

    Look I walked into ‘Civil War, the first ‘Guardians, and ‘Age of Ultron EXPECTING a tight, engaging hero’s journey with wit like Iron Man or at least a balls-out entertainment like The Avengers – I expected these things after hearing these films described that way for several weeks by most of my favorite online film critics….and I just didn’t get that, I was underwhelmed for the most part sorry.

    I saw ‘Age of Ultron on my honeymoon for Christ sakes! I was in Paris with my wife and it was raining and cold….I was super-jazzed to be able to see it with a foreign audience several days before it came to the States…and we both really enjoyed the first one and all of the reviews had said it was as good as the first one, even better. And it wasn’t. And strangely a lot of those same critics (Chris Stuckmann is one of them on YouTube) who gave it perfect scores upon first release didn’t even include it in the conversation among their best or favorite films at year’s end. Two years running this has been the practice now – ‘Civil War apparently “re-defined the genre” after the early press screenings in April and year end? More folks are talking about Deadpool. Sorry I’m just seeing past the hyperbole now…

    Taking all of the box office numbers out of the conversation, I can enjoy these films more just by managing expectations – they REALLY do work better for me as a workplace sitcom featuring superheroes. And I’m not going to fault any one else for enjoying them more. And JS, neither should you for enjoying them less.

  77. Js partisan says:

    Boy, I’m not defensive, or insulting. I’m using the words, of Braun Strowman, because it’s funny. I don’t care, if you don’t get it. I know why it’s there, and maybe someone else might get it. You, are like my wife, and she use to think I was being overly argumentative, or defensive. No. I just defend my shit. Vehemently. Again, I will tell you once more, that I don’t care, if anyone, likes what I like, or doesn’t like. Scoreboard don’t lie, because so many of you, from Iron Man’s opening fucking weekend, have been openly rooting, for these movies to fail. You go on about them being shit, about how they have peaked, and how they are going to fail, with every new damn movie. Excuse me, for pointing this out, because every time Marvel Studios proves you wrong. You can’t win forever, but right now? Marvel Studios, are the most important movie endeavor, happening today. Scoreboard. Don’t. Lie.

    Geoff, that’s not a fun honeymoon, and you deal with your part of YouTube. The only people, that I found discussing Deadpool, are x-men fanboys, that are happy to have a winner. It’s nowhere near as good as Civil War.

    Also, it’s not hyperbole, to state as much, because people don’t talk about winners. Deadpool, was a shock, so it gets pub. Other x-men movies fail, and they get pub. Marvel Studios, are like LeBron. They are going to be in the finals, so right now? People focus on the Celtics. Winners, don’t need the pub, because they win. Losers, like the DC movies (that I love, by the fucking way), need all the words, that they can get. It’s not hyperbole, when you changed, the fucking world.

    And Ethan, is an x-men fan, and has stated, as much.

  78. Stella's Boy says:

    First of all, I have defended the MCU here and argued that it’s not fading away or in decline. I also don’t root for these movies to fail. That’s a waste of time and energy. Finally, don’t be disingenuous. You are most definitely being defense and insulting others, claiming that differing opinions “don’t get it” (the worst defense ever) and that box office proves quality. You clearly do care or you wouldn’t say such things.

  79. EtGuild2 says:

    @HCAT, exited the marketplace was bad terminology, but the point involves the Eastern Hemisphere (Bond has always been huge in the Western world) and Bond was never a story in SE Asia until recently. China was China…Casino Royale did less there than in Denmark. From the 90s through 2000s it did….fine?…in Japan and Korea. A fraction of the size of Mission Impossible, but slightly better than Bourne. I like your points on Bond, that kind of historical stuff always interests me.

    Geoff, if you ever paid attention to actual film taste comments, as JS does, you’d know I hated Winter Soldier and Ultron, thought Civil War was fine thanks to one scene, and Doctor Strange was ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Guardians 1 was cool though, and I really enjoyed the subverted expectations of Iron Man 3. I like that the person who weds ideology to figures in this argument is comparing the person who doesn’t to an organization that weds ideology to figures. That’s hysterical.

  80. EtGuild2 says:

    By the way, as in every summer, I also like that we’re taking down the MCU quality wise when even MCU haters probably view most of next few months as pretty horrific. Pirates, Transformers, a CGI filled Mummy reboot, Cars 3, another Amityville, Despicable Me 3, Annabelle 2, an Emoji movie (hope maybe?), a terrible looking Dark Tower adaptation.

    And I get less enthused about Wonder Woman and Alien everyday…I wish I was an Apes fan :'( Save me Edgar Wright and Luc Besson.

  81. Js partisan says:

    Boy wrote, “First of all, I have defended the MCU here and argued that it’s not fading away or in decline. I also don’t root for these movies to fail. That’s a waste of time and energy.”

    Yes, I see that above, but you fall in the, “these films are crap,” category. Read what you wrote above, about watching some marvel movie. The levels of disdain you have… Is hilarious. Again, outside of me, most people fall into those three camps, and that’s fine. Have I ever once, posted some all caps response to Ethan, because he dislikes marvel movies? Nope. Again, you accuse me of doing shit, all the time, that I haven’t done in ages. Why? I really don’t care, one way or the other, if any of you like one piece of entertainment, that I enjoy. If you do? Cool. If not? That’s fine, but many of you had a thread, where you went on about liking movies, that I feel are out and out shit. Did I come at you? Nope. I state, that I love a marvel film, and I get all sorts of dismissing shit, and that’s just hokey.

    “Finally, don’t be disingenuous. You are most definitely being defense and insulting others, claiming that differing opinions “don’t get it” (the worst defense ever) and that box office proves quality. You clearly do care or you wouldn’t say such things.”

    And here is where we vehemently disagree. There are some people, who just don’t get forms of entertainment. It doesn’t make them stupid, or less than, but it’s just not their thing. Valerian, looks to be my fucking jam, but I guarantee you, that a shit ton of people have watched that trailer, and it does nothing for them. I’ve read the Guardian reviews, and some of them, read as if, the critic just didn’t get it. Which is something one can feel, because that’s how entertainment and culture work. It’s subjective.

    Also, I sent emails, into the fucking hot button. I’ve read Davids box office post enough, that I know box office does not represent quality. It does represent, in like week three, but week one is all marketing. I state, that scoreboard don’t lie, because again, the most successful franchise in the history, of the business, is treated in this blog, as if it has to prove something. That’s such an asinine assertion, that I will continue to bring it up. Everytime, one of these box-office discussions happen.

    Finally, are you in my head? Why would I lie, to you? I’m not defensive, and you should know by now, how I insult people. Like what you like, but if you come at stuff I love. I’m going to defend it.

  82. Js partisan says:

    Ethan, here’s how I feel, about those films:
    Hell no, but the teenage girl, may save that movie, for a lot of people.
    Can’t be as bad, as Van Helsing.
    Fuck Yeah. I don’t care. I get those movies, and see them as people, and not weird eyed cars.
    Fuck no.
    That’s a weird premise.
    Stupid, not scary bullshit. Pass.
    Talking poop emoji? Sure. Why not? Talking poop emoji.
    Dark Tower, looks interesting.
    Wondie, will be quality,
    But fuck covenant. Fuck those characters. I want Newt back!
    Fuck the Apes, and here’s to Baby Driver not sucking.

  83. Stella's Boy says:

    So you don’t get horror movies then?

  84. Js partisan says:

    Most modern horror?.Definitely. That shit, is not for me.

  85. Hcat says:

    After the missteps of Star Wars these last two chapters of Apes have catapulted the franchise back to the top spot for science fiction properties. So there’s that.

  86. Movieman says:

    With very few exceptions (Wright, “Dunkirk,” “Atomic Blonde” maybe?), May, June and July wide releases seem like one giant fart. The only movies of interest–and that really matter to me–reside on the “fringe:” Sofia Coppola, Shults, Lowery.
    It’s not until August (Bigelow, Soderbergh, Brie Larson, Wingard, Taylor Sheridan) that things become interesting on a fairly consistent, week-by-week basis..
    Of course, there’s “Annabelle 2” and “Nut Job 2” in August, too, so…

  87. EtGuild2 says:

    I’ll never understand the love for APES 1, which is exactly the type of movie I’d think of if you told me James Franco, Draco Malfoy and Frida Pinto were starring in Planet of the Apes today. I have the same problem with APES as Star Trek. I learned much as a kid from the social context of the original Apes films and Star Trek TNG, so the new movies leave me cold in both franchises. The best I can say is DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is the best in the franchise since the 4th movie, or maybe the 3rd.

    On board for all of that, movieman.

  88. Js partisan says:

    The Apes movies, are fucking awful. They are well made, we’ll performed, but they are next level turds. Watching them, makes me long for Wahlberg. There is no world, in which they are better than Star wars, because Rey, Finn, Poe, and Jyn…. Aren’t missteps. Agree to disagree, and all that.

  89. EtGuild2 says:

    Alright, you went too far with the Wahlberg comment. Inter-species ape sex and Honest Ape Lincoln at least had comedic value though I guess 🙂

  90. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m excited for Alien: Covenant and am glad AVP: Requiem will no longer be the last time xenomorphs run wild on the big screen. It Comes At Night and The Mummy on June 9 seems like it could be a cool weekend. And I love shark movies so I am psyched for 47 Meters Down. So for me May and especially June look OK. July not so much. And I agree August looks very promising.

  91. Geoff says:

    Ethan you keep avoiding the point and I’m just not going to bother any longer at this point – JUST going by this particular blog post and discussion, I never said that you were espousing how the MCU movies were all things wonderful and the greatest thing to ever hit the silver screen. (We can leave that JS ;)) You DID continuously state that the MCU has reached a singular level of success, will be maintaining that level of success indefinitely, and blows away the success of the Harry Potter franchise, the Hunger Games, and James Bond….and I called BULLSHIT on that plain and simple while also providing a good amount of evidence to back that up. I don’t hate these movies, I’m not rooting for them to fail, and I’m not stating that they are not successful…..but start pushing out this bullshit that that Kevin Feige is now producing more yearly revenue than the entire runs of Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, then we can dismiss that as pure misinformation OR just fanboyish-ness. YOU said this shit, not me.

    Since you have now made it clear that you dislike most of the MCU movies, then I will concede that point and we’ll just attribute it to the former (misinformation) and leave it at that…I’ve got nothing else for you man.

  92. Geoff says:

    “Geoff, that’s not a fun honeymoon, and you deal with your part of YouTube. The only people, that I found discussing Deadpool, are x-men fanboys, that are happy to have a winner. It’s nowhere near as good as Civil War.

    Also, it’s not hyperbole, to state as much, because people don’t talk about winners. Deadpool, was a shock, so it gets pub. Other x-men movies fail, and they get pub. Marvel Studios, are like LeBron. They are going to be in the finals, so right now? People focus on the Celtics. Winners, don’t need the pub, because they win. Losers, like the DC movies (that I love, by the fucking way), need all the words, that they can get. It’s not hyperbole, when you changed, the fucking world.”

    I throw you an olive branch JS and in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, “there ya go again…”

    Deadpool…yeah it was NOT just X-Men fanboys who appreciate that film, it was the highest grossing February release ever and made more domestically than any MCU film NOT starring Robert Downey….and it received PGA and WGA nominations for Best Picture last year, it was even in the conversation to get a Best Picture nomination. Personally, I thought the film was just OK…but I’m not diminishing how beloved that movie was either.

  93. Hcat says:

    Wahlberg and his asthmatic delivery was the low point of the movie, all the gonzo ape perfs from Carter, Giamatti Roth were fun, but the blank lead and Burton’s inability to film an exciting action sequence hobbled the film. But it stil stayed in line with the originals themes so it didn’t get as muddled like terminator or alien (though I hold out hope for each new entry)

    But we can disagree since my idea of a next level turd is a movie so lazy that the Villian is created because despite being warned not to tamper with the alien artifact the hero merges it with his AI and then decides to go get a sandwich figuring everything is going to work out alright leading to a huge civilian body count and then spends the next movie insisting everyone else pay for his stupid mistake,

  94. Js partisan says:

    Did you not read my list, hcat? Fuck ultron, but that’s how ultron… Has always worked.

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