It’s been a week now since Terminator: Dark Fate came out and according to a variety of different sources the movie lost around $100 million at the box office. Not looking good for Paramount, but still it made me think.
My review of Terminator: Dark Fate was more positive than most of the other movies I see in a year and some other critics called it the third best Terminator movie after the first two, yet it still bombed. So this inspired me to make the complete opposite of a post I made a month and a half ago and this time we’re going to figure out how to make your movie a box office bomb!
Here’s a list of the movies covered in this post.
- Terminator: Dark Fate
- Mortal Engines
- Fantastic Four (2015)
- Justice League
- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
- Monster Trucks
- Blade Runner 2049
- The Mummy (2017)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
Sell Outs Covered
- Avengers: Endgame
- The Lion King (2019)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Some other Movies
- Terminator: Salvation
- Terminator: Genisys
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Dumbo (2019)
- The Lady and the Tramp (2019)
I think the best place to start is how I started my last post. What are we making or adapting? With Terminator: Dark Fate we’re trying to relaunch the franchise for the third time and that’s the first problem. There’s a 4 to 5 year gap between each reboot which will cause over saturation for many people and because of that nobody cares about the Terminator anymore.
Another major factor that determines a movie’s success is what the critics are saying. It’s their safety net as most people just check out the Rotten Tomatoes score or IMDb rating before watching anything. While others do that plus go to critics like me to see their perspective on a movie. Terminator Salvation and Genisys were both panned by critics, but did fine at the box office, while Dark Fate only got a mixed reception, but it still flopped. Why is that? I’ll tell you since I already know the answer.
Weird film enthusiasts like me will watch almost anything no matter the quality. The general public though are alot more picky as they want a guaranteed good time. So anything below 6/10 or sitting around the 60s area on Rotten Tomatoes or something that’s only considered okay is a massive no-no for many people. Some franchises do get a pass in this regard and Terminator isn’t one of them. I’ll explain a bit later.
There are many different ways a movie can bomb and one of the more common examples nowadays is that it arrived too late to the party. Meaning a movie is trying to reboot a popular trend that died out 5 or maybe even 25 years ago. Last year’s Mortal Engines is a great example. I reviewed it and said it wasn’t bad, but forgettable. It was trying to resurrect that dead Young Adult Book Adaptation phase from a few years back and that’s the problem. We have all moved on so down the toilet you go.
Another well known one can be studio interference. You could be working on your new dark gritty Fantastic Four, but the Fox execs say it needs to copy the MCU’s brand of humour and that’s how you get a tonally inconsistent movie. Superhero movies seem to suffer this fate the most and since we’re talking about bombs I’ve got to mention the king of Superhero muckups: Zack Snyder’s/Jose Wheaton’s/Warner Bros’ 2017 Justice League. Justice League was an utter disaster because of behind the scenes issues. It bombed because it went over budget, it had extensive re-shoots and needed an extra mill to crop out Superman’s moustache.
Box-Office flops are alot more common than ever because of all the options we have access to for entertainment. There are so many choices that something is bound to bomb. Imagine this at your local cinema we are currently playing five different movies and you can only afford to see one so which one would you see?
If you said either of the ones on the left then that’s understandable because I would have done the same if I wasn’t a critic. The other three make me wonder why they even bothered. I don’t know anyone who still cares about Robin Hood, Valerian looked like a mix of a young adult series and a Guardians of the Galaxy knock-off and Monster Trucks looks like an average kids movie.
One more thing before we move onto my final point. What if a movie is really good, but for some reason it still bombs. Everyone, meet Blade Runner: 2049 a fantastic reboot to the overrated first movie, but it bombed because it was really slow paced and there isn’t much action. This might have been a good occasion to release to limited cinemas or have it on Netflix as it clearly isn’t a movie for everyone, which is exactly what Annihilation did the following year.
The last thing I want to go through is how to avoid the areas I have just covered. How do you make yourself immune to most criticism, how do you gain the audience’s trust so that they need to see every movie you ever make and how do you keep on schedule without any delays or massive dramas during production? The answer is simple, just copy Disney because they seem to know what they’re doing.
I might not agree with all of their decisions, but they sure as hell know how to make bucket loads of money! The MCU is the most successful film franchise of all time because they have gained a positive relationship with their audience who know they’re going to get a pretty good movie every time. While most other franchises have one or a couple of really bad eggs, the MCU have never produced a shocker!
The cinematic universe strategy is also a good way to make sure that people keep coming back for the next movie. Other studios have given this a go, but they have always crashed and burned because they were too impatient and didn’t let their cinematic universe evolve first. The Mummy anyone?
Another thing Disney does better than the rest is remakes. This is the only time where a film seems immune to criticism. Most studios either miss-time the release or don’t add their own twist to the original movie. The clever lazy greedy bastards at Disney exploit the nostalgia of the kids of the 90’s enticing them to see their favourite animated movies, now in live-action.
This doesn’t work overly well for their older movies, like Dumbo for example. It’s probably a good thing The Lady and the Tramp remake is going to Disney+. Though Disney aren’t perfect themselves as they got too trigger happy when they spammed Star Wars out on a yearly release. Despite their first three movies raking in a over a billion dollars each Star Wars: The Last Jedi really messed with their reputation so no one bothered to see Solo: A Star Wars Story.
That’s my two cents on that. If you enjoyed then let me know with a like and a comment and I’ll be back with some more content very soon. I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out.