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Box Office Brouhaha - the business of film


#1

Deadline.com is doing a series breaking down what 20 big movies earned in profit last year.

Their figures may (or may not) be reliable, but they have some decent sources so this is worth a look.

They’re up the 16th most profitable now (counting down from the 20th), ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’;

THE BOTTOM LINE: Its $748M worldwide gross put this film atop the X-Men standings, and its $233.9M domestic tally finished just under X-Men: Last Stand for domestic dominance. This movie had everything going for it, and when it was previewed at Comic-Con with both casts, Hall H took on the feel of a rock concert when both casts took the podium. But there were very rich deals on this film, as happens when a franchise keeps going with the original casts intact. Hugh Jackman and Singer made huge paydays, and the rest of the returning cast did very well. So basically, the talent made more than the studio, which is the price of making an All-Star superhero picture. The participations here reach $100 million, while 20th Century Fox’s net on the film is $77.38M. The Cash on Return is 1.13, but there seems to be no limit on the X-Men franchise. The results are good enough for 16th on our 2014 list.
http://deadline.com/2015/03/x-men-days-of-future-past-profit-box-office-2014-1201389620/


#2

I like the part about “the talent made more than the studio” - which is how it should be! Sure, the studios richly deserve to make solid profits, but they’re a studio, an entity that will keep churning out films with a piece of each. Sometimes it can be an individual is in only a single blockbuster or two, and that money funds them the rest of their lives. So when the bulk of the money goes to the talent, it makes me happy!


#3

It’d be nice if it was more evenly distributed amongst the people involved in making a movie, though. The kind of money the big stars get is insane by any reasonable standard. I don’t think anyone needs to make that much money. Not film stars, not CEOs, not football players.


#4

Anyone listen to Mark Kermode’s three-part radio series on The Business of Film? Very interesting stuff in there: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/businessoffilm


#5

I agree that other people who work on the film should get shares.

That only happens if it’s an independent movie and you defer part of your fee, and then only very occasionally does it pay off.


#6

An article about the box office decline of some of the Frat Pack. Vince Vaughan’s in particular is sorry reading:

So far, so predictable: Vaughn’s recent back catalogue – Delivery Man, The Internship, The Watch and The Dilemma – have all crashed and burned at the box office. His last financial hit was the one-star Couples Retreat back in 2009 (AKA the film you almost watched on a plane that one time). So what went wrong?

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/mar/13/vince-vaughn-frat-pack-came-unstuck-owen-wilson-will-ferrell


#7

How exactly is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a pale imitation of Stranger Than Fiction?

For all that article’s deep analysis they seem to be overlooking the obvious. The “frat pack” has been putting out a string of terrible films for years now, so it’s not a huge mystery why they haven’t been doing well.


#8

To be fair I don’t think it avoids that issue, it mentions quite a lot how badly received the films are critically and that the cause is the old trap of trying to do the same thing with ever diminishing returns. Even the brief snippet I quoted mentions that Vaughan’s last film that made any money (6 years ago at that) had an average 1 star review.

It’ll be interesting to see if his stint on True Detective brings on a Vaughanaissance.


#9

I don’t think it’s a matter of diminishing returns though because as they point out at the end other actors are doing the same kinds of films with success. It’s just that the frat pack has been making terrible movies, period. If the movies they were making now were actually funny they’d be doing just fine. They seem to think that Farell is the exception to the rule but what they leave out is the films he’s been making that have done well have been good and funny. It’s not a huge mystery or anything.


#10

If only that were the only measure, a lot of shitty films make a lot of money.


#11

I don’t think it’s all that controversial to suggest comedians have a shelf life of superstardom. The biggest comic names of 12-15 years ago cannot headline a massively successful comedy today? When has this ever not been true?


#12

Yeah but far more don’t. I just don’t see the mystery in guys making nearly a decade of terrible movies resulted in them not doing well while the one guy who wasn’t has films that did well. If there’s a secret to Farrell’s success it seems to be he mainly stuck with collaborators he was successful with while the others didn’t.


#13

It’s a good point and I think it is a very difficult job to maintain it. In the UK the most lauded sketch shows rarely last even 4 years and the US version with SNL has very frequent turnover of the cast. A lot of comedians that were at the heights move to dramatic roles to sustain themselves, something that Vaughan moving to True Detective shows.


#14

Studio Profitability Report: Who’s Up and Who’s Down

Considering domestic box office dropped 5.2 percent and physical home entertainment revenue fell 11 percent, the major film studios did surprisingly well in 2014, buoyed by cost controls, subscription VOD sales to outlets like Netflix and TV production, which is part of the film segment at some congloms. THR’s annual look at studio operating profits for calendar 2014 reveals box office can be a deceiving indicator of profitability.


#15

I just read that article on the Frat Pack, I’m quite tired and slightly hungover so I’m not sure what the point was in the end, forgive me if end up going off on a tangent.

I do agree with what Rory had to say. I think that a lot these films have failed recently because they have been low on laughs. When I heard of a lot of these films being announced in movie magazines etc e.g. Bad Neighbours and The Watch I thought they sounded like good concepts for some daft humour to be built around.

I then watched the trailers months later, which barely raised a chuckle. Add poor word of mouth and it’s lost me as a ticket buying audience member. I just wait until it comes on Sky.

The problem is that there’s a lot of pretenders to the throne of Jody Hill, Adam McKay, Todd Phillips and maybe David Gordon Green. I’ll throw Apatow in there as well, although I’ve found his films to be less about the jokes and daft patter.
They’ve just not got ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ might be. Vince Vaughn is fine as part of a team but he doesn’t have the natural comical ability of John C Reilly or Will Ferrell; he’s never going to carry a movie, especially not one where he does not have a lot to work with.

These films lack the joke rate that made the likes of Step Brothers such a success in terms of quotable and rewatchable comedy.

I enjoy these type of movies. When I’m tired or down or just feel like some light hearted fun, nothing else will scratch that itch than the likes of Superbad, Happy Gilmore, Old School, Step Brothers, Observe & Report, or even The Hangover.

I ended up turning both Delivery Man and The Watch off about halfway through and although I thought The Internship was ok, I didn’t find it overly funny.

So i think its pretty obvious what went wrong, but I suppose the writer gets paid to fill an article.

This all being said, I still want to watch Unfinished Business. That may change after I see the trailer though.


#16

With ‘Mission Impossible 5’ now having the additional title ‘Rogue Nation’, and the spin-off ‘Star Wars’ film being named ‘Rogue One’, Paramount and Disney have done a deal over the use of the word, ‘Rogue’.

SNIP

On Sunday, Paramount revealed that the next installment in its iconic covert spy franchise is officially titled Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, a moniker that shares a key word with Lucasfilm and Disney’s Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One.

SNIP

Paramount registered and cleared the title with the Motion Picture Association of America in January, well before Walt Disney chairman-CEO Robert Iger announced the name of the Star Wars spinoff at a shareholder meeting March 12.

Sources say Disney didn’t clear its title, meaning Paramount could have fought to block Disney and Lucasfilm from using it at all, even though Rogue One won’t open until Dec. 16, 2016, long after Rogue Nation has come and gone.

Instead, the two studios quickly worked out a deal whereby Disney will refrain from referring to Rogue One this summer in any promotional materials aimed at the general consumer (an exception is a Star Wars fan event in April).

SNIP

This isn’t the first time that Star Wars and Mission: Impossible have butted heads.

Paramount and Skydance Productions, who produced Rogue Nation alongside J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, originally intended to open the movie on Dec. 25, 2015, but its release was moved up so as to avoid Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which hits theaters Dec. 18. Abrams is directing the high-profile Star Wars reboot for Disney and Lucasfilm.


#17

Isn’t the extended version of Days of Future Past supposed to be called the Rogue Cut?


#18

It’s what people are calling it, but whether it’s what the release will be called on the packaging, I don’t know?


#19

I’m glad they cleared all that up, because I for one wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between a futuristic sci-fi war epic and a modern day spy movie with a completely different cast if I saw a slightly similar title on the trailers and posters.


#20

That’s okay - most X-Men fans thought her name was “Rouge” anyway.