Friday, December 18, 2015

Now About Those Other Blockbusters . . . (The Martian, Hunger Games, 007)

Of course, Episode VII is the cinematic event of the season as far as the Known Universe is concerned. Still, considering its prospects it seems worth considering the fate of other big movies from these last two months. The Martian, a rare type of property in its being based on a recent, non-young adult-oriented science fiction novel, enjoyed critical plaudits and a robust $588 million global take.

Indeed, that is more than the conclusion to the Hunger Games saga, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, has made to date since its release--$574 million. The number is likely to increase, but the situation reflects the movie's being something of an underperformer in comparison with prior entries in the series. The first month's North American take about $247 million, which leaves it in a distant fourth place to the three preceding films (the previously lowest-earning movie, Part I of Mockingjay, having taken in a much healthier $337 million). And as the global number testifies, the worldwide earnings are not quite making up for the weaker enthusiasm in the home market.

Likewise less than completely triumphant is the release of the latest Bond film, Spectre. In contrast with the event that Skyfall was in 2012, Spectre was received as simply "another" Bond film, "another" blockbuster. In the United States the movie has yet to hit the $200 million mark (the low end of the range I guessed at), and it is in fact conceivable that it might not do so. This does not make it a flop by any means, especially internationally (where its earnings have held up better, though not so much better as to compensate for its weaker U.S. performance). Indeed, its $822 million take (and counting) is well above even the possibly inflated $650 million earlier announced as the movie's break-even point, and sufficient to place it in the upper ranks of the series' past performers (not far behind, say, Live and Let Die, also a weak performer in the U.S.).1

All the same, I suspect we will see some revision of the current style in Bond 25.

1. Why inflated? Because of the product placement that would seem to have covered so much of the budget, because movie budgets are so often computed to minimize the appearance of any "net," and because the calculation did not seem to take into account the prospect of revenue from later sources like video and television rights, or merchandising, which makes even flops break even.

A Box Office Update: How High Will Star Wars Go?
Just Out . . . (Star Wars in Context)
Showing and Telling Katniss Everdeen
Just Out . . . (The Many Lives and Deaths of James Bond, 2nd edition)
Just Out. . . (James Bond's Evolution)
Just Out . . . (The Forgotten James Bond)
My Posts on Skyfall
Preview After the New Wave
Preview Cyberpunk, Steampunk and Wizardry
My Posts on Star Wars

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