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Mark Suszko
formula for a flop?
on Feb 6, 2014 at 10:46:19 pm

@riamisra'>http://io9.com/is-there-a-formula-for-what-makes-a-movie-flop-1516908956/@riamisra


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Stephen Smith
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 7, 2014 at 3:22:58 pm

I thought that title was a little deceitful. I thought they where going to go into what makes a movie flop not what is the mathematical formula for gaging if a movie made enough money or not. It is interesting how Battleship tanks and GI Joe makes amazing amounts of money. People say Battleship was stupid and that is why it tanked....GI Joe wasn't stupid?

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

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Scott Roberts
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 7, 2014 at 3:55:11 pm

I guess you can call things "American flops" and "Worldwide flops", because it's still fun to call a terrible movie a flop when it bombs in America. Then it's always inevitably sad when a movie like The Lone Ranger does well overseas, but it should be expected. Put Johnny Depp in anything, and the rest of the world will may $30 for a movie ticket. Also, compared to a lot of countries' local films, a movie like The Lone Ranger might actually be considered good?

I turned on my TV this morning and Kiefer Sutherland was on some talk show on whatever channel I had turned my TV off on last night, and I only heard about 45 seconds of the interview, but I guess he's in the upcoming horrible looking Pompeii movie, and in the chunk I heard, he said it cost over $100 million to make... (facepalm) Which made me think...

1. This seems like a dumb 300 knock-off of a historical event (fart noise).

2. You know it's going to be dumb, so why waste so much money making it?

3. You ESPECIALLY know it's going to be dumb because you hired Paul W.S. Anderson to direct it. (GIANT FART NOISE). Though, I guess they're doing a decent job of not advertising that fact.

4. I bet it will make like $40 million total in USA, and a ton of money overseas.

5. Fart noise.








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Fernando Mol
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 7, 2014 at 4:33:11 pm
Last Edited By Fernando Mol on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:03:44 pm

Hi, Scott. I think your point of view may be a little misinformed. People outside the US only get a fraction of your movies. Also, the Hollywood industry has made a great effort to keep its presence in the theaters, using questionable practices to pressure for the exhibition of its products and even historically trying to influence in the legislation of other countries.

Unethical marketing has not just strangled the option of movies are seen in my country, but also contributes in giving a very hard time to local film producers to get a place to show his movies, most of them putted out because of the deals a shitty Hollywood film that is trying to get some of its money back.

Of course there are ladies that are going to see a film just for an actor. That's the basic of the star system that also works inside the US. Please don't assume that the rest of the world (as you may see anyone outside your country) is full of idiot that are just waiting to eat your trash.

Sorry if my tone is too strong, but I found your post very disrespectful.


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Scott Roberts
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 7, 2014 at 5:27:12 pm

Sorry Fernando, I meant no great disrespect, especially to anyone *specific* outside of the US. I'm well aware that the US has many, many moviegoers who will go see a really dumb movie just because it has an actor they like in it. I guess I was just saying that the rest of the world does that as well, but on a bigger scale, because: the entire world > the United States. So as a simple numbers game, the rest of the world has more dumb people seeing Lone Ranger than the US does (and to be fair, I was one of the dumb people who saw The Lone Ranger in the US, so I'm including myself in the dumb people category).

I totally understand that the rest of the world is only getting a fraction of the really big US blockbusters coming their way, and it totally sucks that Hollywood film garbage like these are pushing smaller local films out of the way (especially if it's done unethically). But the fact that The Lone Ranger made $171 million overseas, and John Carter made $211 million overseas, well.. ...it sorta proves that the rest of the world *IS* kinda willing to eat our trash. It doesn't mean they like it after they eat it. It doesn't mean they're idiots for going, especially if it's their only choice. But well, a LOT of people DID go. For whatever reason they went. And again, I WENT TOO, to both of those terrible movies. So if I was calling anyone specific an idiot, it would probably be me. But a lot of other people in the world (including the US) gave Lone Ranger and John Carter money, as well. The whole world contributed to making those films more profitable than they needed to be. So, I meant no disrespect to you, personally, Fernando. I'm sure you have great taste in movies. But I'm sure there are plenty of suckers (just like me) in your country who did eat Johnny Depp's trash. All his discarded eyeliner and tacky accessories. Right out of the garbage can.

I think the most important thing to consider here, though, is not really whether or not everybody or anybody around the world saw The Lone Ranger or John Carter (because, hey, people like going to the movies), it's more important that they didn't actually enjoy those horrible movies after they saw them.


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Fernando Mol
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:13:03 pm
Last Edited By Fernando Mol on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:14:00 pm

Fair response, Scott. I recently heard form a friend that the Hollywood industry is more about selling the stories than about creating the stories. That's the reason many people exit a movie thinking how bad it was, just to be there the next week. Movie gambling.


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Mark Suszko
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 8, 2014 at 2:35:04 am

Movies that were "flops":

Casablanca

It's A Wonderful Life

Blade Runner


Tim can probably name another ten like that off the top of his head; it's a gift he has. Or a sickness...

"Flop" is a moving target, a Venn Diagram would contain circles of critical acclaim, box office success, and social "buzz" or "mystique". Over time, those circles can grow or shrink and change shape.

If there was a perfect formula to predict and build a hit movie with, they would have found it by now. WHat they do in Hollywood is everyone's Best Guess as to what the magic recipe might be, and often, they guess wrong. Or they just do what they like and hope enough like-minded people will find it and follow along.

"Nobody in Hollywood knows anything".


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Tim Wilson
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 8, 2014 at 6:13:49 am

Yeah, I've got a few extras:

Gone With The Wind, Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane are my big three.

Some cult faves:
  • Rocky Horror (opened at $22,000 -- not a typo -- on a $1.4 million budget)
  • Iron Giant (earned less than half its budget)
  • Donnie Darko (about a third of its budget)
  • Heathers (about half)
  • Vertigo - barely broke even, but definitely a flop by Hitchcock's standards...and just named by Sight & Sound's every 10-years poll as the best movie ever
  • Not only was 1971's Willy Wonka a barely break even affair, the merchandising campaign tanked, so definitely a disappointment at the time
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Office Space
  • Tron (maybe influenced more careers than Star Wars?)
  • Ha
rold & Maude (a sentimental fave of mine)

Then there's a whole list of movies that people think are flops but actually aren't -- and Fernando, without meaning to be insulting, audiences outside the US responded to these much more than American audiences did....

....although I should first mention, Fernando, I COMPLETELY AGREE that what has been good for Hollywood has been devastating to the film industry in some other nations.

That said, yeah, it HAS been good for Hollywood....

The Last Airbender didn't make its money back in the US, but worldwide, did over $300 million.

The gap was even wider for After Earth -- twice as much outside the US, for a total of $245-ish million. More than enough to keep M. Night in the game for as long as he wants to be.

Waterworld also did 2:1 international, and easily recouped its budget in theaters, and turned a handy profit in the aftermarket.

Indeed, for many of the movies above, it was only TV and home video sales that saved the day. I don't know how Netflix et al will affect this going forward, especially as formerly lucrative outlets like HBO are drying up.

Anyway...

Peter Jackson's King Kong made back its budget in the US, but with, again, nearly twice as much overseas, turned a handy profit.

Wolverine (the 2009 version) is another that barely broke even in the US, but did a whopping 70% of its business outside the US! (Oops, just looked it up -- "only" 68%. LOL But still.)

I definitely needed to look up this last one to see if I remembered it right. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull and Iron Man opened at the same time, and in the US, were, remarkably enough, dead even, despite lots of talk about Indy being a flop. No. I think people were confusing the disappointing MOVIE with whether its grosses were disappointing. Not.

Overseas, it wasn't even close: Indiana Jones ftw by over $200 million! Check this out, copied from BoxOfficeMojo.com:

Iron Man:
Domestic: $318,412,101 54.4%
+ Foreign: $266,762,121 45.6%
= Worldwide: $585,174,222

Indy 4:
Domestic: $317,101,119 40.3%
+ Foreign: $469,534,914 59.7%
= Worldwide: $786,636,033



Soooooooo, to summarize:

Lots of amazing, wonderful movies, some of the greatest ever made...were flops.

Markets outside the US are increasingly the ones that determine whether or not Hollywood movies are hits. As one observer put it, "The US is just another territory."

Needless to say, I love talking about this stuff the way some people talk about baseball stats or something.

I hope I didn't disappoint. :-)




= Worldwide: $585,174,222


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Stephen Smith
Re: formula for a flop?
on Feb 10, 2014 at 9:03:24 pm

Tim,
Great insight. I love reading about this sort of stuff and yes, I love talking about this stuff the way some people talk about baseball stats or something as well. Thank goodness for the COW.

To add to the list of Box office flops that are cult classics:

-A Christmas Story made about 20 million.
-Citizen Kane only made about 1.5 million.
-Scott Pilgrim vs. the World......okay maybe Scott and I are the only two people on the planet who loved the film but it deserved much better then around 30 million domestically.

[Mark]
If there was a perfect formula to predict and build a hit movie with, they would have found it by now. WHat they do in Hollywood is everyone's Best Guess as to what the magic recipe might be, and often, they guess wrong. Or they just do what they like and hope enough like-minded people will find it and follow along.

I agree. I thought the title of the article indicated the author would go more into stuff like what Netflx is doing where they are using data to help point them in certain directions like they did with House of Cards.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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