Monday, May 14, 2012

Reel Facts & Opinions: Money vs. Movies

FACT: THE AVENGERS continued to smash Box Office records this past weekend. The Joss Whedon directed, superhero team-up film pulled in another $103 million domestically ($373 mil total), which surpassed the best second-weekend ever ahead of AVATAR’s (2009) $75 million. The film also blew by the 10-day total set by the THE DARK KNIGHT (2008); KNIGHT pulled in $313 million in its first ten days of release.

OPINION: A good friend of Reel Speak has been predicting that 2012 would be The Year of the Billion Dollar Movie. With AVENGERS well on its way (if not already there), and highly-anticipated THE DARK KNIGHT RISES up in July and THE HOBBIT emerging in December, that prediction looks to be a lock.
On the surface, all this moolah at the Box Office seems like a good thing for the industry, and indeed it is. With attendance dropping steadily over the past few years, the movies as a whole really needed a year like this. Between hype, early buzz, good reviews, high-anticipation, and repeat-viewings, these three films are a great shot in the arm for the silver screen as it struggles to compete with small-screen media in the form of downloading.

There is a flip-side to the success of these films, and it is a bit of an ugly one. All three of these films are adaptations; all based on previous works. As the studios look at the numbers being drawn in by these heavyweights, they will be eager to begin greenlighting films which are adaptations, and shit-canning anything original; AKA unproven.

Hollywood has taken it on the chin a lot for not being original enough, and rightfully so. But when looking at those billions of numbers, it is clear that is the type of stuff audiences want to see; they look for familiar territory. After all, those billions of dollars didn’t come out of nowhere.
So the suits will go ahead and rush to make more adaptations. What they hopefully realize is that these billion-dollar movies didn’t make themselves. They all had quality minds behind them. Minds belonging to names like Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson, and the new kid on the movie block, Joss Whedon are what made the films which made the billions. Hollywood should know by now that not just any old fartface can make a great adaptation.

Groan away if you wish at the thought of an upcoming avalanche of films based on comics or books, but it really isn’t all bad. Besides the money-making angle, there is quality to be found there (again, depending on who is involved); THE AVENGERS is overwhelmingly praised by critics, as was THE DARK KNIGHT. And it is difficult to believe that THE HOBBIT and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES won’t be critically praised, either. History has proven that adapted works can be great; THE GODFATHER, GONE WITH THE WIND, THE WIZARD OF OZ, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, THE LORD OF THE RINGS…all adapted works.
It has always been said that a great story can be found anywhere; anywhere from a book to a comic to an etching in a cave. If we are to take that idea one step further, then a great movie can be found anywhere as well. Let the adaptations come…as long as they entertain us, thrill us, and amuse us. Just don’t bore us.

What say you?


  1. Hmm a friend predicted the year of the billion dollar movie with three possible films for it...HMMM is that friend PA LIVE MOVIE GUY JW COLWELL who you can like on Facebook--great read Alan.

  2. Also Alan-it crossed the billion dollar mark yeterday! Two more to go!


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