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Tag: Box Office

Editorials

Breaking Through the Box Office

September 12, 2019
Darkest Hour

A common complaint of modern cinema is that it’s full of sequels, remakes and reboots. This was certainly true in 2018, with only 3 of the top 20 films being original stories, “Coco”, “Darkest Hour” and “Peter Rabbit”. While there is an argument that Hollywood is out of original ideas, and those ideas are seen as more “indie” and never make the same impact as the latest superhero film, clearly some do. So what do these films have that others don’t?

Big Names

Pixar have been producing original hits since 1995, although much of their recent works have been sequels (Credit: Disney/Pixar 2011)

It’s likely you’ve heard of at least one of those three films, if not all of them. “Coco” is from the wizards at Pixar, “Darkest Hour” was based on a true story and pushed for Oscar nods, while “Peter Rabbit” is based off the children’s books that ingrained the character in British Culture.

All of these films are rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, so the general consensus is that they are all good films (scores ranges from 64% – 97%). But clever release dates may also have played a part in their success. “Peter Rabbit” was released in February, making it the only children’s film in cinemas for several weeks. This lack of competition likely helped the film’s success.

Darkest Hour, despite being released in late December, was marketed as an Oscars contender early on, especially Gary Oldman’s performance and the hair and make up effects used to transform him into Winston Churchill. Oscar buzz is a huge selling point for any film.

Meanwhile, Coco is from Pixar animation, the studio behind classics like “Toy Story” and “Wall-E”. Pixar’s pedigree rivals the Disney Renaissance , with “Cars 2” the only weak link in it’s (at the time) 19 films.

Where are all the originals going?

“Okja” was a big original release that was released on Netflix (Credit: Netflix, 2017)

As with most years, the top films were all part of franchises. “Avengers: Infinity War” took the top spot, with the number two spot being filled by the “Mamma Mia” sequel. The top ten also consisted of entries in the Jurassic World, Fantastic Beasts, Mission Impossible and Star Wars franchises. As well as a sequel to Mary Poppins and Spider-Man spin-off “Venom“.

Many original stories do get full theatrical releases, but often the biggest ones are feature big names attached, such as the recent “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood“, with director Quentin Tarantino and actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt involved to draw-in audiences.

A common place to find original stories is on streaming sites, with Netflix having some of the most high profile releases, such as “Okja” or “Velvet Buzzsaw”. Streaming sites have grown in popularity and content in recent years, with content that struggles to find distribution often picked up by streaming sites, such as “The Interview” after the drama caused with the Sony email hack. Although more high profile releases are heading to streaming sites, such as Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman”.

The Future

James Cameron’s “Avatar” was an original story, and managed to hold the record for “highest-grossing film” for 10 years (20th Century Fox, 2009)

It’s unlikely that every film released in cinemas will be a sequel or part of a franchise. There are enough “big” original films released with the likes of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” as examples, while streaming will only get more high profile releases.

Avatar, which was recently dethroned as the highest-grossing film of all time, is an original story (although it has spawned a franchise) so there is clearly potential for them to succeed, but perhaps a big name must always be attached in some form or another for them to make a big impact?

Also Read: Five Great Films About Filmmaking

Editorials

Top 10 UK Box Office Movies of 2019 (So Far)

August 4, 2019

It’s not been a bad year for the UK box office. With the total takings of 2019s top 10 highest grosser’s (at time of writing) being approximately £388,967,274 (according to Box Office Mojo and google money converter).

So today we are going to look at how the top 10 currently stands. Which movies have earned the most in the UK so far? And what have critics and audiences had to say about them?

10. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – £19,570,258

The latest offering from Illumination managed to rake in the box office, despite a rather lukewarm reception.

Audience Thoughts: 90% – Rotten tomatoes / 6.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “A sequel that feels less necessary than willed into being, but that doesn’t mean it’s not pleasantly entertaining.”

Illuminations latest offering kicks off the UK’s highest grossers

9. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – £21,219,615

While the concluding How to Train Your Dragon movie wasn’t as successful as its predecessors at the box office, it continued to impress both audiences and critics in equal measure.

Audience Thoughts: 87% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Who would have thought that DreamWorks’ “How To Train Your Dragon” would end up as one of the best film trilogies out there?

The How to Train Your Dragon series performs one last hoorah

8. Rocketman – £23,572,360

The Elton John biopic followed in the footsteps of last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody and became a smash hit across the UK.

Audience Thoughts: 88% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Rocketman is an honest, heartfelt tribute to Elton John’s music and his public image.”

Rocketman managed to blast off at the UK box office

7. Dumbo (2019) – £26,964,177

The first of Disney’s live-action remakes this year, left an odd taste in the mouths of cinemagoers. As despite its high takings, no one really seemed overly enthused about it.

Audience Thoughts: 51% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.4 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “The problem with this latest entry in Disney’s ever-expanding range of recycled classics isn’t that it hews too close to the studio’s original animated masterpiece, but that its many departures only muddle the original’s nursery-rhyme simplicity

Dumbo (2019) flies into the number 7 place

6. Spider-Man: Far From Home – £31,524,501

The most recent film in the ever dominant MCU, like many of its predecessors, deftly managed to please both audiences and critics.

Audience thoughts: 95% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It’s not quite the home-run of Homecoming, but Far From Home isn’t far from matching it, with heaps of humour, energetic action, and the answers Endgame left you craving.

Number 6 in the UK’s highest-grossing films of 2019? Spider-Man approves

5. Aladdin (2019) – £37,496,448

Back with Disney’s live-action remakes, unlike Dumbo, Aladdin did manage to please audiences, critics however were very mixed.

Audience Thoughts: 94% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.4 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Another lavish and largely entertaining Disney re-do, with strong turns from Massoud and Scott. But…Smith’s genie performance feels disappointingly constrained — both by overdependence on the original and some ghastly CGI.”

Aladdin (2019) soared on it’s magic carpet to the number 5 spot in the UK’s top 10

4. The Lion King (2019) – £37,816,339

The latest Disney remake has, in only 2 weeks, already proven to be Disney’s most successful solo developed project in the UK. It also managed to capture the love of the general public. But critics have been less kind to this effort:

Audience Thoughts:  88% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.2 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Unfolding like the world’s longest and least convincing deepfake, the new “Lion King” fatally misunderstands what once made Disney special.

The photo-realisitc Lion King (2019) is the UK’s 4th highest grossing film

3. Captain Marvel – £42,632,688

Despite its divided reception by both audiences and critics, Captain Marvel continued to prove the power of the MCU’s marquee value.

Audience Thoughts: 55% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.0 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Captain Marvel is … a solid enough movie, but it suffers from an overbearing need for its agenda to be pushed – had it been handled with a little more care, it could have been fantastic.

Captain Marvel storms into 3rd at the UK Box Office

2. Toy Story 4 – £53,611,537

9 years after Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4 finally made it to cinemas. It continued the high standards set by the original Toy Story films, opening to almost unanimous praise across the board.

Audience Thoughts:  94% on Rotten Tomatoes / 8.2 – IMDb (#170 on IMDb’s top 250 films)

Critics Thoughts: “This franchise has demonstrated an impressive ability to beat the odds and reinvent itself…It’s a toy store of ideas, with new wonders in every aisle.

The Toy Story gang still managed to bring in the numbers despite a 9-year absence

1. Avengers: Endgame – £94,559,351

Lastly, we come to the highest-grossing movie of the year (and of all time). After over a decade of build-up, the MCU finally culminated with a fond farewell that pleased almost everyone.

Audience Thoughts: 91% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.7 – IMDb (#24 0n IMDb’s top 250 films).

Critics Thoughts: “Avengers: Endgame is all that you hope it’ll be and a bag of chips. The Russo brothers hit all the right notes from start to finish, and the ending in particular is thoroughly satisfying.”

Avengers: Endgame has beat down all the competition to become the highest-grossing film of the year (and of all time)

So ends the UK box office top 10 of the year so far. And with big releases like IT: Chapter 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming up, this year’s top 10 may even beat last year’s top 10 gross (approximately £523,006,040). We’ll just have to wait and see.

Also Read: What’s Next For Disney?

Editorials

The Formula For A Successful Film

June 16, 2019
Successful at the box office

Films are a big part of modern life. We quote, discuss and review them daily. But with thousands of movies released each year, what makes certain movies into a phenomenon? What is it about select movies that capture the public’s attention and makes them successful? Is there a formula to it?

Today we are going to explore a recent study and see what conclusions they have come to about how to make a successful film. We will look at the purpose of the study, highlight their findings, their methodology and highlight examples of where their findings can be seen today and places where the study falters.

Purpose & Method

The paper we are looking at is called, The Data Science of Hollywood. This study was made to see how certain emotions can affect the types of media that people want to watch. And how production companies can customise their products to meet the preferences of audiences.

To accomplish this the authors compiled 6174 feature film scripts and charted the emotional journeys presented in each. They did this by analysing the sentences used within the script, declaring them as either emotionally negative, neutral or positive and then charting their use over the course of the script.

The movies were then grouped into one of six categories:

  • Rags to Riches – A film that continually builds positive emotion
The Shawshank Redemption is used as an example of rags to riches stories
  • Riches to Rags – The film is about a continual emotional decline
Toy Story 3 is a riches to rags story
  • Man in a hole – The film follows someone falling emotionally before rising out of it
The Departed is a man in a hole story
  • Icarus – The film charts an emotional rise followed by a fall
Mary Poppins shows the Icarus journey
  • Cinderella – This film begins building positive emotions, before declining and then rising again at the end
For a modern Cinderella story, look no further than Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Oedipus – This film begins with an emotional decline, followed by a rise and finishing with a decline
Little Mermaid is a great example of the Oedipus narrative

They then compared this data with various sources to see how successful these different journeys were with audiences. They looked at box office takings, IMDb audience and critic ratings, award nominations and wins and number of viewers. So, what did the researchers find?

Findings

Of the six narrative categories, the researchers found that the Man in a hole stories tended to have a higher average box office gross ($37.48 million). Cinderella was the second highest ($33.63 million on average) and Oedipus being third ($31.44 million on average).

Particularly successful examples of the man in a hole story from the past year include Black Panther and Halloween (2018). Both were among the top 25 highest grossing films of 2018 and began with the characters leading relatively normal lives before something turns their existence upside down. But they eventually fight to reclaim their happiness.

The Other Side

However, there are less successful films in this category, such as Mortal Engines. Which charted the journey of a privileged citizen as he is exiled from his city and eventually destroys its corrupt government with the help of the rebellion. It was one of the biggest box office bombs of 2018. And garnered an IMDb audience rating of 6.1 and a critical rating of 44/100. Halloween (2018) also did not perform greatly with IMDb users and critics, only garnering a 6.6 from users and 67 from critics.

On average the study found that Man in a hole films received the lowest average ratings from IMDb users and critics. IMDb Users usually rated Rags to riches stories highest. Successful examples include Avengers: Endgame, which charts the emotional rise from the low point of Infinity War, and is both the most successful film of the year and currently ranked as the 19th best film of all time on IMDb. This shows that films associated with positive emotions tend to work well with general audiences.

Meanwhile, movies with higher critical ratings tended to be Riches to rags stories. Showing that critics favour tougher emotional journeys. Examples include Jordan Peele’s Us. Which charted the continual emotional decline of its characters and has an 81/100 rating from IMDb critics compared to a 7.1 from regular users. But still managed to gross $175,005,930.

The Studies Failings

There are however several areas where this study opens itself for criticism. Firstly, relying on IMDb ratings to gauge public opinion can cause problems as people only tend to leave feedback/reviews if they’ve had a negative experience which can slightly skew the results. And IMDb scores are usually given by a different audience than those who see the movie in theatres. Meaning that an IMDb score doesn’t necessarily measure the satisfaction of people who saw the film in cinemas and contributed to its box office.

And the oversimplification of the emotional arc categories is very confusing. For example, The Shawshank Redemption is given as an example of the rags to riches story which supposedly continually builds positive emotions, but the film still has several emotional low points throughout. Meaning that the categorisation of these films is somewhat flawed.

Successful?

From this research we can conclude that the words of William Goldman hold true, “Not one person in the motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work”. A film’s success at the box office does not guarantee audience or critical satisfaction. The use of IMDb as a method for gauging public opinion is also flawed. And the categorization is oversimplified and there are continual examples that prove the study wrong on an individual basis.

But this study did raise interesting points with its research. Showing that the most successful films may not be aimed specifically at critics or general audiences. Instead, they are the ones that generate the most discussion. And the mixture of positive and negative emotional arcs ensures the box office success of the man in a hole films because they appeal to the preferences of critics and audiences.

Also Read: Spoiler Etiquette: To Spoil Or Not To Spoil…

Editorials

How Cinema Attendance Hit Record Levels In 2018

February 7, 2019

In a world of streaming and affordable home media, the death of cinema distribution is often talked about. A belief that many would agree with. After all, why go to the cinema when you can watch a film multiple times at home for a fraction of what they would pay going to see those films at the theatre?

It’s therefore interesting that according to the UK Cinema Association, UK cinema attendance in 2018 was at its highest since 1970, with 177 million admissions. This is impressive considering all the factors going against cinema in 2018, including a boiling summer and competition from the World Cup.

UK Cinema Admissions (UK Cinema Association)

But why did cinema attendance decline during the 1970s? And what was it about this past year that encouraged people to return in larger numbers? Well, join me as we dive down the rabbit hole and try to find out.

1970: Starting to decline

1970 was the year the UK saw the general release of many perennial favourites, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Kes and many others. It was also the year when cinema audiences began to decline dramatically in numbers, going from 193 million admissions in 1970 to 176 million in 1971. By the end of 1980 admissions only reached 110 million.

Many blame the expansion of television and the video recorder for the decline. And with Hollywood going through major changes at the time due to several large flops, the big crowd-pleasing spectacles that had been largely used to showcase its superiority to home viewing quickly dropped off. These pictures then took a back seat in the UK, replaced by a mix of personal and experimental projects that appealed to niche audiences as well as television adaptations and sex comedies. From there although attendance was not always in continual decline, and tentpole blockbusters returned, the audience figures never reached the numbers they once had – until 2018!

In 2018 attendance numbers rose with huge hits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Mamma Mia Here we go again, Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther.

The biggest UK film hits in 2018

2018: What has changed?

There are of course many factors that could have contributed to the rise in cinema attendance. Some insiders put it down to the value of the cinema experience. Going to the cinema is not just about the film anymore, it’s about the communal experience. The ability to buy food, drink, alcohol and enjoy a film with your family and friends on a large screen with luxury seating without having to spend as much as you would for a night at the opera or a football match.

The number of venues dedicated to showing films across the UK is also growing, in different geographical areas. This means that it is easier for audiences to get to cinemas, no doubt helping to encourage repeat visits.

On the other hand, the rise could be a result of Hollywood using their old hits formulas with a new approach. The big hits of 1970, M*A*S*H, Love Story and Airport all had pre-existing fanbases, all being based on novels (some specially written to drum up interest for the movie) and stars with name recognition. Airport having Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin, M*A*S*H having Donald Sutherland and Love Story having Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. Hollywood often used these tactics in the past, but these films also covered a range of genres: disaster, romance, war/comedy and demonstrated an attempt to appeal to different tastes. Airport focused on Hollywood spectacle, Love Story on personal character drama and M*A*S*H on anti-establishment humour rampant at the time. Helping to attract different audiences.

All these elements can be seen in the big hits of 2018. The genres range from musical to superhero and biopic. And all demonstrate a commitment to bringing in broad audiences through either brand recognition or having a big name attached to the project.

But these films also tackle modern issues that help them appeal to different audiences. Instead of focusing exclusively on white straight men we now have stories about black superheroes, LGBTQ icons and women exploring their sexuality and coming to terms with their own identities. With a lot of money spent on these projects, it must be an attractive prospect for underrepresented groups to see representation on the big screen. All the aforementioned films are also rated 12a. And with cinemas being more easily accessible it makes it easier for every member of the family to watch these diverse tales. The issues of today are being told with old school Hollywood spectacle, which seems to have struck a chord with people, regardless of your opinions on the films.

A long way to go

But despite rising attendance figures, these must be viewed within context. Comparing the populations of the times the average person in 1970 would have visited the cinema around 3.5 times a year. In comparison the higher population the average person will only visit the cinema around 2.7 times a year. Which makes a difference when considering box office takings


UK population estimates and projections, 1951 to 2041 (Office for National Statistics )

With the average ticket price in the 1970s being £6.83 (45p, adjusted for inflation) the total box office takings of 1970 reached £1,318,190,000. Beating 2018’s takings of £1,277,122,327 despite the higher average ticket price and higher number of cinemas.

The average viewer just does not visit the cinema enough to equal the 1970 numbers. So, if cinema is to return to the high attendances it once had, there is still a long way to go. And with the predicted continuing increase of the population, cinemas will need to do all they can to encourage visitors to return or attendance will continue to fall. This could result in cinema closures or another rise in the average ticket price.

What now?

Despite this, the high attendance figures of the past few years indicate that if cinemas continue to appeal to audiences, through showcasing big films that can be viewed by diverse audiences at affordable prices, then maybe we will reach the attendance figures of cinemas heyday again.

News

60 Seconds of Film – 30th November 2018

November 30, 2018

60 Seconds of Film – your bite-sized weekly roundup of film news, presented by Jules Brook.

In this special edition, we countdown which films have been the biggest draw at the U.K Box Office so far in 2018.

30th Nov 2018 – 60 Seconds of Film

60 Seconds of Film – your bite-sized weekly roundup of film news, presented by Jules Brook.In this special edition, we countdown which films have been the biggest draw at the U.K Box Office so far in 2018.

Gepostet von Big Picture Film Club am Freitag, 30. November 2018