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Tag: Box Office

Editorials

Top 10 Films at the UK Box Office in 2020 (So Far)

May 22, 2020
The 2020 Box Office [Sources: Cineworld Cinemas,The Guardian; imdb]

With UK cinemas still closed we may as well run down 2020’s highest box office grossers so far. Today I’ll look at how much the highest earners took at the UK Box office (using Box Office Mojo and Google Money Converter). These numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred thousand and are correct at the time of writing (20/05/20)) and what critics; audiences thought of them.

10. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (£9,400,000)

Cathy Yan’s DC Universe offering sees Harley Quinn teaming up with a group of female heroines to fight against the evil Black Mask.

Audience Thoughts: 78% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.2 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “While watching Birds of Prey, it becomes clear that comic book movies are still going to dominate the box office for many years to come. If any of those could be as much fun…then we would be over the moon.

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey
Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey swoop into 10th place at the UK Box Office [Source: Empire]

9. Parasite (£12,000,000)

Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winner sees the poor Kim family scam their way into working for the rich Park family. But do the Kim’s deserve our sympathy and what secrets are the Park’s hiding?

Audience Thoughts: 90% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It’s dark, funny, clever, surprising, and I’m sure I could use almost every adjective in my lexicon.

Parasite
Best Picture Winner, Parasite smashes into 9th place [Source: Americamagazine.org]

8. The Gentlemen (£12,300,000)

Guy Ritchie’s latest gangster films focused on an American marijuana emperor trying to leave the business. But various factions conspire to extort him for all he’s worth.

Audience Thoughts: 84% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It is a coarse, convoluted, comical caper that exults in the joys of genre.”

The Gentlemen
The Gentlemen swan into 8th place [Source: Den of Geek]

7. Jumanji: The Next Level (£16,100,000)

The gang from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, along with new additions Danny Glover and Danny DeVito, return to Jumanji to face new challenges. 

Audience Thoughts: 87% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Jumanji’s next level is rather satisfying.

Jumanji
The Jumanji gang jump back into the UK Box Office [Source: Entertainment Weekly]

6. Dolittle (£16,700,000)

Robert Downey Jr. leads an all-star cast as the famous doctor who can talk to animals sets out to find a cure for an ailing young Queen Victoria.

Audience Thoughts: 76% – Rotten Tomatoes / 5.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It really is horribly inert, and every time Downey opens his mouth to say something unintelligible, the film dies a bit more.

Robert Downey Jr as Dolittle
Despite a critical thrashing Dolittle soars into number 6 at the Box Office [Source: GamesRadar]

5. Bad Boys for Life (£17,000,000)

Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett must team up with a team of younger cops to take down the leaders of a violent drug cartel.

Audience Thoughts: 96% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Bad Boys for Life is … pure enjoyment and entertainment.

Bad Boys returns to the UK box office
The Bad Boys return in glorious fashion [Source: RogerEbert.com]

4. Sonic the Hedgehog (£19,100,000)

Sonic and his friend Tom race to San Francisco to find the rings to transport Sonic off-world before Dr. Robotnik catches them.

Audience Thoughts: 93% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “The world contains many terrible video game movies. This isn’t one of them.

Sonic rushing into the box office top 10
Sega’s blue speedster rushes into the top 10 [Source: Hollywood Reporter]

3. Little Women (£19,400,000)

Greta Gerwig’s remake of the literary classic follows the March sisters as they experience career hardships, romance, tragedy, and triumph during and after the American Civil War.

Audience Thoughts: 92% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Though we can’t foretell whether time will be cruel or kind to Gerwig’s “Little Women,” it may just be the best film yet made by an American woman.”

Little Women stands tall at the box office
Greta Gerwig’s Little Women stands tall at number 3 [Source: Britannica]

2. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (£20,100,000)

The Skywalker Saga concludes. Emperor Palpatine returns to threaten the galaxy. Rey and the remnants of the resistance must find a way to stop him. While contending with the rage of Kylo Ren.

Audience Thoughts: 86% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It doesn’t do anything new or even terribly distinctive, but maybe it didn’t have to. It just had to be good enough to stick the landing, and it does that.

Rise of Skywalker rises to number 2 at the uk box office
The Skywalker saga’s final swipe took the 2nd place in 2020 so far [Source: Deadline]

1. 1917 (£46,600,000)

Presented in a pseudo-continuous shot 1917 follows two soldiers tasked with physically delivering orders for a battalion to stand down before German forces kill them all.

Audience Thoughts: 88% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.3 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “1917 will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first moment and will leave you breathless.

1917 is number 1 at the box office
1917 stands atop the box office [Source: Letterboxd]

This year’s top 10 collective taking may be comparatively low (over £188 million) but with a relatively diverse group of creative teams (including 2 solo female directors and a foreign-language film) and an interesting mix of tales (including three original properties not based on pre-existing work or part of larger franchises), 2020 is more interesting than 2019. Which was dominated by comic book adaptations, remakes, and sequels to popular franchises (mostly from Disney and their subsidiaries). Hopefully, the upcoming months will bare good tidings for UK cinemas.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Film

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Editorials

Road Trip to Joker: The Success of Todd Phillips

March 5, 2020
Todd Phillips Films

Love him or hate him, director Todd Phillips has certainly made a very successful niche for himself. Today I’ll be looking over the controversial director’s career. Beginning with an overview of his work before looking into his most acclaimed films, The Hangover and Joker and how they succeeded at the box office, with critics, and for the director himself.

Filmography

Phillips broke into narrative features with 2000’s Road Trip. A sex comedy that made over $119 million dollars at the box office against a $16 million budget. He followed that up with other successes like 2003s gross-out comedy Old School. 2004s movie adaptation of Starsky & Hutch. 2010s buddy road trip film Due Date. 2016s biographical black comedy War Dogs. And The Hangover sequels, which while never earning the acclaim of the original, were still financially successful.

Comparatively, Phillips’ only unsuccessful movie is School of Scoundrels which earned $24 million against a $35 million budget. However inarguably his most successful ventures are The Hangover and Joker.

The leads of The Hangover (2009)
The leads of The Hangover (2009) [Source: Standard.co.uk]

Success and Acclaim: The Hangover & Joker

The Hangover became the highest-grossing R rated comedy of all time during its release (not adjusted for inflation). While this record was later surpassed The Hangover was also celebrated by audiences and critics (Rated 7.7 on IMDb and 78% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Meanwhile, Joker has become the highest-grossing R rated movie of all time, making over $1 billion worldwide. Despite mixed critical reception (68% on Rotten Tomatoes) Joker still received great acclaim. Winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and being nominated for many Best Film and Best Director awards. Audiences also roundly embraced the film (it’s currently rated 8.6 on IMDb and is ranked 46th in the IMDb Top 250).

Both films are examples of popular film trends from their time. The Hangover owes some of its success to the popular raunchy comedies of Judd Apatow. And Joker owes a lot to the domination of comic book movies at the box office.

But both films also have something unique, ambiguity. While The Hangover was a raunchy comedy it also had a grimy presentation. This allowed people to view the film as a condemnation of the activities the characters get involved with. Thus even people unsympathetic to the characters could enjoy laughing at them. Meanwhile, Joker presented its villain as somewhat sympathetic by showcasing how many facets of American culture helped to turn him evil but also presented his actions as shocking. Meaning the film functioned as both a disturbing look inside a killer’s mind but also an exploration of the factors that turned him into one. This ambiguous presentation allows for audiences to engage with these films in different ways. And gives critics a lot to analyze. Which is likely something else that lead to their success.

Frightening killer or victim of society? Joker (2019)
Frightening killer or victim of society? Joker (2019) [Source: Variety]

Todd Phillips’ Risks

Surprisingly Warner Brothers were initially unsupportive of both films. They didn’t want to give The Hangover a $35 million budget, because of its R rating (often not as successful as PG-13 movies) and because the leads were relatively unknown at the time. And even though Joker was a sure-fire hit due to the main characters’ comic popularity, Warner Brothers still attempted to prevent the project being made by giving Phillips a relatively small budget of $55 million.

But this ended up paying off well for Phillips. Because of Warner’s reluctance to finance The Hangover Phillips gave up his directing salary to help make the film and asked for 16% of the films gross. Meaning his pay went from $6.5 million to $75 million. And Phillips took a smaller salary on Joker, again asking for a percentage of the gross. Many publications estimate he will make $100 million from it.

Controversial director Todd Phillip
Controversial director Todd Phillips [Source: NME.com]

Conclusion

In the end, Todd Phillips knows how to get moviegoers talking and how to make a success of it. By using successful formulas his films have struck a note with audiences. And the well-constructed morally ambiguous presentation of Hangover and Joker managed to appeal to many different audiences and critics alike. And thanks to their success and the risks Phillips took to make his two best films he’s now laughing all the way to the bank. What a Joker.   

Also Read: The Unique Style of Wes Anderson

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Editorials

The Biggest Financial Film Flops

January 28, 2020
Financial Film Flops

Today we’re going to look at the 10 movies that lost the most money at the worldwide box office. We will compare their expenses with their takings, according to the-numbers.com (using Google to convert the figures into pounds), to see how much they lost (as of 28/1/20). As well as getting to know a little about the movies in question. Let’s begin.

10. The Promise (2016)

Expenses: $99,886,000 (£76,399,615)

Box office: $6,230,913 (£4,765,827)

Loss: $93,655,087 (£71,633,788)

A love story set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, prior to the Armenian Genocide, The Promise‘s main financier (Kirk Kerkorian) never intended to make a profit with the film, instead, the film attempts to simply tell a narrative of the tragedy that wasn’t influenced by the Turkish government.

9. Jupiter Ascending

Expenses: $206,582,000 (£158,007,982)

Box office: $110,744,962 (£84,705,289)

Loss: $95,837,038 (£73,302,693)

The movie about a young woman who discovers her intergalactic royal heritage and fights against evil corporations wanting to destroy earth was intended to launch a new franchise that was not directly based on pre-existing work, though the Wachowski’s drew from sources like The Odyssey and The Wizard of Oz.

8. 47 Ronin

Expenses: $189,988,000 (£145,315,761)

Box office: $93,228,679 (£71,307,643)

Loss: $96,759,321 (£74,008,118)

The Hollywood retelling of the Japanese tale of 47 masterless samurai who set out to avenge their master primarily featured a cast of Japanese actors in the starring roles. However, executives chose to give Keanu Reeves more scenes to capitalize on his star power. Unfortunately, that didn’t pay off.

7. How Do You Know?

Expenses: $140,454,000 (£107,428,784)

Box office: $35,567,289 (£27,204,285)

Loss: $104,886,711 (£80,224,499)

This ensemble, romantic comedy accrued around $50 million of its expenses from paying for its cast and directors’ salaries. Reese Witherspoon received $15 million for appearing in the film, Jack Nicholson – $12 million, Owen Wilson – $10 million, Paul Rudd – $3 million and director/writer/producer James L. Brooks earned $10 million.

6. Jack the Giant Slayer

Expenses: $228,504,000 (£174,775,420)

Box office: $123,521,590 (£94,477,724)

Loss: $104,982,410 (£80,297,696)

A contemporary reimagining of Jack & the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant Slayer had much disagreement behind the scenes regarding who the movie’s audience should be. Eventually, the movie was released with a 12 rating and was considered too dark for kids but too childish for adults. Which explains why it didn’t find a bigger audience.

5. Monster Trucks

Expenses: $149,450,000 (£114,309,538)

Box office: $39,948,907 (£30,555,645)

Loss: $109,501,093 (£83,753,893)

Paramount Pictures’ tale of a young boy who befriends a monster living inside his truck was to be originally released in May 2015 but got pushed back many times, eventually releasing in January 2017 with middling to negative reception.

4. Deepwater Horizon

Expenses: $189,348,000 (£144,826,245)

Box office: $78,201,830 (£59,814,085)

Loss: $111,146,170 (£85,012,160)

Based on the real-world oil rig explosion, unlike other movies on this list, Deepwater Horizon received good reviews from audiences and critics. Many blame the film’s marketing for its failure. Which made the film look like a heroic disaster movie and didn’t attempt to address the incident’s far-reaching consequences.

3. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Expenses: $199,580,000 (£152,652,375)

Box office: $84,928,297 (£64,958,945)

Loss: $114,651,703 (£87,693,430)

Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur adaptation at one stage in its development was pitched as the beginning of a King Arthur cinematic universe, with six films planned. Apparently, this films final script was a mash-up of several ideas from unmade King Arthur projects.

2. John Carter

Expenses: $295,824,000 (£226,266,341)

Box office: $180,857,835 (£138,332,389)

Loss: $114,966,165 (£87,933,952)

An adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom books (noted as influences for Superman and Star Wars) has been planned since the 1930s. When the film failed at the box office author Michael D. Sellers blamed it on the movie’s marketing not mentioning Mars or Edgar Rice Burroughs, therefore not alerting audiences to its source material.

1. Mars Needs Moms

Expenses: $170,166,000 (£130,154,545)

Box office: $26,754,696 (£20,463,814)

Loss: $143,411,304 (£109,690,731)

When Martians abduct a young boy’s mother he goes on a dangerous journey to get her back. This is considered the worse financial loss in history for a Disney branded film.

So ends our look at films all time 10 biggest money losers. Let’s hope the new decade doesn’t bring any financial failures as big as these movies.

Also Read: Why James Cameron’s Avatar Sequel Has Come At The Right Time

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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