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Old 2016-08-22, 12:19 AM   #1
Cliffjumper
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Red face Just in case anyone's forgotten, DOTM was briefly the fourth highest grossing film ever

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...grossing_films

Wiki-wandering and remembered this; yes, inflation and all of that but am I the only one who finds that utterly utterly mental? A Transformers film about Transformers and it took more than stuff like Pirates of the Carribean sequels. I mean crikey.
 
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Old 2016-08-22, 12:25 AM   #2
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Massive failure though. Killed the franchise. Ruined forever. Stupid sucky Bayformers that nobody likes or watches.

Etc etc.
 
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Old 2016-08-22, 07:37 AM   #3
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But it's my favourite out of all the bayformer movies
 

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Old 2016-08-22, 08:25 PM   #4
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Massive failure though. Killed the franchise. Ruined forever. Stupid sucky Bayformers that nobody likes or watches.

Etc etc.
All the TF movies post-2007 are legitimately awful, though. I mean, I love them, but they really are. That's the mind-blowing part of it all. Or at least it was, until I looked at the rest of the top 20 and saw dreck like The Dark Knight Bores Rises, the awful Pirates cash-ins, Avengers: Age of We're Writing Everyone As Buffy Characters and a freaking Fast and the Furious movie in there.

What really surprised me is that the new Star Wars didn't even come close to beating out that gimmicky nonsense Avatar for the top spot.
 
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Old 2016-08-22, 08:52 PM   #5
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I saw a few mediocre thinkpieces during the Olympics regarding the notion of Excellence vs Effectiveness.

Primarily in regards to the notion that "winning is the only thing that matters". [spoiler: it isn't] Second place is just first loser, etc, etc. It obviously takes a lot of training and effort to be the second best in the world at something, but if the only thing that counts is winning, does it really matter how good you are at it so long as you finish above the other guy?

Writers then tied it into the current political situation, where you've got absolutely godawful people running for office on the basis of lowest-common-denominator policies and scare tactics. Results justify the means, etc. Who cares if you're actually any good at something, so long as you get the job done. The job in that instance being everybody voting for you.

Excellence vs Effectiveness.

Which brings us back round to the topic, in so much that the modern blockbuster is a great example of the argument, too. Why should studios bother churning out films that are actually objectively good or technically excellent, so long as the marketing gets everybody in to see it? Good reviews don't pay back the budget.

Batman v Superman being a prime example. Give the people what they think they want and by the time they realise it's dogshit they've already forked over their money.

The remarkable thing about Paramount's Transformers movies is that the fact they're objectively terrible doesn't seem to be putting people off going to see them. Sooner or later the law of diminishing returns has to kick in, but apparently ****ing not.

I mean I understand people not wanting to admit that a film they were excited for is terrible, and it can be a powerful and strong delusion, but Age of Extinction isn't that far off Dark of the Moon. We're on the verge of a massive shared hallucination here. Fool me four times, etc. So they must be doing something right to get people to keep going back despite everything...

I forget my point.

Oh yeah. RUINED FOREVER.
 
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Old 2016-08-22, 10:53 PM   #6
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The consistent box office really is amazing; you'd think it'd have dropped off by now even with how barren big budget films are. But I think it's just as simple as people quite like a film about giant shapeshifting robots every couple of years and Transformers has that one sewn up - the same way Pirates of the Carribean kept going because everyone had time for a swashbuckler every couple of years. Whereas Marvel and DC stuffing the multiplexes with an endless stream of superhero films has lesser returns (while obviously still being successful enough). Obviously it's going to drop off at some point by I think even the most optimistic fans were expecting that to happen two films ago.

With my usual interest declared, I don't think any of the first three are bad films; they're flawed and could do with another rewrite and a sterner hand in the edit room but I think they've all got a good enough central thrust to be considered decent films with bad scenes in them. AoE is a bad film to me because the problems go deeper than indulgence and pacing.

Have to agree that quality really isn't a factor anymore; while box office has rarely been the ultimate signifier of quality the amount of films on that list that are actually pretty bad is astonishing. Marketing's definitely winning the battle against the critics and Transformers is at the vanguard of that - the anti-Bay blastings from professional film critics who've already written their putdowns like music journalists reviewing Nickelback haven't stopped anyone from going to the last three. Social media pipes trailers directly to people who get hyped all on their own - look at Comicon, which seems to be a film trailer festival without a comic in sight, and people ****ing love it.

Looking it up I was mildly surprised to see Avatar up there... while I don't really pay much attention to this sort of thing and there was a lot of hype flying around but the question seemed to be how much Force Awakens was going to beat the record by... I guess it's a rising cost of tickets thing coupled with there being a lot more competing for that demographic now; a lot of the people who'd be watching something like Avatar or Star Wars for a fifth or sixth time have other films pitched at them now. That said I'm still amazed Avatar actually did that much - the cultural footprint seemed tiny compared to something like, say, Jurassic Park or Titanic which rapidly entered the everyday lexicon.
 
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Old 2016-08-23, 04:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Which brings us back round to the topic, in so much that the modern blockbuster is a great example of the argument, too. Why should studios bother churning out films that are actually objectively good or technically excellent, so long as the marketing gets everybody in to see it? Good reviews don't pay back the budget.
I can see where you're coming from, but I don't 100% agree. Marketing is definitely a big driver of ticket sales, whether through trailers or the generic "hype machine", but I do think reviews play a role too. But I think that's where expectations come into play -- bad reviews don't really hurt the Transformers films because nobody really expects them to be good, just dumb fun. If a TF movie has massive plot holes, annoying characters and a nonsense story...well, none of those are what most of the audience paid for. They want to see giant CGI robots wreck shit, and as long as the movie delivers that, most of them will leave happy even if they know that, objectively, the movie was awful. So it doesn't matter how much the reviews scream "this is terrible", because most of the viewers accept that going in and are still able to have fun with it.

But when a movie is expected to be actually good, when it's obvious that it's trying to be deeper than just a random braindead action flick, bad reviews can do a lot more damage. You mentioned Batman vs. Superman, and it's true, it made a ton of money...in it's opening weekend. Then the bad reviews and negative word of mouth really hit and the box office receipts dropped like a rock, because people expected more than what the movie delivered. It still raked in a ton of cash but relative to what it cost to make the damned thing I don't think it's considered a success, and that's almost entirely due to bad reviews.

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The consistent box office really is amazing; you'd think it'd have dropped off by now even with how barren big budget films are. But I think it's just as simple as people quite like a film about giant shapeshifting robots every couple of years and Transformers has that one sewn up - the same way Pirates of the Carribean kept going because everyone had time for a swashbuckler every couple of years. Whereas Marvel and DC stuffing the multiplexes with an endless stream of superhero films has lesser returns (while obviously still being successful enough). Obviously it's going to drop off at some point by I think even the most optimistic fans were expecting that to happen two films ago.
Yeah, that's a good point. If you want a giant robot movie these are really your only choice, and cornering a niche is a good way to make money. Especially considering how much movies rely on China these days to make cash, and how popular the giant robot genre is over there.

The superhero stuff does seem to be showing diminishing returns now. When the movies are good they're still a license to print money, but bad ones don't seem to be cashing in as reliably. Hopefully that'll force them to start making fewer, but better, superhero movies in the coming years to maximize their investment!

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With my usual interest declared, I don't think any of the first three are bad films; they're flawed and could do with another rewrite and a sterner hand in the edit room but I think they've all got a good enough central thrust to be considered decent films with bad scenes in them. AoE is a bad film to me because the problems go deeper than indulgence and pacing.
I would agree that AoE is a bad film, but the shame is that it feels like two or maybe even three films -- each of which could have been good on it's own -- jammed together into an incoherent whole. Lockdown, Galvatron and the Dinobots could all have carried a movie on their own, but cramming them all into a single one made the end result nothing but a mess. The Lockdown parts of the film were mostly coherent, but the other plotlines got zero development and the last act was a clusterfuck.

But I don't think I can even say that about ROTF or DOTM. DOTM had Sentinel Prime, who was awesome, but the actual plot was...well, I can't even remember much of it, to be honest. So maybe I'll be surprised if I rewatch it?

But ROTF was a disaster. The production was rushed due to the writers' strike, and the whole thing just didn't make much sense. "Why revive Megatron?" is a huge question that never really gets answered beyond the obvious "We want him for the sequels and never should have killed him off". And since Megatron is around stealing screen time, the Fallen himself does almost nothing, has no personality, and thus no motivation beyond "Grrr! Evil!". And the climax of the movie was mostly army porn.

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Looking it up I was mildly surprised to see Avatar up there... while I don't really pay much attention to this sort of thing and there was a lot of hype flying around but the question seemed to be how much Force Awakens was going to beat the record by... I guess it's a rising cost of tickets thing coupled with there being a lot more competing for that demographic now; a lot of the people who'd be watching something like Avatar or Star Wars for a fifth or sixth time have other films pitched at them now.
Thinking about it, I wonder if Avatar's earnings are artificially inflated due to the format. It was a showcase for 3D filmmaking, after all, and 3D tickets cost a lot more than standard 2D screenings (at least they do here). And Avatar is the only movie where people I knew actually wanted to see it in 3D, rather than grudgingly buying 3D tickets because they couldn't find or get into a regular showing. So I wonder if Avatar's position atop the charts is solely due to managing to convince everyone that they had to see it in 3D if they saw it at all -- a marketing coup that no other movie has ever managed to pull off.

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That said I'm still amazed Avatar actually did that much - the cultural footprint seemed tiny compared to something like, say, Jurassic Park or Titanic which rapidly entered the everyday lexicon.
It's amazing how little anyone seems to care for the movie seven years later, that's for sure. If anyone brings up Avatar these days, it's either in the context we're discussing it now (how they can't believe it's the highest-grossing movie of all time), to curse it for spawning the blight that is the current 3D movie craze, or to write it off as boring hippie bullshit. I honestly can't remember the last time I talked to someone that actually said they liked it.
 
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Old 2016-08-23, 05:06 PM   #8
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Yeh, sorry, didn't mean to suggest BvS was a financial success, just using it as an example of the "grab the money and run" mentality at play in a lot of cinematic endeavours these days. Making a good film is secondary to making something they think will rake in the cash - focus group the **** out of it and to hell with a coherent narrative.

Avatar's a really weird anomaly in the current market. An all-conquering sci-fi fantasy juggernaut that had absolutely no spin-off or tie-in stuff (that I'm aware of, anyway).

Obviously Cameron's been threatening sequels since day one, but they've never materialised. And in the interim, unless I'm very wrong, we've not even had an IDW licensed comic based on the property.

Normally shit like that would have been milked dry by now, but no.

As far as it entering the lexicon goes... I'm sure Family Guy have done "blue guys" jokes. But other than that, there isn't really anything there to imprint on anything else. Because there's nothing really original in the film in the first place. Sure it's crammed with ideas, but it's all stuff that was done better somewhere else.

So you can't really try to homage or reference Avatar without just shortcutting and just riffing on whatever Cameron nicked it from.
 
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Old 2016-08-23, 08:38 PM   #9
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I think we're kind of forgetting the combined strength of reviews, word of mouth and pre-release hype. There's no doubt Jurassic Park benefited enormously from people going to watch it on release telling their mates "YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE!", while Ghostbusters was no doubt hurt by the pre-release hype, word of mouth as well as being fairly average movie (not in my eyes, but I digress). Also, there's now a dime a dozen places to get a review, from the paper to the clueless nerd in his room with a webcam, so more places to obtain a pre-release view on whether a movie is worth seeing or not.

Titanic is in a weird place because it came out at Christmas and yet still managed to make globs of money then, whereas if it had been a summer release, I think it's receipts would never be touched even by Avatar
 

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Old 2016-08-27, 11:45 PM   #10
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Nobody has forgotten!
 
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Old 2016-08-28, 06:57 AM   #11
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Titanic is in a weird place because it came out at Christmas and yet still managed to make globs of money then, whereas if it had been a summer release, I think it's receipts would never be touched even by Avatar
Avatar came out at Christmas too, though (as did TFA, of course).
 
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Old 2016-08-28, 01:17 PM   #12
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I think it was Titanic then that sort of changed the studio mindset that "big movie must come out in the summer", though again, it would be interesting to see what those numbers would have been had they had summer releases
 

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