The front page headline in today’s Kansas City Star: “Hollywood faces epic year of flops.”
Never mind that the story was written by a New York Times writer, not a Star staffer. The inconvenient truth is it’s little more than a rehash of what other entertainment media have been reporting for weeks.
“There was nothing new to the story,” says KCC movie meister Jack Poessiger. “It’s what all the magazines and television media have already said – that the big movies have flopped.”
However the NY Times / Star front pager totally misses the mark.
Reporter Brooks Barnes agenda was essentially to bag on sequels and special effects laden movies targeting younger moviegoers. Movies that newspaper reading adults find less to their liking. And while that point’s already been made, Barnes failed to report the industry’s overview of the problem as reported five days ago in the Hollywood Reporter.
“‘Pacific Rim,’ ‘The Lone Ranger,’ and ‘White House Down’ flops are leading studios to re-evaluate their plans as an overcrowded summer schedule leads to millions in losses.”
It’s not just because of sequels and special effects flicks, it’s because of the record number of movies being unleashed, “as Hollywood endures the most crowded summer in history for tentpoles. The pileup has resulted in an unprecedented string of expensive bombs that collectively will lose hundreds of millions of dollars,” the Reporter reports.
“It’s a crisis of Hollywood’s own making: Studios are releasing double the number of pricey movies they usually do during the summer, pushing the boundaries of how much the marketplace can expand. Amid the carnage, insiders question why studios are greenlighting so many films that cost more than $150 million to produce when so few have risen above the clutter.”
And while aging Star and New York Times readers grumble about how bad movies are these days, don’t bet the farm on things changing anytime soon, Poessiger says.
“My take on the state of the industry is, the safest bet is still the sequel,” Poessiger says. “That’s why every studio tries so hard to establish a franchise. Because you have a built in audience and you eliminate a lot of the risk.”
And while there’ll undoubtedly be more budget cuts – and perhaps fewer films jammed into such a short time frame – another reason the studios can still afford to take the hits in this country is the overseas box office.
The thinking being that, “even if we don’t make it here, we’ll clean up overseas where they like all the big monsters and blow up stuff,” Poessiger says. “But while they’re still making money overseas, they’re starting to do less business, so they may be getting tired of it too.”
Here’s the math:
“They’re making more money overseas than they are in the United States,” Poessiger says. “I would say on the average you might be looking at 40 percent of the grosses coming from the U.S. and 60 percent from overseas.”
All of that said, don’t hold your breath for The Lone Ranger Rides Again.