This isn’t news, but it bears repeating: If there is one thing we can learn from looking at summer movies, it’s that absolutely nobody cares what critics have to say about summer movies.
Critics hated some summer movies that did really well and loved others that bombed.
Who had a good summer at the box office? Who wishes that 2016 had never happened? Let’s look at some numbers. All grosses are drawn from the almighty boxofficemojo.com.
This summer’s biggest winner was Disney, by far. Great merciful crap, did Disney have an insane year. The top four movies on the planet were Disney films.
“Captain America: Civil War,“ the most recent entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, grossed $1.152 billion worldwide. “Zootopia” was a sleeper smash with a $1.02 billion gross. “The Jungle Book,”an entirely CGI-affair (save for the lead actor), grossed $961 million. And Pixar’s most recent entry, “Finding Dory,” picked up $930 million worldwide (with $479 million of that in the States; domestically, it’s the year’s most successful picture).
Even with a few flops —“The BFG,” directed by Steven Spielberg, earned only $54 million domestically and $160.3 million worldwide against a $140 million budget; “Alice Through the Looking Glass” took $77 million domestically but finished with a decent $295 million worldwide gross; and “Pete’s Dragon” has only made $55 million in about three weeks of release — Disney pretty well owned 2016. Until everyone gets sick of Marvel and Star Wars, this trend may continue. Then again, nothing lasts forever.
“Deadpool” was the real superhero surprise, grossing $782 million worldwide against a budget of $58 million. Considered a low-budget also-ran, it radically outperformed “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which took in $544 million worldwide but only $155 million domestically, less than half of the $363 million domestic “Deadpool” made. The moral of this story is that absolutely nobody cares what critics have to say about superhero movies, especially audiences in other countries.
You know who also had a good year? People complaining on the internet. Take, for example, “Ghostbusters,” rebooted by Paul Feig with a gender-swapped cast. A certain segment of the internet almost instantly started complaining about the ladies wielding proton packs, keeping up a drumbeat of bafflingly bad buzz that resulted, most recently, in actress Leslie Jones’ website getting hacked. The movie earned a $121.7 million domestic box office (and only a $217.7 million international total), and plans for a sequel seem to have been scrapped. This is very literally why we can’t have nice things.
Then again, sometimes the market and critics march hand in hand. “Free State of Jones,” starring Austin spirit animal Matthew McConaughey, just did not work and made only $20 million, less than half its $50 million budget.
I was one of the very few critics who didn’t absolutely love Austin film godfather Richard Linklater’s“Everybody Wants Some,” but it never completely found an audience, grossing only $3 million, making for Linklater’s worst outing since “Me and Orson Welles” in 2009 and doing far, far worse than 2014’s still-incredible “Boyhood.”
But I really enjoyed “Midnight Special,” by Austin director Jeff Nichols, a movie that couldn’t quite find its audience, either — it made only $6 million worldwide. (And also got its tribute-to-’80s-sci-fi-and-fantasy lunch eaten by Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”)
Ultimately, critics enjoyed “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone’s comedic ode to the Biebers of the world. But it made a dismal $9 million (no budget was released) domestically and has not been released overseas. And the genuinely terrific “Green Room,” a much better horror movie than, say, “Don’t Breathe” or last year’s “It Follows,” has made only $3 million. I suspect both will have a decent life on various streaming services.
The writer, who identifies herself as “former employee of Warner Bros,” rails at Tsujihara for the general crappiness of “Suicide Squad” and the Warner Bros. 2014 slate of movies and a mess of layoffs that happened about that time.
“Zack Snyder is not delivering,” writes Law about the “Batman v Superman” director who “is a producer on every DC movie,” including “Suicide Squad” and the upcoming “Wonder Woman,” the latter for which he also has a “story by” credit. Snyder is also directing the upcoming “Justice League” movie, which is essentially the sequel to “Batman v Superman.”
Is Snyder delivering aesthetically? Absolutely not.
But financially? As the ol’ Magic Eight Ball says, signs point to yes.
Let’s look at some numbers.
According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, “Batman v Superman” has grossed $872.7 million worldwide, $330.4 domestically (37.9% of its gross) and a whopping $542.3 million (62.1%) overseas.
According to this excellent story by Forbes, “Batman v Superman” was budgeted at about $250 million in production costs and about $150 million in marketing. That’s about $400 million. So it HAD to make $800 million at LEAST. Which it did. (Seriously, read the Forbes piece — the gent who wrote it projected $895 million back in April and explains what that number means for Warners.)
Did the terrible reviews hurt it? Maybe, maybe not. According to this Hollywood Reporter piece, Warners was “blindsided and deeply rattled by the tepid response to ‘Batman v Superman,'” which led to a lot of second-guessing during the production of “Suicide Squad.”
Except here is the thing: Ultimately, “Batman” made the studio money. Was it “Captain America: Civil War” successful? No; that movie has made $1.15 billion worldwide and is the year’s No. 1 film.
But, interestingly, “Batman” actually made a slightly higher percentage of its money domestically than “Captain America” did (37.9% vs. 35.4%). And “Captain America” had a far better Rotten Tomatoes score, at 90%, than “Batman v Superman,” which had 27%.
Which is to say, the student who got an F from critics made almost as much money as the A student.
Not the C student, not the B student, but the F student.
Let’s look at “Suicide Squad.”
Rotten Tomatoes score? 27%. It made $133,682,248 its first weekend, which is an August record. It dropped 67.3% on its second weekend, which is big but not a disaster. (“Batman v Superman” dropped 69% on its second week.) “Suicide Squad” has been open for about 12 days and has made $466 million worldwide, $222.6 million domestically (47.8%) and $243.4 (52.2% overseas). These seem to be perfectly reasonable numbers for a movie with $175 million production budget (no idea about the marketing).
All of which indicates that DC Comics movies are pretty well critic-proof and poor-buzz-proof.
Look, I would love it if people stopped going to see these movies. But there is zero evidence that they will. “Wonder Woman” is looking at a June 2, 2017, release date. “Justice League” is slated for Nov. 17, 2017. If “Suicide Squad” breaks, say, $600 million, some sort of sequel seems in the offing.
Unless costs just spiral out of control on the next round of movies, there is no financial reason for Warners to get rid of Snyder. Get used to him.
Tim Burton brings his adaptation of “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” while Don Coscarelli, architect of the Phantasm series, delivers the world premiere of “Phantasm: Ravager” and a “remastered” print of “Phantasm” reps for Fantastic Fest announced Tuesday.
The 12th edition of the Drafthouse-based, genre-focused festival runs Sept 25 to 29.
Fantastic Fest also broke out the first wave of screenings, inlcuding a block of new and repertory South Asian features, including director Anurag Kashyareap’s cut of his violent 2016 picture “Psycho Raman,” the centuries-spanning epic “Magadheera” and the stylish Bollywood gangster film “Khalnayak.”
“We are celebrating not only Bollywood but also Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam cinema, said Fest programming head Evrim Ersoy. “highlighting the kaleidoscope of textures and content that is as wide and varied as the subcontinent itself.”
The special screening of “Phantasm: Remastered” which will stream live to art house theaters across the country celebrating Art House Theater Day Sept.24. Coscarelli will be joined in attendance with cast members and “Ravager” director David Hartman.
Alamo Drafthouse’s film collectibles arm Mondo will also be participating with poster, apparel and soundtrack releases made exclusively for the screenings.
Fantastic Fest is also partnering with Los Angeles virtual reality studio Dark Corner to world-premiering Guy Shelmerdine’s VR film “Mule,” his follow-up to “Catatonic,” which will also screen. Look for Justin Denton’s two-part horror piece “Burlap,” which is both a two-dimensional short film and an immersive VR experience. Audiences can watch the short film, then step inside the story with “Burlap: Reflections,” where they will experience the killer’s sinister obsession firsthand.
Everything Is Terrible! bring work to Fantastic Fest for the first time with the world première of their latest assemblage of found footage, while legendary exploitation filmmaker James Bryan (“Lady Street Fighter;” Don’t Go In the Woods) will be on hand to world-premiere his never-before-seen VHS-era horror movie “Jungle Trap.” Shot in 1990, the film was shelved unedited and without a musical soundtrack, but has finally been cut and scored a quarter century later.
Check out first wave film lineup below (and let us know what you think):
24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Kevin Burke
Through interviews with art personalities from the past four decades, 24 x 36 examines the birth, death and resurrection of illustrated movie poster art.
A DARK SONG
World Premiere, 99 min
Director – Liam Gavin
Sophia is a determined young woman who hires a weird occultist to perform a ritual which will risk not only their lives and souls, but also the very essence of their being.
Switzerland, France, 2016
US Premiere, 91 min
Director – Tobias Nölle
Aloys Adorn is a lonely private investigator who, after the death of his father, finds himself sucked into a mysterious “telephone walking” game with a mysterious woman who might be his only hope.
United States, 2016
Texas Premiere, 158 min
Director – Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold’s first US feature follows 18-year-old Star as she leaves her home in Oklahoma and goes in search of adventure, adulthood and America.
BELIEF: THE POSSESSION OF JANET MOSES
New Zealand, 2015
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – David Stubbs
The true story of the Wainuiomata exorcism provides the basis for David Stubbs’ striking debut feature, a documentary exploring the tragic death of Janet Moses in a traditional Maori exorcism ceremony.
US Premiere, 81 min
Director – Julien Leclercq
It’s bad men face versus worse men as thieves face off against dealers in this super slick French heist thriller from the director of Chrysalis and The Assault.
Laos, France, Estonia, 2016
World Premiere, 100 min
Director – Mattie Do
After moving to the city, a poor woman realizes her recently blinded cousin can not only commune with the dead, but they can provide a path to much-needed wealth.
North American Premiere, 87 min
Director – Abraham Forsythe
In the aftermath of massive race riots, two carloads of dim-witted alpha males set off to defend their respective territory with outrageous results in this sharp edged Australian satire.
THE DWARVES MUST BE CRAZY
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Bhin Banloerit
A Thai village of little people is attacked by evil, butt-munching, fart-tracking Krause spirits – floating heads with attached intestines – in this slapstick horror-comedy.
North American Premiere, 103 min
Director – Sébastien Marnier
After burning out in Paris, Constance returns to her home town only to find herself in lethal competition with a younger girl for her old job.
United States, 2016
Texas Premiere, 53 min
Director – Dean Fleischer-Camp
A family’s home movies document a desperate crime, and the subsequent bid to escape the consequences in this impressionistic meta-fiction born from the manipulation of hundreds of hours of innocuous uploads to YouTube. An extraordinary feat of editing, a provocative parable of the pursuit of happiness and a disturbing demonstration of the mutability of the stories we share in the Internet age.
THE GREASY STRANGLER
United States, 2016
Special Screening, 93 min
Director – Jim Hosking
Ronnie fears his first love affair is turning his father into a bloodthirsty monster who’s covered in grease and has an 18-inch penis that looks like a dead chicken.
JUNGLE TRAP : Presented By Bleeding Skull
United States, 1990/2016
World Premiere, 80 min
Director – James Bryan
Exploitation demigod James Bryan’s massively entertaining, decapitation-fueled shot-on-video horror masterpiece about a jungle hotel haunted by kill-crazy ghosts in loin cloths, shot in 1990 and unreleased until THIS VERY MOMENT.
Repertory Screening, 190 min
Director – Subhash Ghai
Ballu is an unrepentant gangster who has dedicated his life to the celebration of villainy. He is a bad, bad man and not ashamed one bit. However, with the help of his mother and a sympathetic cop, Ballu will rise above his circumstances to gain satisfying redemption.
Repertory Screening, 157 min
Director – S.S. Rajamouli
Harsha, a dirt bike racer, lives for thrills. One day he crosses paths with Indu, a girl with whom he feels strangely connected. Through this bond, Harsha discovers his hidden identity: a reincarnated warrior king.
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
United States, 2016
Special Screening, 123 min
Director – Tim Burton
From visionary director Tim Burton, and based upon the best-selling novel, comes an unforgettable motion picture experience. When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.
Texas Premiere, 95 min
Directors – Florian Heinzen-Ziob and Georg Heinzen
In the heart of Mumbai, behind the screen of one of the last Hindi Film cinemas, lives Sheik Rahman, the city’s last painter of film posters. This is his story.
PHANTASM: REMASTERED (1979)
United States, 1979
Special Screening, 88 min
Director – Don Coscarelli
One of the most influential and important horror films of all time, Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm returns to Alamo Drafthouse’s screens in a gorgeous 4k remaster.
United States, 2016
World Premiere, 87
Director – David Hartman
The fifth and final film in the classic Phantasm film series, Phantasm Ravager follows our intrepid everyman hero Reggie on his quest across dark dimensions as he struggles to confront and vanquish the sinister Tall Man.
The Netherlands, 2015
International Premiere, 85 min
Directors- Erwin van de Eshof & Martijn Smits
Festival favorite Huub Smit (New Kids Nitro; New Kids Turbo; Bros Before Hos) stars as a Dutch cop raised on far too many American action films in this outrageous action comedy.
US Premiere, 127 min
Director – Anurag Kashyap
Raghavan is a cop: brutal, violent, and drug-addicted. Ramanna is a criminal: psychotic, unpredictable, and vicious. It’s only a matter of time before they meet and when they do, Mumbai’s slums will be colored deep crimson.
SALT AND FIRE
North American Premiere, 93 min
Director – Werner Herzog
Herzog’s most wildly unpredictable film, Salt and Fire is a meticulously slow burning, quasi-ecological thriller punctuated by moments of the lyrically poetic and the inexplicably, outrageously absurd.
S IS FOR STANLEY
North American Premiere, 82 min
Director – Alex Infascelli
Alex Infascelli’s documentary about Emilio D’Alessandro, Stanley Kubrick’s personal assistant for more than thirty years, which provides never-before-seen insight into the private auteur.
World Premiere, 90 min
Directors – STEVEN KOSTANSKI & JEREMY GILLESPIE
Trapped in a hospital with a handful of people, a small town sheriff finds himself caught up in the demented plot of a death-obsessed madman.
WE ARE THE FLESH
Texas Premiere, 80 min
Director – Emiliano Rocha Minter
Somewhere within a ruined city, a man makes an offer to a pair of siblings who wander into his abandoned building: food and shelter in exchange for building a strange room…
Russia, France, Germany, 2016
US Premiere, 87 min
Director – Ivan I. Tverdovsky
Natasha is a lonely, middle-aged woman who still lives with her mother and feels insecure about her tedious life… until she grows a tail.