Here’s Part 1, if you haven’t checked it out.
Okay, some background and context, for first time readers of this series- as the title implies, I’ll be talking about possible methods in which filmmakers can actually get moviegoers to turn up for movies. Not that they are my target audience, since this is really for the mass public in general. The next installment will arrive every bi-weekly, so just check back in three weeks if you crave for more of this! Without further ado, here we go:
Okay, this one’s easy. Anything that has Pixar’s name on it equals an assurance that you won’t regret what you’re coming to see. For every Inside Out, there’s going to only be a 1% chance that Pixar gives you a Cars 2. Okay, in other words, of the 15 films Pixar has infiltrated our hearts with, 14 are certified fresh, and 11 have a Rotten Tomatoes score of over 90%. Heck, 10 of them have a score of over 95%. It’s not even wise to bet against them anymore, and with this, they earn the moviegoers’ trust- the most recent Inside Out became the biggest completely original non-adaptation opening of all time, with $90.44 million, beating out Avatar. I mean, no matter how in the dark we are kept about any of their films, there’s one thing you’re assured- we’re not going to disappoint. That, of course, has made Pixar the leading Animation House, well ahead of Dreamwork and Illumination Entertainment and Blue Sky and any other animation studio out there right out, in terms of reliability and assurance that it will never be a flop. Seriously, it’s not even possible for Pixar to produce a flop- in their entire history, save the original Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, when Pixar was still in its infancy and unheard of, it has opened every movie above $60 million. Okay, Ratatouille exempted from this, too. Regardless, all except three of their films have earned over $200 million at the domestic box office, which is a pretty remarkable track record. And had there been no Jurassic World, Pixar would have easily became one of the few lucky people out there to not have a film opening outside the #1 position at the box office. Okay, I’m just going to go ahead and say The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory and Toy Story 4 are all going to open with over $65 million, and that will probably be conservative. Heck, I’m going to go ahead and say Finding Dory will easily score a $85 million opening, or even $100 million, while Toy Story 4’s probably going to have any easy go at $130-$150 million. Are you going to dispute against that? Try it.
2)Combine Two Franchises AKA Crossovers
I know, this kinda overlaps with my point back in part 1, where I raised the option of combining several superheroes into one film, akin to what The Avengers and Batman V Superman are trying, or Guardians of the Galaxy did, and turning them into an event sort of status. But I happened to be too specific, so I’m going to be more broad here- just combine any two franchises, damn it.
Don’t tell me its not already been attempted. Even if examples right now are few and wide, lets just ask you a question- do you think a movie’s going to flop when Man in Black gets together with the cast from 22 Jump Street. Oh, don’t worry, thats in its planning stage, and its probably going to be an event film, since who would ever not turn up when these two franchises both have their massive fanbase? What about Underworld and Resident Evil (even though I think that’s a really bad idea)? How bout having Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and all your favorite Universal Monster characters in one event film? Yes, none of those projects have come to fruition, but I promise, this is totally gonna work out. We just need to see one example of that. Okay, there’s one- Alien VS Predator. Okay, that was in an era where people won’t so hyped up over such crossovers or anything resembling that sort, and people won’t so obsessed with building feverish buzz back then, when the internet wasn’t as widely used as today. Regardless, it still ranked second at the domestic box office as compared to any other film from the two franchises, which that by itself is worthy of an applaud.
3)Have an Element From China
Okay, say we are progressing to the point where domestic numbers no longer really matter. After all, most of a film’s grosses these days, especially those big-budget fares with tons of CGI or action or whatever makes it blockbuster worthy, comes from offshore territories, sometimes even making up 70% of a film’s final gross. That’s why we need to look at China, which happens to be rising really quickly. Seriously, its pacing to overtake USA as the world’s biggest film market by the end of the decade, the last time people predicted. The great thing is- as opposed to Americans, where we simply look at reviews first (most of the time, I hope), and quality ahead of quantity, Chinese, in comparison, aren’t going to be looking for the same things when making their choices- any imported film will be thrown in with dubbing, and that usually takes away any philosophical scope the film is seeking for, since they can’t understand English in the first place.
Here’s an example- Guardians of the Galaxy’s title was translated to “Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team”” in China. That isn’t even close, but based on that, I assume you can imagine the quality and precision of the subtitles and dubbing. Secondly, the Chinese have a government-censored internet, simply meaning Rotten Tomatoes might not be as accessible there as compared to the rest of the world. So no reviews, phew. Thirdly, due to the aforementioned reasons, the Chinese emphasize big-budget, explosion heavy films over any Hollywood drama, since that’s what they want there, considering the local film market hasn’t evolved to the point where local studios will throw you a ton of money for whatever film project you want to embark on.
Okay, now back to my point- as long as a part of your movie happens to take place in China, or one of the cast members happen to be a Chinese mega-celebrity, or say you get a marketing partner or a Chinese studio to finance your film, lets just say that your path is going to be a breeze. The Chinese will allow you to avoid the quota they place on the number of imported films each year, since its a China co-production, if you’re planning on a marketing partner from China. Of course, that also means widespread marketing throughout China, if you happen to get a marketing partner or a financing powerhouse from that country. And if you happen to film someplace in China, moviegoers will come and find you. Because who won’t check it out if you home country is heavily featured in the film? Or when your favorite mega-celebrity happens to give the film a seal of approval by gracing it with their presence? Okay, case in point- Transformers: Age of Extinction AKA the dumbest Transformers yet which no one in America likes except those seeking pure, dumb fun, became the highest grossing film there before Furious 7 beat that this year, with $320 million. That’s because of the film’s overly long climax taking place in Hong Kong and some parts of Mainland China, and Li Bingbing’s appearance as one of the film’s supporting characters. At least Michael Bay knows how to get China to catch your film when the US disses it, it seems.
4)NOT Have Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler is, proven thanks to Pixels, box office poison. He made an otherwise enjoyable film horrible. Despicable. Okay, perhaps people are finally coming to the realization that his movies are horrible, after the constant urging and warnings from movie critics the world over. One look at his Rotten Tomatoes page and you can kinda understand exactly what I’m talking about:
Yeah, it’s that horrible. For your information, I am Chris Farley is a documentary, so it doesn’t really count. Top Five, meanwhile, doesn’t really give him a noticeable part, so I’m not going to take into account that too. Apart from that duo, every other film Sandler has managed to crank out is dismissible. They aren’t even memorable, to begin with. You can kinda understand what I mean when I say people were really hoping that Pixels would be the worst film Adam Sandler has created ever. Like, just look at this article if you’re doubting me. People were actually ranting when someone gave it a positive review (AKA a seal of approval to Sandler’s nonsense). Whatever it is, Adam Sandler always lends whatever film he’s in bad karma, in the sense that you can actually predict the quality of the film prior to actually watching even one bit of marketing. I’m going to argue that it’s totally his fault here for Pixels’ failure, considering the director tasked with the film, Chris Columbus, has actually proven his directorial chops with his Harry Potter films. Adam Sandler gravitates towards horrible, super Sony comedy movies which no one else would bother accepting the role too, since he’s too shameless. Okay, I’m being too much of an asshole here, so I’ll stop at that. Whatever it is, you know what I mean, filmmakers. If you want people to be kept in suspense over a film’s quality, take away Adam Sandler and you get just that. Or don’t expect much people to turn up at the cineplex on day 1. I mean, if there’s Adam Sandler, that means people will more likely check reviews to reassure themselves more so than if any other celebrity is attached, right? (Okay, I’m ranting because Pixels, which really has a beautiful and appealing concept to work with, underperformed at the domestic box office, even though video game fans world over will suffer from the contagious virus “nostalgia”. You can read that story about its box office performance here, but after you read it, I hope you understand why.)
5)HAVE Dwayne Johnson
Okay, continuing on with the trend of including a guy’s name as my point and stating whether he’s a grip or a bane, I’m now coming to Dwayne Johnson. Or in other words, he’s the anti- Adam Sandler. Not that he produces only critically-acclaimed films, in which he doesn’t really hit that criteria. Actually, I’m starting to doubt the quality of his films, but at least critics don’t hate him as much. After all, his worst films happen to be Sandler’s most decent, in comparison. I mean, here’s his Rotten Tomatoes page:
Apart from the Fast and Furious films, his films have hardly hit Fresh. But no, if I keep up with this, I’ll simply be contradicting my point here, where we SHOULD have Johnson in your film. Here’s why- Johnson has this magical ability, where he’s able to revive whatever failed franchise he’s thrown with, or kick-start a franchise successfully just with his star power. San Andreas, for instance, managed $152.3 million domestically, over performing to a large degree, and you gotta admit that most of that is thanks to Johnson’s star power, or the film would just have an everyday Joe, and it wouldn’t be special. Maybe its just pure luck, but he gets stuck with whatever ailing franchise exists out there- eg. Fast and Furious, Journey, G.I. Joe- and he somewhat gives people a reason to return to the franchise again. He even launched Hercules successfully last year, earning $72.7 million, which far outgrossed the other Hercules film that year, The Legend of Hercules.
Whatever it is, have Dwayne Johnson. He’s going to give you whatever he’s got, and no one’s going to hate him as much as Sandler. Just saying.