Stars, Action and Money Don’t Win at the Box Office


By Alexandra Harmening, Contributing Writer

Last weekend, Harrison Ford and Liam Hemsworth got in line behind Matt Damon, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, and other mega stars whose big budget flicks have failed at the box office this year. 

It has been a somewhat disappointing summer for theaters. High expectations and even higher budgets, with 20 movies boasting budgets over $100 million in just one summer, have not attracted an audience. Businessweek said that Hollywood’s strategy was imploding as it faced the innovator’s dilemma—simply improving a popular product rather than branching out in new directions. This lines up with Steven Spielberg’s prophecy that Hollywood’s heavy reliance on action, violence and special effects would eventually send these movies “crashing to the ground.” 

Many also conjecture that the popularity of streaming sights such as Netflix and Hulu have broadened the moviegoers tastes by providing increased access to different movie genres and lower budget indie projects. 

Still others suspect that there is another factor at work in the failure of anticipated movies starring Hollywood veterans and backed by major money. They are being termed “Left-wing Flops.” This is because politically correct messages don’t always make for gripping storylines. 

Tyler Perry, who usually attracts a church going audience, departed form his usual themes including a lesbian couple in TYLER PERRY PRESENTS PEEPLES. Matt Damon’s new thriller ELYSIUM is yet another movie dealing in a politically correct manner with the purported problem of income inequality. 

The New York Post commented on the prevalence of liberal themes claiming that “they pretty much lack any hint of political argument.” The lack of backbone and thought-provoking message in summer flicks has driven away audiences who apparently want more than gunfights and CGI when they purchase tickets. 

It was a bleak summer for the movie studios.  By this time next summer, it will be apparent as to whether they have learned from the mistakes of this year or whether more red ink will fill their balance sheets. 

This Summer’s Box Office Belly Flops

Movie

Star

Budget

Gross

ELYSIUM

Matt Damon

$115 million

$56 million

AFTER EARTH

Will Smith

$130 million

$36.5 million

PARANOIA

Harrison Ford and Liam Hemsworth

$35 million

$3.5 million

TYLER PERRY’S PEEPLES

Tyler Perry

$15 million

$4.6 million

THE LOSERS R.I.P.D.

Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges

$130 million

$32,423,565

GANGSTER SQUAD

Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn

$60 million

$105,200,903

OBLIVION

Tom Cruise

$120 million

$37 million

WHITE HOUSE DOWN

Channing Tatum and Jamie Fox

$150 million

$131,147,010

THE LONE RANGER

Johnny Depp

$215 million

$87,707,876

 

 

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