This summer’s big-budget flops represent a day of reckoning that had to come before any possibility of the studios reinventing themselves.
— Joe Morgenstern (@JoeMorgenstern) July 25, 2013
I certainly hope so, though Morgenstern’s WSJ colleague reports that despite some massive failures, 2013 overall box office is ahead of last year’s. But man, have the failures been huge. Think about all the wonderful little movies Disney could have made with the $170 million it lost on The Lone Ranger, a movie that any idiot could have told you would have been a flop. Who the hell cares about that character? How many potential My Big Fat Greek Weddings could have been made with that cash? Nia Vardalos’s charming little movie cost $5 million to make. Know how much it’s pulled in over the past 11 years? Almost $370 million.
I watched the second episode of the first season of House Of Cards tonight, on my iPad as I worked out. It’s very dark, and I’m not all that into it, frankly, but I can’t think of the last movie I saw in the theater that gave me as much to relish. Had I seen Argo on the big screen, that certainly would have qualified. I enjoyed the hell out of that movie, but I’ve been burned so many times by the cost and bother of going to a theater to see what turned out to be a big piece of nothing that I wasn’t willing to take the chance. I caught it on an iTunes download. Can’t say I regret waiting to see it in that format, but I do hate that I’ve gotten out of the habit of seeing movies on the big screen. On the other hand, all of us in my family had a terrific time watching an HD version of An American In Paris together, via an iTunes download to our Apple TV. For us, it was an event, and it only cost four dollars.
Still, I would like to be able to take my wife out for a date to a real movie and a real dinner, and make it worth paying the babysitter. I know we’ve been over this a couple of times recently on this blog, but I still can’t stop wondering why it’s so hard to make movies for the big screen that make people over the age of 22 say, “You’ve got to go see this!”