Random Thoughts on the 2016 Summer Box Office…

*This is a little different from the sorts of posts I normally do, but this has been building up inside me all summer and I decided it was time to let it all out. Enjoy!

You’ve heard of the Summer of Love? Well, Summer 2016 should be dubbed the Summer of Disappointment. I can’t remember another year where so many would-be blockbusters fell somewhat or completely flat.

Let’s run down the list here (these are not in any particular order, just to make that clear):

  1. Independence Day: Resurgence

From the minute they announced that a sequel to Independence Day was FINALLY coming, I knew that this would either be the greatest thing ever or the world’s biggest stinker. And it turns out the latter was true. Part of this films’ undoing was the fact that in the last 20 years a lot of “Earth gets destroyed/Earth fights back” movies have been made and what was once revolutionary is now almost routine. It didn’t help that many plot details were either too convoluted or too over the top to be believable.

2. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

To be fair, it sounds like the recently released “Ultimate Edition” may have redeemed this film (at least partially), but there’s no denying that many were disappointed with the theatrical cut of this film. Pitting Batman vs Superman, two of the greatest superheroes ever created, against one another, it should have had the feel of this epic clash. Instead…well, that’s not quite what happened (though the introduction of Wonder Woman to the big screen remains awesome!).

3. X-Men Apocalypse

This movie looked so freaking awesome in the previews (but then again, they always do). Having recently discovered that Oscar Isaac is in some of my favorite movies (Ex Machina, The Force Awakens), I was excited that he would be playing Apocalypse, possibly one of the most powerful mutants to ever live. And then the reviews came in and disappointment reigned supreme. Apocalypse was flat, certain plot details were over-emphasized, it just wasn’t that good.

4. Warcraft

Making a movie based on a video game is always a risky business (considering it hasn’t really worked out well, except for the Tomb Raider films possibly), but when I saw the previews for Warcraft, I really thought the studios had something. It turns out that they’d just stuck the best parts into the trailer; the actual film itself was something of a convoluted mess. As the saying goes, great visuals alone do not a great film make. It’s a shame, because there’s such a lengthy history with World of Warcraft, that I would genuinely enjoy watching stories set in that environment. Well, given how Hollywood currently runs, we’ll probably see a reboot in the next 10 years (give or take).

5. Alice Through the Looking Glass

This one was just painful. I’d seen the first Alice in Wonderland back in 2010 and even watching the previews, I couldn’t feel a connection like I could with the first film. And it turns out there was a good reason for that: the movie wasn’t good, not even a little bit! Another franchise has likely bitten the dust.

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

When a film is an improvement over its predecessor and STILL receives mixed reviews, you have a serious problem on  your hands. Having watched the cartoon series as a child (not to mention the first TMNT movie), I had mixed feelings about these two films from the start.

7. Ice Age: Collision Course

The Ice Age franchise has finally jumped the shark. That’s all I can really say about this film. When you try to introduce UFOs and extraterrestrial stuff to a film set in the prehistoric past, it’s time to let it go/die.

8. The BFG

Ok, this one really hurt me. When a movie is being made by Steven Spielberg and the score is composed by John Williams, you would think there’d be a genuine hit arriving. Not so! While the film has it’s great moments, the overall film doesn’t quite capture the magic of the story (and I read The BFG a LOT growing up, it was one of my favorite stories). Of all the disappointments, this is the one film that I really wanted to do well.

9. Suicide Squad

I may be jumping the gun here, but given the super-massive hype for this film, it really sounds like it’s disappointing a lot of people right out of the gate. The trailers presented this film as super-edgy and a lot of fun, just the kind of film we needed after a long summer of disappointment after disappointment. But what do we get? More disappointment!!! The one bright spot here is that Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker is being well-received (I’ve also heard good things about Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn). Hopefully we’ll get to see more of Leto’s Joker in another film.

10. Ghostbusters

And finally, we have this little film. In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I’m not the biggest fan of the original Ghostbusters film (only because the scary parts freak me out though. Like the part where Dana is kidnapped by a monster bursting out of her chair *shudders*). I was initially against the idea of remaking the film at all, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided to give the idea a chance. After all, it would be different to see all female Ghostbusters (and Chris Hemsworth as a secretary looked really funny). To be honest, I’m still not sure if this film did good or not. On the one hand I hear: this film is awesome! And on the other I hear: run far away, they try really hard but it’s just not worth it.

There’s more than this, but I figure ten examples is more than enough. The point is, hardly any of these films made a big splash at the box office (not in a good way, at any rate). And there’s another thing, all but one of the films on this list are a sequel or meant to launch a franchise of sequels (BFG appears to be the exception). I really believe that sequel fatigue is setting in with audiences, and what’s worse, superhero fatigue might be setting in as well. Given how many superhero films are meant to launch in the next five years, if THAT is true, then Hollywood as we know it is royally screwed.

Do you agree? Disagree? Any I should’ve included in this list? Or maybe excluded? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it. Just thought I’d give a quick update on High-Rise: the DVD copy I ordered online should be arriving today so I’ll watch it this weekend and a review should be up on Monday 🙂

For more “Quick and Random Thoughts” see here

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