‘She Said’ Bombs: Why Awards Season Movies Are Flopping?

‘She Said’ Bombs: Why Awards Season Movies Are Flopping?

Quentin Tarantino has been blunt about the state of the movie business. on A recent episode On the “Video Archives Podcast,” the director, who helped usher in the golden age of indie film with “Pulp Fiction,” declared it “the worst era in Hollywood history,” matched only by other nadirs like the 1950s and ’80s. .

“The good thing about being in a bad era of Hollywood cinema is (the pictures) that don’t fit [are] That stand out from the pack,” he added.

And that could be it. The problem is that this crop of nonconformists may no longer have a commercial reason to exist, at least as a theatrical proposition.

accept”she said,” a strongly made look A pair of crusading New York Times reporters who helped expose Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual harassment and assault. The film earned strong reviews and awards buzz, but the Universal Pictures release bombed last weekend, opening to $2.2 million from 2,022 theaters. This is one of the worst results for a major studio release in history.

Part of the problem, observers say, is that the movie’s sharp look at the abuse of power may not be what audiences expected to see at a time when the headlines are — let’s be honest — pretty dark. From Ukraine to the economy, there’s a lot to be upset about.

“It’s a tough sell,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice Pro. “People are looking for escapism now. Even mature audiences are looking for something that takes them away from reality.”

“She said” has plenty of company when it comes to well-reviewed movies collapsing in a flurry of audience indifference. One by one, this year’s crop of Oscar contenders flopped or, at best, underperformed. There’s “Tár,” a drama about sexual harassment in the world of classical music that grossed $4.9 million in seven weeks of release; “Armageddon Time,” a coming-of-age film that earned $1.8 million in just one month in theaters; And “Triangle of Sorrows,” a satirical look at the one percenters that has crawled to a $3.8 million gross since opening in mid-October. “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “Till” fared slightly better, earning $7.1 million and $8.5 million, respectively, but their results weren’t exactly lighting up the box office; Both of them will likely struggle to turn a profit in their theatrical runs.

“Across the board, it’s a scary time for prestige movies,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst at exhibitor relations. “We may be witnessing a sea change in cinema. Ultimately, the audience decides what gets made and right now the audience is not choosing to watch these films in theatres.”

Personally, studio executives point out many of the culprits. They say this year’s awards films are too artistic, too disappointing, lacking the A-list talent to convince crowds to show up. And they note that there are success stories early in the year — notably “Elvis,” which was aimed at adults and grossed an impressive $286 million worldwide, and “Everything Everything All at Once,” a multiverse head trip that racked up $103 artistically bold. Millions worldwide while being considered. But these films don’t have to compete with other prestige fare, which could further erode an already shrinking audience base, which may be wary of hitting cinemas during COVID.

“A lot of movies chase audiences that can be a little irrational about returning to theaters,” said Paul Dargarbedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “It might be a little too much of a good thing.”

It’s not all gloom and doom. “,” a horror comedy set in the culinary world, debuted to a solid $9 million this weekend. But it benefited from being associated with a genre that was doing well at the box office (just look at recent horror hits like “Smile” and “Barbarian”), and had an audience that was younger. The majority of ticket buyers for “The Menu” were under the age of 35, while the majority of viewers for “She Said” were over the age of 45.

There are several other films about braving this harsh environment for prestige fare. Those hoping to defy the odds include “Bones and All,” a cannibal romance with Timothée Chalamet that opened in limited release; “Fabelmans,” a semi-autobiographical exploration of Steven Spielberg’s childhood; and “Babylon,” a sprawling examination of Hollywood’s silent era that boasts turns by Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. “The Fablemans,” for example, Only the warmth of the heart can prove enough It has become a must-see for families during the holiday season, but even that movie, from one of the entertainment industry’s most successful filmmakers, has had its fair share of headaches. For “Bones and All,” the crowd pull may be too unpleasant, while “Babylon” may suffer. split response It received in early screening.

Movie studios have always been risk averse, but their appetite for taking big swings has waned in recent years. First, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have entered the game, providing homes for passion projects from the likes of Martin Scorsese and Alfonso Cuaron and conditioning consumers to watch these movies in their homes. Then, a wave of corporate consolidation, some of which was triggered by traditional media players’ urgent need to bulk up for the streaming wars, reduced the number of independent studios producing theatrical releases. It also left them Corporate dad with lots of debt, making them more hesitant to greenlight the next historical drama or mystery bildungsroman at a time when they need to clean up their balance sheets. All this coincides with an epidemic Cinema closed for almost a year And yet refuses to die, along with record inflation and an open recession that has left people making tough choices about what to do with their dwindling discretionary resources.

So if movies like “Se Bale” do not perform well at the box office, the entire sector of the theatrical movie business may suffer. Something needs to change fast.

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