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Forbes article looking at the positives

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Forbes article looking at the positives

Post by party animal - not! on Fri 03 Jul 2015, 20:21

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The Silver Lining Of Disney's 'Tomorrowland' Failure

This isn’t intended to pick on Walt Disney and those behind Tomorrowland yet again. They took a swing, they missed, it happens, and  I’m happy they let Brad Bird step up to the plate. But the film is a pretty big box office whiff, earning just over $200 million worldwide thus far on a $190m budget. And since the film has officially moved from my local first run theaters into my local second run theaters, I think we can state that the film’s domestic performance is pretty much at an end. The film opened with $41m over the Memorial Day weekend and crossed the $90m mark yesterday. Unless Disney offers a double sneak preview coupled with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I don’t think it’s hitting $100m, for what that arbitrary goal might be worth for a flop this big. But again, this is me taking a moment to acknowledge of good news about the unfortunate performance of Tomorrowland. I am speaking to the fact of who got the blame.
To wit, the majority of the blame for the film’s artistic deficiencies went to writer/director Brad Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof. They got most of the blame for the film’s box office performance as well, with a dash of blame tossed to co-star George Clooney even as Clooney is only worth around $13-$20m as a lead by himself. Along with obvious jabs as Disney marketing, the somewhat false theme of audiences rejecting original films got a kick too, although I spent a whole essay debunking that one. But here’s the refreshing thing: Despite the fact that the film revolves around two female leads, I didn’t see a single person, be they pundit or otherwise, blaming the gender of its primary protagonist and its primary action figure for the film’s disappointing performance.

It’s refreshing enough that we have a summer with a relative bounty of female-centric or female-driven multiplex options for once. But it’s doubly refreshing that we are now at the point where Hollywood makes enough female-centric films that one, even a really expensive and high profile one, can absolutely belly flop without anyone presuming that the gender of its leads are to blame. And yes, if it needs to be said, Disney sold the film as much as a George Clooney vehicle as a Britt Robertson one. The main poster highlighted George Clooney and Thomas Robinson as the old and young versions of Frank Walker, which made sense thematically but set off alarm bells about Disney’s history (cough-Tangled-cough) with selling female-centric stories as if they were male-centric journeys. No matter, the trailers and TV spots mostly highlighted the film’s gender balance, while both Britt Robertson and co-star Raffey Cassidy got character posters, character-specific commercials, and biographical featurettes of their own.

Walt Disney played fair in terms of selling the film they had actually produced, ironically to the point of basically giving away the whole movie but still claiming to have secrets in its hat. But in the end the film didn’t click, because Disney couldn’t successfully sell an original property that didn’t look all that appealing, especially when reviews confirmed the worst and confirmed that the film didn’t have any more tricks in its sleeve and wasn’t that kid-friendly. But while the pundit class (and Hollywood itself) has had a nasty habit over the last decade or so of holding up the periodic box office failures of female-centric pictures as proof that having a female lead is detrimental to the overall box office, that didn’t happen this time. And it’s actually been awhile since that happened.
The last instance I can remember is Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in 2009, which was wrongly tagged as a failure ($267 million worldwide on a $104m budget) and then additionally scorned as proof that explicitly female-centric animated films with female-centric titles were box office poison. But there has been an upswing, too slow and too small for sure, of female-centric hits in a variety of genres over the last six years. From Twilight to Hunger Games to Lucy to Frozen to Pitch Perfect to Bridesmaids, Hollywood now has more than enough examples of female-centric genre films that have done smashingly well that we may no longer be in the position where each high-profile female-centric film is held up as the next great test as to whether or not moviegoers will flock to female-centric films.
No one looked at the failure of Jupiter Ascending and cried that girl-powered sci-fi can’t sell. No one looked at the abysmal performance of Vampire Academy and said that The Hunger Games must have been a fluke. And no one looked at Tomorrowland, which is presumably the most expensive female-centric movie ever made, and laid the blame for its underperformance at the feet of the gender of its leads. No one cried that Tomorrowland would have made more money if it was a “three boys and one cute girl for them to fight over and/or rescue” affair. The relative failure of Tomorrowland is a tragedy, both because of the talent involved and because of the signal it will send about big budget original genre fare. But there is one bit of great news that came out of its sad fate. No one stepped up blame its actresses for its performance, nor did anyone blame the notion that it starred actresses instead of actresses. That counts for a lot, and it counts as a sign that things are slowly changing in terms of how female actors, and female moviegoers, are viewed in the industry overall


Last edited by Nicky80 on Fri 03 Jul 2015, 23:06; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added text)

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Re: Forbes article looking at the positives

Post by Nicky80 on Fri 03 Jul 2015, 23:15

He mentioned a lot the word "female-centric". Does he think because this movie was female-centric that's why it didn't do well?
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Re: Forbes article looking at the positives

Post by party animal - not! on Fri 03 Jul 2015, 23:35

No, I don't think so. Quite the opposite if you look at the final couple of sentences. In his view nobody's saying that films are failing because they have female leads and that that in itself is a positive. Err, I think!

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Re: Forbes article looking at the positives

Post by LizzyNY on Sat 04 Jul 2015, 00:03

I think you're right, PAN. He's pleased that the "failure" of the movie is being blamed on the writer, director and studio and not on the fact that the main characters were female. (How can something make $200 million and still be considered a failure? I understand it, but it boggles the mind!)
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Re: Forbes article looking at the positives

Post by party animal - not! on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 19:23

In Japan I think

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Re: Forbes article looking at the positives

Post by Nicky80 on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 20:31

Pan this was already posted here

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