7/10/2015 - 7/12/2015
|Movie Title||Index Value|
|Magic Mike XXL||62.67|
|Baahubali: The Beginning||94.00|
|Misix Movie Quality Index Value||59.97|
This past weekend, two things happened at the box office that diverged wildly in the “saw that coming” department:
- Self/less (40.33 index value) made very little money —$5.4 million, adding to Ryan Reynolds’ tank battalion that at this point is big enough to crush Rommel.
- Minions (59.67) made so very much money — $115.2 million, the second biggest opening weekend of any animated movie in cinematic history.
Of course Self/less bombed. Generic trailer. Crummy reviews. A plot better suited for USA Network. Reynolds seems like a good dude, but he just plain hasn’t shown the ability to carry a movie. That could change if the reception to the Deadpool trailer at Comic-Con is any indication, but we’ll see in February.
Minions’ success was less surprising in that everyone figured it would do pretty well because of what it had going for it — offshoot of a high-performing franchise (Despicable Me), adorable characters, family friendly. The tugboat of cash it wound up with was a little shocking, however, considering its opening weekend bested a variety of animated predecessors:
- Instant classics — Toy Story 3 ($110.3 million), Inside Out ($90.4 million), The Simpsons Movie ($74 million), The Incredibles ($70.5 million), Finding Nemo ($70.3 million).
- Instant pretty-goods — Shrek 2 ($108.0 million), Despicable Me 2 ($83.5 million), Monsters University ($82.4 million).
- Movies that, uh, were in theaters — Shrek Forever After ($70.8 million), Seuss’ The Lorax ($70.2 million), Cars 2 ($66.1 million).
The gigantic haul makes a little more sense when you tally all the marketing tie-ins Minions knotted together over the last several weeks. It was on Amazon packages, McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes, Tic Tac containers, Twinkies, BANANAS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Essentially, if it was yellow and not currently suffering from jaundice, Universal’s marketing execs found some way to attach it to the movie.
One of the great things about marketing a movie aimed largely at small children is that they don’t get sick of anything ever — at least when it comes to entertainment. Ask any parent with little kids at home how many times they had to see Frozen and then duck before they punch you in the face for mentioning that movie within earshot of their offspring who will now want to watch it nonstop until it’s time to go see Minions again. That, in a nutshell, is why incessant marketing doesn’t work as well on adults. We get tired of things. Quickly. Commercials, songs, standing — stuff gets old pretty fast. But you can shove the same thing down a kid’s throat foie gras-style, and they’ll ask for more.
It’s a savvy marketing strategy, even if it doesn’t result in a nine-figure opening weekend. Why? Because you get the exposure without paying for it. According to Bloomberg, Universal’s tie-in efforts allowed each partner to use the Minions’ likenesses to promote their breath mint or banana or whatever. Those companies turned around and provided $593 million in advertisements and other promotional materials like packaging. So even if Universal spent absolutely nothing out of pocket, it still would’ve had a marketing campaign worth more than a half-billion dollars.
That’s almost impressive enough for us to overlook the fact that Minions — with its middling index value — almost single-handedly sunk the revenue-weighted movie quality index to its second lowest point in 11 weeks. It’s just not that good, which doesn’t really matter if you have kids. You’ll end up seeing it anyway.
The weekend ahead: From a quality perspective, grown-ups haven’t enjoyed too many viable options recently when it comes to big ol’ summer hype movies. Turmineightor Jennisess and Shirtless Channing Tatum & Co. weren’t all that great, forcing us to subsist on Jurassic World and Spy for the last several weeks. It appears we’ll finally get some relief this Friday, when Ant-Man and Trainwreck show up in theaters.
The latter — starring Amy Schumer and, to a lesser extent, LeBron James — is on track to be the better of the two, with an index value trending around the 80.0 mark. That’s the option more deserving of your dollars, although tiny Paul Rudd will probably be the bigger hit financially speaking thanks to the whole Marvel Universe thing.
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