4/11/2014 - 4/13/2014
|Captain America: The Winter Soldier||79.65|
|God's Not Dead||30.27|
|The Grand Budapest Hotel||85.93|
|Muppets Most Wanted||69.98|
|Mr. Peabody & Sherman||68.90|
|Misix Movie Quality Index Value||64.13|
Generally speaking, everyone in the movie business is a liar.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has seen Entourage. But if you need more proof, just wait for a movie to underperform at the box office, and sit back as the excuses role in like a fourth-grader who forgot their book report. For example, during the last few months the go-to reason for why people avoided theaters was the frigid temperatures. Now that it’s April?
“Weather was extraordinary,” said Chris Aronson, distribution president at 20th Century Fox, while explaining why Rio 2 (57.07 index value) opened a bit softer than its predecessor. “And after a brutal winter, people flocked to outdoor activities.”
Clearly, Hollywood doesn’t like it when things are too cold or too warm. We’ll call it the Goldilocks defense. Another term decision-makers lean on during lean times is “traction.” This is their way of saying that a movie didn’t resonate with a particular audience like they expected. We’ll call this the Slip ’N Slide® defense, recent examples of which are easy to find:
- I, Frankenstein among sci-fi audiences (open: $8.6 million; gross: $19.1 million; budget: $65 million).
- The Legend of Hercules among action audiences (open: $8.9 million; gross: $18.9 million; budget: $70 million).
- Winter’s Tale among cat owners (open: $7.3 million; gross: $12.6 million; budget: $60 million).
Other excuses offered to save one’s job include:
- The Einstein defense (too smart for audiences, Her).
- The Sarcastic Einstein defense (too dumb for audiences, Pompeii).
- The Microwave defense (never should have remade it, Robocop).
- The Cobbler defense (never should have rebooted it, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit).
- The Choking Hazard defense (looks like it’s for kids but really isn’t, Saving Mr. Banks).
- The Table of Contents defense (could never be as good as the book, Need for Speed, which is loosely based on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights).
More often than not, the real reason why a movie underperforms is because it’s not very good. For example, this past weekend brought us Draft Day (60.58), which was made with the NFL’s blessing despite the plot being patently ridiculous to the point where you wouldn’t flinch if the Cleveland Browns made their mascot the general manager by the end of the movie (note: Browns fans are secretly afraid this will happen in real life). That’s why Draft Day scratched out a mere $9.8 million in its opening weekend, even though the NFL is the most popular sports league in the United States and the biggest money maker in the entire world.
Despite audiences wisely avoiding Kevin Costner’s latest romance-disguised-as-sports movie, the revenue-weighted MQI still dropped from 72.36 to 65.97 thanks to the parents who decided Rio 2’s 101 mediocre minutes of talking, squawking birds beat 101 minutes of talking, squawking kids in the house. Apparently, they didn’t hear how nice it was outside.