There’s always room for another summer wrap-up, particularly for a summer as strange and apparently apocalyptic, box office-wise, as this one. Reverse Shot‘s (over at indieWIRE) also manages to be interesting and provoking. The assembled team takes pot shots at Paul Haggis‘ "Crash" (hee!), "The Best of Youth" (blasphemy! except, hell, we didn’t actually see it ourselves) and "Broken Flowers," and praises "Tropical Malady," "Sky High" and BAMcinematek’s Philippe Garrel series.
Over at the Hollywood Reporter, Martin A. Grove tries to paint a rosier picture of the summer of disaster, by looking at it from the perspective of the films that did well, and breaking down why they succeeded. "The problem this summer was that there was absolutely nothing in the $100 million to $150 million range," he points out â€” otherwise, comparing the top five moneymakers from this summer with last summer’s, there wasn’t much of a drop.
Anthony Kaufman at the Village Voice suggests that the reason the box office is down this year is because the biggest potential moneymakers haven’t come out yet â€” he cites "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "King Kong" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" as potential saviors of Hollywood. He also points out that the Weinstein Co. is going to have a slew of high-profile specialty releases once they’re surgically separated from Disney, but we’re not so sure about this point:
We’ve been keeping our eye on indieWIRE‘s box office column, and it’s been reliably down from 2004, though Kaufman claims last year doesn’t count, because "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "The Passion of the Christ" "threw 2004 out of whack." David Poland’s also devoted some ink to the subject.
Scott Bowles at USA Today paints a portrait of studio execs, stumped by the unpredictable nature of moviegoers this year, pretty much tearing their hair out and shrieking "What do you people want?", while the AP has a story that seems a direct testament to that desperation: a research company was commissioned to essentially ask the internet what was going wrong:
Brandimensions searched 1.9 million Internet blogs and chat rooms where
users were discussing the box office slump. Relevancy algorithms were
used in choosing 1,350 posts to dissect by using software coupled with
human data analysts. The result was a 16-page analysis.
The gist of that analysis? The movies just weren’t very good.
+ What Reverse Shot Learned During Summer Vacation: 13 Lessons (indieWIRE)
+ Not everything fizzled in bummer summer (HR)
+ Slump Fiction (Village Voice)
+ Hollywood frets over fickle fans (USA Today)
+ Poor films explains box office slump – survey (AP)