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Movies that were supposed to launch franchises (but didn’t): Tomorrowland

tomorrowland

Tomorrowland featured an A-list director coming off a massive box office hit, one of the biggest movie stars in the world and a tie-in to a high-concept sci-fi premise that is recognizable to people all over the world.  And yet, it joined John Carter and The Lone Ranger as high-profile box office disasters.  What went wrong?

A big part of the problem is, no one knew what the heck Tomorrowland was supposed to be about.  The marketing was a confusing mishmash of futuristic skylines and cornfields.  Something about a magic pin and George Clooney in serious Clooney mode.

What’s the conflict here?  Something about “fixing the future”.  What does that even mean?  And why does Britt Robertson keep popping in and out of a cornfield?  Are cornfields futuristic?  What does any of this have to do with Tomorrowland?  I’ve been to Tomorrowland and there are no cornfields.

Adding to the problem, Tomorrowland received mixed reviews.  Critics complained that it was preachy and unfocused.  The reviews claimed it was too self-important for a family film and would likely bore children – presumably the intended audience.

Director Brad Bird is known for mixing in ideas that some feel border on Randian Objectivism.  The Incredibles and Ratatouille were entertaining enough that most audiences were able to get past any discomfort Bird’s thesis may have caused.  But in a weaker movie like Tomorrowland, the philosophizing threatened to weigh down what was supposed to be a light-hearted romp.

As a theme park fan, I would suggest that making a movie based on Tomorrowland is a daunting proposition.  There are multiple Tomorrowlands at various Disney theme parks and none of them are especially unified in theme.  The most recognizable attraction in Tomorrowland is the wild mouse roller coaster, Space Mountain.  But Bird’s movie seems to be more inspired by the Carousel of Progress – an attraction that is skipped by all but the most serious Disneyphiles.

Tomorrowland - Clooney

When Tomorrowland flopped, there was a lot of discussion about George Clooney’s fading star power and the notion that movie stars weren’t nearly as important as they used to be.  All of that is true.  It probably didn’t help that Clooney wasn’t really the lead in Tomorrowland despite his star billing.  Even if audiences were inclined to go see a George Clooney movie, Tomorrowland wasn’t one.

The main lesson Hollywood took away from the failure of Tomorrowland was that launching franchises was a riskier proposition than perpetuating them.  Brad Bird set out to tell an original story with his movie – or at least as original as a movie can be when it is based on a theme park.  But instead, Tomorrowland became a cautionary tale against doing just that.

The other lesson of the day – and one that was long overdue – is that mid-budget movies have their place in a studio’s line-up.  While the expensive Tomorrowland was under-performing at the box office, less expensive movies like Spy and Pitch Perfect 2 were making a tidy profit.  Several studios took notice.

Ironically, the big loser in all of this was Tron.  Tron Legacy performed below Disney’s expectations, but there had been talk of a sequel.  After several years of waffling over whether or not to continue the series, Disney gave Tron 3 a green-light.  Then after Tomorrowland flopped, Disney quietly pulled the plug on the third Tron movie.  Disney assumed the failure of Tomorrowland meant that audiences were no longer interested in science fiction.

To be fair, I should note that while Disney almost certainly intended to launch a Tomorrowland franchise, Brad Bird was pretty clear that he viewed Tomorrowland as a stand-alone movie.  This might help explain why Disney put so little effort into selling it to audiences.  Unlike failures like John Carter and The Lone Ranger, Disney shrugged off the failure of Tomorrowland.  Thanks to the acquisitions of Marvel and Pixar, they know they have their franchises covered for now.

More Movies that were supposed to…

 

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Posted on September 7, 2015, in Movies, movies that were supposed to... and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 64 Comments.

  1. I saw Tomorrowland opening weekend and was pretty disappointed. Speaking as one who loves Brad Bird’s work, the fact that most of it has evaporated from my mind a little over 3 months later should tell you how underwhelming it is. Even at the time, as I enjoyed certain aspects of it, I felt that its primary flaw was its desperate desire to be everything to everyone.

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    • I keep coming back to this: Tomorrowland is a really vague concept. Even as lands in a theme park go, Tomorrowland is very loosely defined. There are several Disney “castle” parks and each of them has a Tomorrowland, but each one is different. I believe all of them have a Space Mountain but I could be wrong about the foreign parks. Again, each one is different. So it’s really hard to come up with a cohesive storyline around something as ill-defined as Tomorrowland. I don’t know what Tomorrowland is, but I know it has nothing whatsoever to do with cornfields – which was an image that was all over the movie’s marketing. Tomorrowland should have been a rip-roaring space adventure. Something that you could build a theme park ride around. It should be about Brad Bird’s philosophy on exceptionalism.

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      • The main image I get in my mind when I think of the theme park Tomorrowland is the future of the 1950s. However, that doesn’t necessarily match everything in there, and it may be too abstract of a concept for a lot of people, especially for a younger audience that is 2+ generations removed from that era.

        I haven’t seen the movie so I don’t really know if they tried for that aesthetic or not. I was initially interested when I very first heard about this movie but like most people I had no idea what the movie was about from the trailers and the not so great reviews sealed the deal.

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        • Based on Disneyland, I would say retro-futuristic would be the proper aesthetic. In Disney World, Tomorrowland received a make-over with input from George Lucas which was much more modern for the time and included the scary Alien Encounter attraction. But when kids screamed and parents complained, that version of Tomorrowland was gutted. Now Tomorrowland in WDW can be mistaken for an extension of Fantasyland with attractions starring Buzz Lightyear, Stitch and Monsters Inc. In Paris, Tomorrowland has a Jules Verne inspired theme. So depending on which Tomorrowland you are aiming for, you can get very different interpretations.

          I think your reaction is typical. Any initial interest was killed by bad marketing, lackluster reviews and a competitive summer market.

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        • Disneyland in CA actually tried to re-create the Jules Verne approach of the Paris park in part by painting the outside of Space Mountain bronze and replacing the Peoplemover with a faster ride. This was a major flop with the park’s fans. They repainted Space Mountain white, but the old Peoplemover/Rocket Rods tracks are still just sitting there unused. It was the one thing I saw in Disneyland that really looked like bad show to me.

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        • I have heard Disneyland fans complain about that. It seems to me like Tomorrowland has always been one of the most problematic lands in the castle parks. Which is understandable given that the theme is supposed to be futuristic and what is seen as futuristic is always changing. I know that you were hoping that this movie would be successful and that success would result in a fresh approach to the theme park version of Tomorrowland. It could use it, but I’d have to put it fairly low on my list of Disney World priorities. Epcot aside, they are actually doing a pretty good job of addressing a lot of the problems at the two most troubled parks.

          Getting back to the movie, the fuzzy theme of Tomorrowland could be a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, they had carte blanche to define something really cool. On the other, there wasn’t a lot to draw upon for inspiration. There was an opportunity there to do something great that could have launched a successful film franchise and possibly a reimagining of the theme parks. But obviously that opportunity was missed.

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  2. Its funny although clooney has enough hits to warrant his a list status his box office status is not as consistent as the media makes it to be. Hes made to be this huge star but truth to be told his box office is kind of hit and miss. For a flop like leatherheads he balances it out with hit like up in the air. I notice alot of his movies do better world wide too. Not that his career is bad he had great career. I am not arguing his a list title he defintlity is a list. But before i looked at his box office states i thought he almost as consistent as cruise but he is not really. still good career.

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    • A lot of people questioned Clooney’s box office status after Tomorrowland flopped. His hey days were a long time ago.

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      • The prime thing about Clooney is that he’s the sort of leading man who’s essentially a character actor so he’ll likely have no problem doing ensemble or supporting parts once his leading man days end. He’s also proven himself as a writer/director so it wouldn’t shock me if he follows the Eastwood/Redford route either.

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  3. Iam sure people question his status before then too. I dont care for clooney as actor but i can admit his heyday is right now.For every flop he will have to balance it out. I am sure you can admit clooney still is a list just dosent have the box office clout for a star his calabar that is well reconzied . A good german flopped next year he boucned back with michael clayton.His box office off status was always like that. I sometimes think with good pr a star can seem bigger then they are. take aniston for example people know about her but i dont think her name ever ocntrtibuted to a hit . She was played love interest to bigger starslike sandler butler and carrey . Horriable bosses ensemble hit. ANsiton is doing great appearing hits but not the big star made out to be. I know i mentioned this before lol you are sick of hearing it but i know kilmer was huge in 90s however aside from batman forever none of his leads where hits. I use to think he had alot of leading hits before i saw your blog.I think had good pr to hype him up. I dont hollywood game that well but i always being lead in alot of hits generates actor name to have alot of hype .

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  4. every actor has a flop leabu u act like hes over after 1 flop

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    • Who are you referring to?

      Yes, every actor can survive a flop. It’s very rare for a single movie to take down an established movie star. I’m not sure who you think I am saying is “over”.

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  5. clooney u said his heydays are over . he is still a list hes neverbeen consistant anyway

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    • Clooney’s hey days were the late 90s and early aughts when he was starring in big hits like Perfect Storm and Ocean’s Eleven. I’d throw in the 1999 film Three Kings as well. After a few good years, he got spotty. His career has a lot of life in it. But he hasn’t been a box office draw in a long time. Leading man, yes. Box office draw, not so much.

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  6. he was never that huge of a draw. Three kings wsnt a hit in its original release . It bombed became a cult favorite. He wasnt not bankable in late 90s batman and robin out of sight also bombed. He has always been spotty but still has alot of leading hits. Descdneates up in the air burn after reading intoalrday cruitely michael clayton all made tons of money. Monuments men bomebd usa but did pretty good worldwide. He is currently in his heyday

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  7. I dont remember him being that big then . He is much bigger now .Hes alot less spotty now then then. Are you telling he is not currently a list.

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    • Depends what you mean by A-list. By most definitions, yeah, he’s still A-list. But is he a box office draw? That really used to be a requirement for being considered A-list. But today, almost no one is a box office draw any more. Which is part of the discussion around Tomorrowland. Opening a movie around star power doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Casting Clooney does almost nothing for your opening weekend. It’s more about brand recognition than star power.

      Clooney’s kind of A-list by default. There aren’t a lot of leading men who are bigger stars. But when it comes to selling tickets, he doesn’t really deliver. So, is that A-list? That’s the question that’s up for debate.

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  8. I am looking his 90s resume. One fine day batman and robin ,out of sight and three kings none of them where hits . A perfect storm was his first actual successful movie that broke away from the er mode. He did have a few after that. I tend to think he was taken more seriously as actor after Syriana. His box office became bigger after that too. H even appeared in box office hit gravity. Yes bullock gets more credit for that but still he is not struggling. Descebdant up in the air made money.

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  9. In terms of box office he is not tom cruise however he has had a lot of leading hit in huge box office hits over the years that has earned him the title. His record has always been spotty. Tommrowland was one flop . That movie flopping dosent mean his box office draw is bad. In fact i hate throw vals name in the mix but clooneybox office with leading roles is still higher then vals was in his so called heyday the 90s. Burn after reading made ton of money It mainly capitalized on clooney name . The cohen brothers movie rarely bringing alot of money in box office . I can tell without clooney it wouldn’t be a hit.

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  10. Yes clooney has his fair share of flops. But its not like hes box office poison.

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    • But that’s not really the question. I’m not box office poison. At least not that I know of. Is he a box office draw? Once upon a time, if you put him in a big movie like Tomorrowland, you could count on a big opening. And to be fair, Tomorrowland opened at #1. But it was a soft opening.

      Bear in mind, this isn’t specifically about Clooney. The bigger question is whether or not having ANY star in your movie matters anymore. Is anyone a box office draw?

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      • I would say that George Clooney is a box office draw under the right circumstances. When Clooney sticks to his wheelhouse of making adult, intelligent dramas like Up In The Air, The Descendants, The Ides of March, Michael Clayton or Good Night & Good Luck then he typically does well at the box office. Tomorrowland, by nature of attempting to be a popcorn blockbuster, was outside of his wheelhouse in a way; kids and teens have little to no interest in Clooney, so he isn’t much of a draw there, except to maybe the parents dragging their kids along to this one.

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        • Up in the Air and The Descendants were hits, but modest ones. The other movies weren’t flops, but they weren’t hits either. Given Clooney’s star status, most of his recent movies outside of Up in the Air and The Descendants were disappointments.

          Here’s something else to consider. If you can’t open a popcorn movie, you’re not A-list. If all Clooney can do is occasionally star in adult dramas Hollywood doesn’t have a lot of interest in making, he’s in trouble as a movie star.

          I’m sure Clooney’s going to continue working for as long as he wants to. His future is bright. But in order to maintain his movie star status, he’s going to have to sell some tickets to some movies.

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  11. Pitt is still draw. hanks too cruise will smith tons. I would say for most part clooney still is a draw just as constant as one would think . Personally i dont watch films for actors i watch for plot. There tons of actors i like but i dont watch movie for them.

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    • Not long ago, there were questions about Pitts’ A-list status. Pre World War Z, a lot of people had written him off. Last summer, Edge of Tomorrow raised questions about Cruise. Hanks had a long run of flops before having a minor hit with Captain Phillips. You can’t really credit him with Saving Mr. Banks.

      It used to be that the two Toms; Hanks and Cruise, could practically guarantee a $100 million dollar picture. But those days are passed. I don’t think anyone can do that anymore.

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    • You are pretty much supporting LeBeau’s argument. You say you go for the plot, not actors. He is saying people don’t go to a movie anymore just because a big star is in it, which happened all the time in the past. A big star can increase the appeal of a movie, but if the movie doesn’t look good people won’t go.

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      • That’s it exactly. Back in the 80’s, you could count on movie stars to open any movie. It didn’t have to be based on a familiar property. An A lister was an A lister because they could deliver a good opening weekend for just about any movie.

        Today, it’s all about the property. Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt can all headline super hero movies and they will be huge whether the actors are A list or not. Star Wars 7 has not a single A lister in the cast and it is the most anticipated movie of the year.

        I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that modern special effects make anything possible. In the 80’s you couldn’t do a believable Spider-Man. So you had to settle for Tom Cruise playing Maverick in every movie.

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  12. To think, Brad Bird turned down Star Wars: The Force Awakens to make Tomorrowland.

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    • I’m not sure that was a mistake. Bird got to make the movie he wanted to make even if it didn’t work out. He would not have been calling the shots on SW7. Sure, it’s a big opportunity. It’s also a massive opportunity to be the guy who screwed up Star Wars. If it’s a hit, that’s expected because it’s Star Wars. If it disappoints in any way shape or form, Abrams takes the blame.

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      • I think I agree with you. Even if Bird passed up the chance to direct a sure-fire blockbuster like Star Wars 7, he got to follow his heart and make his passion project. In this day and age when big-budget blockbusters are all that matter anymore to studios very few filmmakers get to do that anymore. Just a shame that his personal passion project flopped at the box office so hard…

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        • Agreed. It’s a shame for him for sure. MI:GP opened a lot of doors for him. He could have done anything. Tomorrowland closed some of those doors. It’s a shame for Disney who could have used a franchise they didn’t buy from someone else. And it’s definitely a shame for audiences because studios are less likely to take chances on new concepts.

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        • Good point Lebeau. Brad Bird had fantastic success before MI4 – Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille all showed he had tremendous talent and the Pixar films were big commercial hits – but as they were all animation I’m sure the studios boxed him in as “that animation guy”. Getting the opportunity to direct Mission Impossible 4 and it becoming a well received blockbuster went a long way to opening up a lot of doors for him in Hollywood. Bird was now a top-tier director, and the fact that Bird was the first director approached to direct a triple-A title like Star Wars 7 confirms that. Heck, getting to direct his big-budget passion project, and it getting a summer tentpole release date proves that! Bird is confirmed for Incredibles 2 (which I’m greatly anticipating) so his career is far from over, but as you say it may have temporarily closed a few of those doors for him, at least towards live action films.

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        • They boys at Pixar (yes, it was only the boys) were really struggling to get out of animation and into directing live action movies. Two of them so far have achieved this goal; Bird and Andrew Stanton. Bird had the foresight to go to Paramount where his talents would be appreciated. Stanton directed John Carter at Disney and had his movie sabotaged from within because Disney didn’t want the Pixar boys getting into live action.

          Tomorrowland is a set-back for Bird. But he’ll have other opportunities. I know he had a dream project about a San Francisco earthquake. The project was titled 1906. I’d love to see him get to do that. But odds are, that’s one of the doors that is closed for now. He’ll probably need to find a franchise in need of a director like he did for Mission Impossible.

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  13. first of all desadnets and up air made over 100 mill on tiny budget thats more then modest second captialn phillips and saving mr banks where more then modest hits several website desribs them as huge hits .Edge of tommrow did amazing worldwide. even cruises films that bomb usa make up for it world that says alot about his bankablity. pitt was box office not trouble before world war z moneyball made lots of money. Why can you credit hanks with saving mr banks . it relied on his star power

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    • You’re using international numbers again. We’ve talked about that.

      Hanks doesn’t get credit for Saving Mr. Banks. He had a supporting role.

      Edge of Tomorrow was a box office disappointment. It barely grossed $100 million in the US. It’s budget was nearly twice that. Even with the international numbers, it may not have broken even. Marketing costs on that movie had to be huge.

      Go back and look. After Killing Them Softly, a lot of people were saying Brad Pitt was off the A-list. Moneyball only made $75 mill on a $50 million dollar budget. That’s not great.

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  14. burn after reading michael clayton makes alot of money. i think actor turing human dramas movies that arent expected to make lots of moeny and do it proves they worth

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  15. wikipedia and alot of websites called captian phillips a hit same with moneyball. Lastly jack reacher bombed in usa but did amazing worldwide which why is warrent a sequel . In that jack reacher case they must seen some profit worldwide then they wouldnt habve a sequel

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  16. But other website call captian phillips and moneyball box office hits. Here website saying hanks box office back with phillips. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/tom-hanks-gets-box-office-groove-back-with-captain-phillips/ar-AAyv55 . Here is a link to about world war z and in that article they reference moneyball being critical and commerical hit. e had the lead role in Moneyball, a critical and commercial success that garnered. http://www.ew.com/article/2013/06/24/brad-pitt-box-office-analysis. Lastly back to jakc reacher if studios didnt see any money in world wide why is it gettign sequel

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    • I’m not sure why you keep bringing up Jack Reacher. At no point did I say that studios don’t see any of the international grosses. It’s not that international grosses don’t matter. They do. But it’s hard to determine how much of that money actually makes its way back to the studio. So you can’t just assume that because a movie did well overseas that it made up for disappointing domestic performance. In the case of Jack Reacher, it was obviously enough to convince the studio to roll the dice. I would guess the movie also performed reasonably well on video for that to happen.

      Moneyball earned $75 million in the US on a budget of $50 million. Conventional wisdom tells us that is not a commercial success. I think you’re missing the bigger picture here. The article you are linking to is calling into question Pitt’s movie star status even after WWZ.

      Captain Phillips grossed over $100 million dollars on a $55 million dollar budget. That’s not bad at all. It was a big improvement over the series of flops Hanks was coming off of. Is it a hit? Maybe a modest one.

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  17. He had a few flops before captian phillips with cloud atlas larry crowne but its not he was in danger he still seen as box office king.His last hit was 3 years before cpatian Phillips toy story 3. He had his before that too angels and demons. Like he not as consistent as he was in the 90s but him and cruise for that matter are still draws. I dont like pitt but i can admit before world war z i never questioned his a list status. Here is a another link calling captian phillips hit . http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/gravity-captain-phillips-box-office-650257. Yes saving mr banks was supporting role but hanks was advertised alot in that movie you cant tell me his star power didnt help . Emma thompson was never a draw. Its like how cruise face was on poster of interview with vampire depsite pitt being lead

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  18. captian phillips double its budget. The articles i sent you never called captian phillips modest hit it called them hits It even gave hanks credit for making cpatian phillips a hit saying the over 50 demo came to see hanks

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    • Doubling your budget is good. I don’t know what was spent on marketing so I don’t know how big of a hit it was. It certainly wasn’t a grand slam.

      Most articles out there don’t differentiate between modest hits, disappointments, flops, failures and blockbusters. They use these terms pretty carelessly. I try to be more specific. If you want to think of these movies as hits, go ahead. But there’s more nuance than simple hit or miss.

      At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter all that much. Certainly not enough to continuing parsing box office figures like this.

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  19. The article i sent you did call moneyball a hit. You said it did ok. It called it a critical and commercial hit meaning it excelled both critical and in the box office. I can tell pitt was reason it was hit. Phillip seymore and jonah hill both dont have box office clout pitt has.

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  20. Iam sure there are still a listers out there. Will ferall still a draw get hard made lots of money. Jolie still a list(rare for a women these days) I tend to think hollywood is coming up with a new wave of a list actors, Melissa mcarty from mike and molly is getting pretty close with success of spy and tammy. Chris pratt had hits like guardians of galaxy. and juristic world under his belt . He has big projects coming remake of Indians Jones and magnificent seven with denzel he could one day hit a list hes off to good start.

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  21. I’m digging this series so far, and with Hollywood only willing to gamble huge these days with a “go big or go home” mentality, you will probably never run out of material for this series.

    Might I make a suggestion for a future article? I would offer up the other huge box office flop of this year, Fantastic Four. Yes there were previous F4 films but this was a reboot so I would call it a new series. Or, new-ish, I guess. Point being with this reboot wiping the slate clean Fox intended to start up a new blockbuster series; they even announced a release date for Fantastic Four 2 for summer 2017 in advance of the first film’s release, anticpating that because this is a big budget superhero movie based on famous Marvel characters and we’re all crazy for superhero films right now of course this is going to be a huge hit! Let’s hire extra employees to help count all that superhero money! How wrong they were…

    It would make for a compelling article to be sure, as so much drama happened behind the scenes both during the making of the movie and up to the release of the movie. This turned out not just to be a flop (every year sees a couple of those) but a flop of epic proportions. Fox still claims at this point that they plan to move ahead with Fantastic Four 2 for 2017….. but come on. It turned out to be a colossal turkey both critically (it has an abysmal 9% rating on RottenTomatoes) and commercially (after more than a month of release, it still has made less domestically than the 2005 original made IN ITS OPENING WEEKEND). Not to mention most likely this film wrecked the director’s career for good (mostly due to his own actions, mind you). Oh yeah, this is a surefire candidate for a failed franchise launch if there ever was one. I think this is the perfect place to write up that juicy Fantastic Four article, Lebeau.

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    • If you decide to go ahead with a Fantastic Four article one of the most fun parts of your research will be the movie reviews. My favorite right now is from Rolling Stone Magazine, Peter Travers gave it zero out of four stars (!) and called it “the cinematic equivalent of malware”. Ouch. Ha ha

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    • My concern is that everything is becoming a sequel/prequel or reboot. So there will be fewer true attempts to launch new franchises.

      I’m waiting to see what Fox does with FF. Yes, the movie flopped. But I’m not sure Fox is done with this iteration of the FF. They had plans to incorporate them into the X-Men series. As far as I know, that plan hasn’t changed. I’m not sure it will.

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      • “My concern is that everything is becoming a sequel/prequel or reboot”

        Right. And when an original film like Tomorrowland or Edge Of Tomorrow flops, it’s disheartening. One can easily look at that happening and think “here comes more sequels, reboots, adaptations etc”.

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        • The next article in this series addresses that directly. When original movie – even flawed original movies – fail, the message Hollywood hears is “more sequels, prequels and reboots!”

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    • What Went Wrong?: Vol. 54 – Fantastic Flop Edition:
      https://znculturecast.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/what-went-wrong-vol-54-fantastic-flop-edition/

      Posted by CultureCast-Z on September 7, 2015

      After years of languishing in development hell, last August Fox finally released their Fantastic Four reboot. Directed by would-be wunderkind Josh Trank and starring Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Toby Kebbell, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell, the film was meant to re-launch the Fantastic Four into a brand-new film franchise for 20th Century Fox, joining their successful X-Men film relaunch. The mega-budgeted production flopped at the box office, however, drawing in only 26.2 million dollars on opening weekend, or roughly half of what the previous Fantastic Four origin film, from 2005, did on its opening weekend. Thus far the film has grossed around 160 million dollars worldwide against a budget of 120 million, making it a huge money loser for Fox, who could take a write-off of up to 100 million dollars or more on the project. So, what exactly went wrong?

      In 2012, director Josh Trank’s found-footage sci-fi film Chronicle debuted to healthy box office and positive critical acclaim, establishing Trank, along with the likes of Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, as one of the up-and-coming and in-demand young Hollywood directors. By July 2012, Trank would be tapped to direct the Fantastic Four reboot and his name would eventually be in contention for directing a Star Wars spin-off film as well. However, seemingly years of bad press and negative buzz surrounded his Fantastic Four project, so much so that Disney preemptively dropped Trank from their short-list of Star Wars directors and Fox allegedly pulled the reigns of control away from him in the Fantastic Four editing room. Producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker allegedly re-wrote much of the film’s script, including a change to the ending.

      Negative buzz also surrounded the casting of the film, primarily in the casting of Michael B. Jordan, an African-American actor, in the role of Johnny Storm, a Caucasian character in the comic book. I am one of those so-called progressives who does not give a s*** about the skin color of an actor playing a comic book character, but the casting was met with disdain across the internet nonetheless. Michael B. Jordan is a talented and charismatic actor with quite the filmography, but apparently this wasn’t good enough for internet neck-beard xenophobes, so a huge deal was made out of it. The supporting cast, made up of eccentric actors like Miles Teller (best known for indie productions) and Toby Kebbell (best known for providing the motion-capture for the villain in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) wasn’t met with much acclaim either.

      Additionally, a story eventually broke out regarding director Josh Trank’s rental house in Louisiana during filming. Apparently, Trank’s dogs caused around $100,000 in damages to the house, and Fox was not happy about Trank’s bizarre behavior during filming in general. It was this rumor that led directly to Trank’s removal from the Star Wars spin-off. A lack of communication between Trank and the producers led to continued upheaval. Producers on the film eventually ordered expensive and extensive re-shoots, and the film was re-edited significantly without Trank’s approval or involvement. One day before Fantastic Four’s theatrical release, Trank released a controversial message regarding the film to his Twitter account, where he claimed he had a vision for a much better film and implied producer interference meant no one would ever be able to see it.

      As we know, Fantastic Four flopped on release. The film scored an atrocious 9% on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, and a dreadful 27 on Metacritic. Online reaction was universally toxic, with many enjoying significant schadenfreude over the failure of the production on message boards and social media across the internet. And now, just about six weeks after the film debuted in theaters, it seems it has already been forgotten, wiped from our memories and erased permanently from moviegoers’ minds forever. Where Trank’s career goes from here is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely he’ll never be handed the keys to a mega-budget franchise film ever again. Funny how Trevorrow ended up with one of the biggest films of all time and his contemporary Trank ended up with the year’s most notorious flop.

      -Z-

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  22. Most articles out there don’t differentiate between modest hits, disappointments, flops, failures and blockbusters. Funny u mentioned that. Because u called other guys ahit it made 178 on 100 mill budget. several websites call it modest hit. Rush hour 2 made 258 mill off 140 budget not even double its budget. I doubt it covered marketing costs it must have made less in usa u called it a hit. I am not trying to start waves. Lastly you mentioned in keaotn blog that clean and sober wasnt that big of a hit. Someone reading it would think it did ok not flop or hit . Truth is it made less then the budget. You failed to mention it.

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  23. My concern is with all these superhero flicks there will be less original idea.

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  24. films like eternel sunshine show that at one point hollywood wasnt lazy

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  25. whats dumb is audiences complain too many superheo movies and reboots when Hollywood makes original idea people dont see it.

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  26. We chatted with @BradBirdA113 about all things #Tomorrowland! Wanna go? http://di.sn/6016B3MYu

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  27. Tomorrowland (2015) Movie Review — “So destroying a machine that’s beaming negative thoughts into our heads will somehow cause global warming to stop?”

    http://www.agonybooth.com/movies/Tomorrowland_2015.aspx

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  28. ‘Money Monster’ Dilemma: Can George Clooney Open a Movie?

    http://www.thewrap.com/money-monster-dilemma-can-george-clooney-open-a-movie/

    The star’s new drama “Money Monster” isn’t likely to be one… but he may not care

    When you close your eyes and picture the perfect movie star, George Clooney probably comes to mind with his meticulously tailored suits, stunning mansion at Lake Como, and lineup of A-list friends. There’s just one problem: Lately, he can’t seem to open a movie.

    Clooney’s latest, “Money Monster,” boasting co-star Julia Roberts and director Jodie Foster, is only tracking for a $10 million to $14 million opening this weekend. Granted, the thriller was produced for a relatively modest $27 million.

    But the 55-year-old actor-director-producer has only starred in four movies that grossed more than $100 million domestically in the last 15 years, three of which were the “Ocean’s” movies, in which he was part of an ensemble cast. The fourth, 2013’s Oscar-winning hit “Gravity,” was billed as a Clooney-Sandra Bullock drama though the actor wound up having much less screen time than the marketing suggested.

    “You could definitely say that Clooney’s peak was 10 years ago, and since then he’s done slightly more quirky stuff,” The-Numbers founder Bruce Nash told TheWrap.

    While Clooney’s presence can lift the fortunes of modestly budgeted movies like 2011’s “The Descendants,” a $35 million indie-style drama that earned $82 million domestically, he has stumbled when trying to lead pricier mainstream fare.

    He directed and starred in the $70 million WWII drama “The Monuments Men,” which grossed just $78 million, and toplined the 2015 dud “Tomorrowland,” which took in $93 million on a $190 million budget.

    Earlier this year, Clooney had top billing on “Hail, Caesar!” which turned out to be the lowest-grossing wide-release film for the Coen brothers, only raking in $30 million domestically on a $22 million budget.

    “The films we associate George Clooney with as being a great actor aren’t the films doing $500 million,” Nash said. “For example, ‘Monuments Men’ was a film that he probably looked at and thought that it was something that he could really enjoy making both as an actor and director.”

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  29. I am sure people quesitoned kilmer box office back then too lebeau. Batman forever was his only leading hit which he had nothing to do with, He just stumbled upon an already successful franchise. Worldwide the saint was his highest grossing lead role that film film was disappointed domestically . Studios expected better results hence why sequel was quickly gotten rid of. i find it funny kilmer was ahuge movie star in 90s but could not really open a movie

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    • I don’t understand why you’re comparing Val Kilmer with George Clooney other than the two played Batman back in the ’90s? It’s quite obvious that the main reason why Val Kilmer didn’t have a longer career as an A-list leading man (especially following his supposed peak w/ “Batman Forever”) was because of his ego/reputation for being “difficult”. My point is that George Clooney has pretty much had a much longer career “on top” than Val Kilmer.

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  30. Weekend Box Office: Americans Memorialized Our Fallen Soldiers By Not Seeing ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’

    http://uproxx.com/filmdrunk/weekend-box-office-alice-2-bomb/

    Disney has money to burn this year, currently owning the top three earners and on pace to pass an astounding four billion any second now, but they burned some of it on Alice Through The Looking Glass. The sequel no one really wanted cost a reported $170 million to make, and this weekend earned just $28 million domestically. That’s $25 million less than tracking, according to BoxOfficeMojo, and even more damning, a worse opening than either The Lone Ranger or Tomorrowland.

    Even counting its projected Friday-to-Monday numbers ($35 million), Through The Looking Glass has made less than the original grossed in its first day back in 2010 ($40.8 million). Through the Looking Glass received almost universally bad reviews, but probably a greater factor was audiences being sick of the concept two thirds of the way through the first one.

    Whatever money Alice was going to make in America, it had to make it this weekend or it had to have insanely good buzz. Neither of those things happened. So, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows waiting to suck up the family audience next weekend and Angry Birds and (ironically) The Jungle Book hanging around, there exists no realistic scenario where the $170 million Alice Through the Looking Glass makes even as much ($116.1m) as the Alice in Wonderland made on its opening weekend six years ago. [Forbes]
    All that said, it still made $65 million overseas, which once again supports my thesis: foreigners love Johnny Depp. I can’t wait until he gets a Golden Globe nomination for this.

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