Why’d it bomb? Epic (2013)
Hey, remember Epic? Y’know, that one movie about the little fairy people from a few years ago who kicked the bug people’s butt? Anyone?
Yeah, I’m going to guess no one remembers it existed. Just one look at the message boards for its IMDB page have shown that hardly anyone posts on its board anymore. It was also a box office disappointment. Technically, thanks to its worldwide gross (and no doubt DVD/Blu-Ray sales), it was modestly successful but, domestically, it only made $7 million more dollars than its budget, as it made $107 million dollars on a $100 million dollar budget. But why was it such a disappointment? Let’s find out!
1. The movie looked like a rip-off of Ferngully
When trailers first started coming out, many people noticed that the movie looked similar to Ferngully. It went to the point that the director, Chris Wedge, responded to the accusations by saying that he didn’t want to make something like Ferngully but, rather, make something akin to Star Wars. However, the similarities probably turned off a few people, feeling it was way too similar to that movie.
2. The trailers had an inconsistent tone
When Chris Wedge kept doing press for the movie, he always talked about how he wanted to do something different from the comedies Blue Sky usually does and make an “action adventure film” instead. And the trailers kind’ve showed it was an action adventure film…but kind’ve didn’t. What I mean is, half of the trailer for the movie presented itself as being this serious fantasy, something akin to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but then it had humor that was more akin to an Ice Age film than those franchises (lines like “my shell’s over here baby grrl” didn’t help). It also probably didn’t help that, in the trailer itself, they advertised it as being “from the creators of Ice Age and Rio“. That might make a little sense, seeing as both those franchises made money but, seeing as they were going for a different tone, that ended up being a bad move. After all, there’s a reason the trailers for Harry Potter didn’t say “From the Director of Home Alone“.
As a result, many audience members didn’t know what this movie was going for and it made the tone seem off to many people. The inconsistent tone the trailers presented probably helped turn a lot of people away from the film, in addition to it looking a lot like Ferngully.
3. Animated fantasy adventures don’t usually do well at the box office
As sad as it is, it’s true. Children just prefer their animated films to be comedic. I mean, some fantasy adventures (i.e. How to Train Your Dragon) have done well at the box office but others (Rise of the Guardians, Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Kubo and the Two Strings) have flopped because, for some reason, children just don’t like their animated movies to be straight fantasies. I don’t know why but they just don’t.
4. The vague title
Probably the biggest reason this film underperformed is because the title didn’t say anything about the movie, it just told you how to feel about the movie. Epic honestly could mean anything, as long as that thing is exciting, so it was hard to tell what the movie was about just because of the title alone. Not only that but, because the movie’s title was pretty much just telling people how to feel about it, it might’ve made the movie come off as pretentious to people and, as a result, they stayed away.
As you can see, there were definitely some factors that made this the 2nd lowest grossing film, domestically, of Blue Sky Studios’ movies. Thankfully for it, though, its worldwide gross was more or less consistent with Blue Sky’s other movies, as it made $268 million worldwide and the only Blue Sky studios movies to make more than $200 something million worldwide have been the Ice Age and Rio movies. That being said, considering it had a low gross domestically, that still means it was a box office disappointment, if not an outright flop.