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Hollywood's Love of Analytics Couldn't Prevent Six Massive Blockbuster Flops

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the well-that-wasn't-good dept.

Movies 1029

Nerval's Lobster writes "In June, Steven Spielberg predicted that Hollywood was on the verge of an 'implosion' in which 'three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing to the ground.' The resulting destruction, he added, could change the film industry in radical and possibly unwelcome ways. And sooner than he may have thought, the implosion has arrived: in the past couple weeks, six wannabe blockbusters have cratered at the North American box office: 'R.I.P.D.,' 'After Earth,' 'White House Down,' 'Pacific Rim,' and 'The Lone Ranger.' These films featured big stars, bigger explosions, and top-notch special effects—exactly the sort of summer spectacle that ordinarily assures a solid run at the box office. Yet all of them failed to draw in the massive audiences needed to earn back their gargantuan budgets. Hollywood's more reliant than ever on analytics to predict how movies will do, and even Google has taken some baby-steps into that arena with a white paper describing how search-query patterns and paid clicks can estimate how well a movie will do on its opening weekend, but none of that data seems to be helping Hollywood avoid shooting itself in the foot with a 'Pacific Rim'-sized plasma cannon. In other words, analytics can help studios refine their rollout strategy for new films—but the bulk of box-office success ultimately comes down to the most elusive and unquantifiable of things: knowing what the audience wants before it does, and a whole lot of luck."

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1029 comments

Better plots? (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#44355493)

These films featured big stars, bigger explosions, and top-notch special effects

Maybe they'll start making... (gasp)... actual plots to accompany those stars/explosions/special effects?

Re:Better plots? (5, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44355575)

Would be nice if our culture just became weary of entertainment cartel offerings, and people could once again take up more productive pastimes: making things, group outings and sports, exercise, hobbies...anything besides sitting on butts and watching brain numbing nonsense (yes, I'm as guilty as anyone)

Re: Better plots? (4, Funny)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44355761)

My baseball teamnis the marlins you insensitive clod

Re:Better plots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355783)

Yes, yes, we will get off your lawn grandpa.

Re:Better plots? (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44355789)

...weary of entertainment cartel offerings, and people could once again take up more productive pastimes: ... group outings, sports, exercise...

Dude, you're gonna lose your Geek Card over that.

Re:Better plots? (4, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#44355795)

Would be nice if our culture just became weary of entertainment cartel offerings, and people could once again take up more productive pastimes: making things, group outings and sports, exercise, hobbies...anything besides sitting on butts and watching brain numbing nonsense (yes, I'm as guilty as anyone)

Sad thing is, it doesn't have to be an XOR function between the two sets of activities. What really sucks is that a large part of our cultural output is seen as entirely entertainment oriented. Perhaps what we're seeing is that the upcoming younger generations see this and come to our same conclusions - and thus the disappointing flops.

Maybe instead of trying to artificially create the memes and hashtags on the social networks, Hollywood ought to listen to what's being said and take that for inspiration? I guess that's just really much more effort than rehashing the same damn blockbuster formula over and over again.

In other news, the economy aint doing so swell either - and my Netflix queue is quite long...

Re:Better plots? (5, Insightful)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#44355653)

It's like they think we can't tell the difference between a movie targeting our demographic and a good movie. Just because it targets our demographic doesn't mean we'll enjoy it.

Re:Better plots? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355703)

Cheapest part of the movie. And the easiest to change.

Re:Better plots? (3, Insightful)

blarkon (1712194) | about a year ago | (#44355757)

Go and look at the list of top grossing films and point at the one with the intricate plot. Avatar's was non-existent. The director even said that he wasn't going with a detailed plot because it would harm the box office.

people want to see a story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355511)

not mutton dressed up as SUPER LAMB

It's all the PIRATES' fault! (4, Funny)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | about a year ago | (#44355513)

Moar copyright laws! Bigger penalties! Longer terms!

It's fun to add to the Deeeee-M-C-A!

Re:It's all the PIRATES' fault! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355831)

Can we retire the "Bush's fault" "Obama's fault" family of sarcastic posts? They contribute nothing and take up space.

thx

Re:It's all the PIRATES' fault! (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44355861)

You mean the Pirates Of The Caribbean?
They did pretty well at the box office didn't they?

Re:It's all the PIRATES' fault! (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year ago | (#44355893)

You mean the Pirates Of The Caribbean? They did pretty well at the box office didn't they?

Which set the unfortunate precedent that movies don't need a sensible plot to be successful. This summer is the result. So, yeah, I blame Pirates too.

Here's an idea (5, Interesting)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year ago | (#44355527)

Don't do the following: 1) make shitty movies (overbroad but use the smell test) 2) Make sequels to shitty movies that might have barely made a profit 3) Make 18 superhero movies, reboot them, and complain when they flop 4) Don't let a fucking formula from a has-been screenwriter dictate the structure of every movie (http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/8947871/The-origin-of-the-latest-Hollywood-formula) You can pay me now or later. I just want a 1% cut of all new movies.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year ago | (#44355531)

Man I hate when I don't include html tags

Re:Here's an idea (0)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about a year ago | (#44355651)

Or apparently when you fail to use the preview button.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year ago | (#44355731)

That too

Re:Here's an idea (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44355559)

I just want a 1% cut of all new movies.

OK, here are some cut-out scenes. They were shit anyway.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#44355629)

The superhero movies are mostly making money actually.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

edawstwin (242027) | about a year ago | (#44355635)

Re #3: The superhero movies/sequels haven't flopped. Look at Box Office Mojo. Those movies are doing very well. The movies listed for this article are neither superhero movies or sequels. The thing is, people usually want familiarity, and Hollywood movies that know that usually make money. That's unfortunate for those of us that like original movies, but it's not going to change anytime soon. If you really want great original writing, just look at the newer TV shows that critics love - most are better than any movie of the last five years.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year ago | (#44355741)

Some of those movies are doing really well. A lot of other super hero movies have flopped.

Re:Here's an idea (4, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44355647)

You can pay me now or later. I just want a 1% cut of all new movies.

Make sure you specify 1% of the gross, not net. Otherwise with Hollywood accounting you will somehow wind up owing THEM money.

Re:Here's an idea (4, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44355781)

At least 10 years out of date.

You now need to spec 'first gross' or all the gross is gone before your turn to get a cut.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44355719)

I think the real question is what changed? They've been doing all the things you describe for decades and it had been working.

I think it's simply that kids have found another priority for their spending money. Also their parents TVs are now big enough and all the older, better versions are out there for free and everybody knows it.

Planet of the Apes: Who prefers Marky Mark to Heston?

Death Race: Anybody prefer the reboot? The enemy isn't even 'the treacherous french', bah.

What was the last SciFi hollywood movie in a league with 'Forbidden Planet?'; '2001'? 'A Boy and His Dog'? 'Alien'? All we get is another terrible star drek court drama disguised as science fiction.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#44355723)

I just want a 1% cut of all new movies.

Done. You get 1% of the net.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355763)

As to point 4, it was mentioned in article that Blake Snyder said that his beat sheet is a structure, not a formula. It is also mentioned that this structure/formula has worked in fun and successful films. The difference could be that the screenwriters and directors of these past movies have had years of experience and talent to bring these structures/formulas to life that involves people rather than the screenwriters and directors of today of have only one or two films under their belts and are given $100 millon + films to make?

Re:Here's an idea (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about a year ago | (#44355779)

Amusingly, superhero movies have yet to flop more than once or twice is recent years...

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355887)

Catwoman, Elektra, X-men origins: Wolverine.

Actually, I'm not sure if they flopped, they were just awful!

Overthinking Hollywood. (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | about a year ago | (#44355535)

Or it could be, yknow, people just don't want to shell out for a night at the movies anymore.

Re:Overthinking Hollywood. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355617)

Can you blame them? It's more fun to theorize about why movies suck now than it is to go watch the damn things.

Re:Overthinking Hollywood. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44355643)

Because the movies suck.

Movies used to be about the art, the story. (2, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | about a year ago | (#44355541)

These days there is so little to a story and much more to the effects. There will be good blockbusters sure, but the better ones are about the story (ie, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit/etc).

Re:Movies used to be about the art, the story. (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44355639)

Even the Hobbit was a bit disappointing. My review of it was "Overall quite good, but could have used a lot less Temple of Doom".

Re:Movies used to be about the art, the story. (3, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44355721)

>but the better ones are about the story (ie, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit/etc).

You mean a sleep-inducing walk, talk, walk some more, talk, walk some more, talk, walk even more, talk more movie?

>much more to the effects

There was supposed to be a Star Trek reboot movie, but it really should have been called Lens Flare.

Actual good movies out of Hollywood are few and far between. Sturgeon's Law applies. Sometimes the reviews are much more entertaining than the movies themselves.

Like the reviews of the "new" Star Wars movies.

http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/ [redlettermedia.com]

--
BMO

Not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355803)

Most movies have always been crap -- bad acting and lousy story lines. People don't mind watching junk movies. They need some level of entertainment value, but failing all else, an astounding level of awfulness can earn a movie cult status.

The current problem is a product of the industry's failed attempts to engineer blockbusters by spending a bazillion dollars on special effects and 2 bazillion dollars on marketing. I'm guessing that they have the same problem as every other money losing industry -- too many MBAs running the show (into the ground).

Meanwhile, a dirt cheap rubber-suit monster movie probably would have out performed Pacific Rim in the box office. People like that shit.

Re:Not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355865)

Maybe you just need to go back a little farther. Paper Moon? North by Northwest?

Predictable Storylines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355549)

I avoid summer blockbusters because the plot tends to be very thin and highly predictable.

Yeah right (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year ago | (#44355561)

The problem with these movies is that they have overblown action sequences which are boring and add nothing to the plot. It's no surprise nobody wants to go see them. They might as well be trying to charge admission to go to the DMV.

Re:Yeah right (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44355739)

Just like for the last 20 years. What changed?

Re:Yeah right (1)

JanneM (7445) | about a year ago | (#44355853)

"Just like for the last 20 years. What changed?"

The internet. Other people are fundamentally more interesting to us than flat characters, and the net gives us lots of human conflict on a daily basis to follow. My guess is the Reality TV boom is caused by the same thing; a way for television to compete with the constant online drama.

Re:Yeah right (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year ago | (#44355885)

I'll admit they've had over the top action sequences for a while, but not all of them were so boring. Take the end of the Avengers, it drags on a bit, but there were still things happening with the plot. Then you look at the fight scene at the end to the new Superman, nothing is happening, you're literally just waiting for it to end.

Re:Yeah right (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#44355843)

Coming in June 2014, John Q Public TWO, RETURN to the DMV!

Our hero, John Q Public, learns that the last 12 hours he spent waiting in the infernal slow line at the DMV was all for nothing, due to a typo on his newly mailed ID card!

Prepare yourself for, RETURN to the DMV!

Its a story of pain:

[Cutscene]
John Q. Public:
"What do you mean you can's spell "Maple Street" !? What, did you fail highschool or something!?"

Agness T Clerk:
(Sobbing)
"Taking care of my little brother while mom was out fucking johns like you was really hard! I had to quit school after the 4th grade!"
[/cutscene]

It's a story of Love:
[Cutscene]

John Q Public and Jane Anybody kissing passionately in the DMV parking lot as the building behind them burns.

[/cutscene]

And non-stop, fast paced action* await you in:

*[voiced over short clip of asian teenager hitting every last cone in the vehicular obstacle course, before hitting a parking lot light post, and the vehicle catching fire]

John Q Public 2! Return to the DMV!

Art, not science (1, Insightful)

mars-nl (2777323) | about a year ago | (#44355591)

Movies used to be a form of art, not a form of science. And the science is not there to make a good movie, but how to extract as much money as possible.

Re:Art, not science (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44355619)

If the science is to extract as much money as possible, then there must be a flaw in that science, or else how could those movies be flops?

Well, unless they somehow profit from those flops, of course.

Re:Art, not science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355733)

Just bought me some popcorn, as I am about to watch Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes.

pacific rim didn't have lots of big name stars. (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#44355597)

See subject.

Re:pacific rim didn't have lots of big name stars. (0)

edawstwin (242027) | about a year ago | (#44355759)

Stars don't have very much to do with how a movie does any longer. Look at After Earth, The Lone Ranger, or any of the last three Tom Hanks movies (total gross of all three $100M). Tom Cruise hasn't had a $100M movie that wasn't a Mission: Impossible sequel in eight years (maybe that's making your argument - is he really a star anymore?)

Re:pacific rim didn't have lots of big name stars. (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#44355805)

I wasn't saying Stars = Success. I was just pointing out that, contrary to the summary's claims, not all of those six big-budget flops featured big-name stars. Pacific Rim didn't.

lower the ticket price (1, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44355599)

the price of the movies as gone up way to much it's at the point where it's much better to ppv at home.

Re:lower the ticket price (2)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about a year ago | (#44355799)

This argument is getting tiring. I'm not sure what prices are in your neck of the woods, but according to the Toledo Blade on 7/22/1983 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=8_tS2Vw13FcC&dat=19800722&printsec=frontpage&hl=en [google.com] ) it showed tickets as going $2.75-$3.50, non-matinee pricing. In 2013 dollars, that's right around $7.50 - exactly where a ticket for a non-matinee show is in this area. Sure, in a bigger city, it might be $9 or so; I'm not going to check it for you what the price was is 1983. It's reasonably tied to inflation. It has not spiked above the rate of inflation. Sorry.

Oh, you want to see 3-D? That'll be extra.

Oh, you want to see XD, and sit on the leather chairs with cupholders?

Those tickets are well above $7.50. But you can't complain about seeing a $14 movie in 3-D when there is no historical comparison to what it should cost.

If you're satisfied seeing a movie in the same "environment" as you could have done in 1983, for the same price, guess what: IT CAN BE DONE.

Where analytics fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355607)

Analytics cannot predict whether creative output targeted for mass popular consumption will achieve its sales goals, except in trivial cases where the momentum of past successes pretty much guarantees a huge opening week turnout (e.g. Star Wars sequels).

Analytics *can* be used by a recommendation engine to hook up customers to other titles enjoyed by those with similar tastes.

Re:Where analytics fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355711)

Sports (baseball, football, hockey, soccer) says you're wrong.

Problem is, that hollywood is ran by MBAs (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44355611)

The same thing that is killing USA's Auto companies (save tesla), Boeing, and hollywood, is that MBA's now run things.
Hollywood USED to be about making the best ART. Now, with the MBA's, it is about making short-term profit.
Likewise, Boeing used to make the best aircrafts (in both military AND commercial). The 787 is all about making short-term profit (in the same way that GE does).
Then US car companies, GM and Ford, used to be about making the best car possible. Now, it is about making short-term profits.

If we really want to restore America, we need to roll back the changes that reagan did. In particular, we need to require that executives NOT own any of the publicly-traded stock in that industry.

Re:Problem is, that hollywood is ran by MBAs (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44355689)

Well, maybe there should be a law against MBAs taking leading positions (unless they additionally have a relevant degree for the respective field).

Re:Problem is, that hollywood is ran by MBAs (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44355883)

I hate MBAs more then most, I've cleaned up more MBA messes then most.

But a law? Really? There isn't another mechanism? hint: You could short a basket of stocks run by MBAs. You could even go into a business because the competition are clueless MBAs and drunk monkeys could wipe them up in the market.

I expect MBA will be a resume stain almost everywhere soon. It already is many places.

Re:Problem is, that hollywood is ran by MBAs (2)

the phantom (107624) | about a year ago | (#44355813)

Um... when was Hollywood about "making the best ART"? It seems to me that almost the entire history of Hollywood is about making money. The studio system, which thrived from the 1920s-40s was designed to make profits, not art. Are we talking about some period before the big studios came into existence? Like, the silent film era? Or is there some period of history that I don't know about during which profits were eschewed in the name of art?

Re:Problem is, that hollywood is ran by MBAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355847)

>Then US car companies, GM and Ford, used to be about making the best car possible.

Since when? GM & Ford where always shit cars. Lousy production standards, low-end tech, bad steering, sky high fuel consumption, mostly ugly design (with a few notable exeptions like the Mustang).

> In particular, we need to require that executives NOT own any of the publicly-traded stock in that industry.

That's not the real problem. The real problem is the fixation on quarter year numbers, shareholder value and rating agencies. And the religiously devotion to analysts and their "expectations" resulting in the legal casino called Wall Street, including rigging and manipulation. But that's not a particular problem of the USA, but the entire western world. Get rid of Wall Street, get rid of ANALysts, get rid of the quarterly numbers and the industry would be much healthier.

Re: Problem is, that hollywood is ran by MBAs (1, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44355869)

The us auto industry was never about making the best car
It was a union jobs program and pension plan that just happened to make cars people outside the cities and away from universities were dumb enough to buy

Re:Problem is, that hollywood is ran by MBAs (3, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | about a year ago | (#44355881)

The same thing that is killing USA's Auto companies (save tesla), Boeing, and hollywood, is that MBA's now run things.

Don't forget Las Vegas [youtube.com] .

JUST LIKE BOGIE AND BACALL !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355631)

But not worth paying to sit in a seat 100s have farted in BEFORE you !!

Use the series guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355633)

Get the scriptwriters of good series (Breaking Bad, Chuck :-) ...) and use them to make movies.

The last interesting and somewhat original stories I saw in movies were from french movies (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1675434/?ref_=sr_1, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1964624/). Hollywood stays around pyrotechnics and corny romantic comedies...

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for Batman 999 and Iron Men 444 in order to get awsome movies with fantastic scripts...

Was there another movie? (4, Informative)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year ago | (#44355637)

And sooner than he may have thought, the implosion has arrived: in the past couple weeks, six wannabe blockbusters have cratered at the North American box office: 'R.I.P.D.,' 'After Earth,' 'White House Down,' 'Pacific Rim,' and 'The Lone Ranger.'

That's only five movies, not six. Was that number a typo, or did you leave a movie out?

Re:Was there another movie? (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44355743)

That line apparently leaves out the movie "Turbo", which is an animated movie about a racing snail that I haven't heard of before this. I'm not sure that one counts as a "summer blockbuster".

Supply/demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355645)

In my family, the price of movie going has decreased demand for MEGA BLOCKBUSTER hits, and we are in a season where there happens to be an ample supply of them. Choose one movie, go see it, watch the rest on netflix/redbox/hulu, ect.

Saw Pacific Rim (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355649)

Great special effects. Story was not engaging. Didn't care about the characters. It's about the story. But with the way movies are funded I assume producers stick their $.02 in and then the studios stick their $.02 and by the time the director is done satisfying everyone the movie is as bland as can be. Spielberg is right but he is also part of the problem.

Re:Saw Pacific Rim (1)

thesameguy (1047504) | about a year ago | (#44355771)

Spielberg is just mad because nobody would give him money for the movie he wanted to make. Boohoo. Hey Spielberg, if you're so sure Hollywood is stupid and you've got the true formula for Hollywood success, how about you fund it with your billions instead of theirs?

Summary, someone? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44355667)

'R.I.P.D.,' 'After Earth,' 'White House Down,' 'Pacific Rim,' and 'The Lone Ranger.'

Could someone briefly explain why *any* of those movies would be compelling, even if done well?

Re:Summary, someone? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44355811)

I don't know about the others, but I have to wonder exactly how one could screw up giant robots beating up giant monsters. I still plan on seeing "Pacific Rim" for that reason.

Re:Summary, someone? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44355815)

Could someone briefly explain why *any* of those movies would be compelling, even if done well?

Well, the Tea Party would love a certain remake of "Whitehouse Down".

Re:Summary, someone? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44355821)

Pacific Rim would be decent if it was set in the Battletech [wikipedia.org] universe, employed people with experience at writing stories in that universe, and stayed true to the vehicles and politics. In other words, a completely different movie. A Battletech series would be fantastic if done correctly.

Re:Summary, someone? (2)

ADRA (37398) | about a year ago | (#44355871)

pfft, go Macross/Robotech or go home!

Re:Summary, someone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355845)

Pacific Rim is a homage to Godzilla flicks that does its job better than Cloverfield ever did.

Hollywood's impossible dream of blockbusters-only (4, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | about a year ago | (#44355669)

In 1967, following the success of "Mary Poppins," Roy Disney said that the Disney studio ought to have "at least one 'Mary Poppins' every year."

There's nothing new about the money people wishing there was a simple formula that they could get rid of all the pesky issues of creativity, talent, and the public's taste.

Bomb? (2)

DRMShill (1157993) | about a year ago | (#44355677)

Pacific Rim has been out for a little over a week and it's already made back it's production budget http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=pacificrim.htm [boxofficemojo.com] . I'm curious to know what Nerval's Lobster's definition of a Hollywood bomb is.

Re:Bomb? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44355899)

On how big a promotion budget? It was saturated for at least a few days.

Whodda thunk it?? (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#44355681)

Greed makes for shit art, shit entertainment and *gasp* shit profits.

Serves the dickheads right.

When You Put Bean Counters in Charge You Get Beans (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44355683)

The problem is that creativity can't be quantified. Pretty much by definition.

You can copy someone else's creative idea and that can even work for a while, until all the creativity has been wrung out of it making it old and tired. But there is no formula to create something new.

Measuring the quality of a a creative work is like the story of the blind men and the elephant. You can look at all the parts but it won't tell you a damn thing about the work as a whole. And if you try to build another one just by sticking the same parts together you won't get an elephant, you'll just get a mess.

My analytics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355685)

Hmm, World War Z might be a fun zombie movie. Lets see; Rave Cinema, LA. $11.75 per adult. Looking at $23.50 for my wife and I, plus whatever junk food...

Nope.

Analysis complete in 0.25s.

Meh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355695)

Same ol same ol shit. Semi action movies with giant ass plotholes in a half finished story. Oh plus a tacked on love story for the women.

Special effects are not the same as having a good story, good acting, or competent directors.

But really. flops? is that a real flop? or hollywood accounting flop.. oh we only made a billion off this. and see our paerwork says we spent 50 billion making it. we need a tax break. its a write off. can we have some more money? we are so broke!

Of course none of that will stop us from flogging these flops as blueray/dvd/combo movie of the year! OF THE YEAR! EVERY MOVIE IS THE MOVIE OF THE YEAR! YOU MUST BUY THIS OR YOU SUCK! WE'RE GONNA SHOW COMMERCIALS FOR THESE EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS. AND telling you how much redbox, netflix etc suck ass and you should buy these discs.

Hollywoods biggest problem is hollywood. And i really don't give a fuck about them anymore.

theories (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#44355697)

but the bulk of box-office success ultimately comes down to the most elusive and unquantifiable of things: knowing what the audience wants before it does, and a whole lot of luck.

My personal pet theory is a lot simpler:

Not overfeeding them on the same stuff.

There are only so many times you can see the same movie and enjoy it. Hollywood blockbusters have largely turned into remixes of the same movie. If you know anything about storywriting, you've long realized that almost all Hollywood movies have the same script. Not just similarities the way most stories have, say, a beginning, a middle and an end, or a dramatic curve with a typical shape, but actually the same fucking script. Replace specifics like names, locations or technologies/species/etc. (giant robots/aliens/monsters/whatever) with placeholders and you'll see that they're pretty much all telling the same story.

And you can only hear the same story so often before it gets boring.

Trailer / Advertising? (2)

kb7oeb (543726) | about a year ago | (#44355707)

I saw and liked Lone Ranger based on the trailer, none of the others looked worth watching to me.

Threshold Ticket Prices Filter Consumer Masses (4, Insightful)

necro351 (593591) | about a year ago | (#44355727)

I haven't gone to see any of these movies not because I wasn't _mildly_ interested, but because it wasn't worth $14--$17 times three: the cost of bringing myself and my family. That is a lot of cash to see a "meh" movie. It wasn't long ago that movies used to cost $6 a head.

Perhaps the geniuses in Hollywood should use their analytics to actually pick per-movie MSRPs: something they can do with Google's analytics, after they've already bought the movie and are just trying to maximize their investment. Or if that would piss off customers, then just decide to roll out movies such that 3D is the same price as 2D as a special "bonus" or promotion, to effectively bring the price down on movies that you are afraid aren't going to do as well as you thought pre-production.

Re:Threshold Ticket Prices Filter Consumer Masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355889)

Maybe you need to find theaters that don't rip you off? This [warrentheatres.com] is a greater theater with table-side service, etc. and tickets are $6 matinee, $10 otherwise. You can even sit in their fancier balcony section for $12 during matinee and $18 after six. Another nicer theater such as this [studiomoviegrill.com] only goes up to like $10.50 at some locations. In any other run-of-the-mill theater, I've never paid more than $10 for any ticket.

All milking the same cow (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44355737)

Analytics can help you tease out the low-hanging fruit of under-tapped numeric and statistical patterns. However, your competitors will eventually do the same such that there is no more low-hanging fruit, and then studios have to rely on (gulp) talent and creativity, and sometimes shear luck.

Idiocracy (4, Funny)

skine (1524819) | about a year ago | (#44355769)

And there was a time in this country, a long time ago, when [...] movies that had stories so you cared whose ass it was and why it was farting, and I believe that time can come again!"

Re:Idiocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355809)

When exactly was that? Any time since after the early the 1900s?

It's easy to understand why (4, Insightful)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year ago | (#44355773)

big stars, bigger explosions, and top-notch special effects

—exactly what keeps me away from cinemas.

Stories not Shock and Awe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355777)

There is a theme through these movies that no one wants to discuss but the American people on a conscious or unconscious level are discussing with their pocket books. They want a story line that resonates with who they are; proud Americans. They want a story with a beginning, middle, and end with heros who are heros that resonate with them. They don't want flash and awe for two hours. They can get that from television entertainment news.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355785)

Yet all of them failed to draw in the massive audiences needed to earn back their gargantuan budgets.

I believe this is the problem right here.

George Lucas in his younger years:

Special effects are just a tool, a means of telling a story. People have a tendency to confuse them as an end to themselves. A Special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.

Shame Lucas himself started ignoring this axiom, now it appears everyone is.

The absolute best movies have as many foes as fans (4, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#44355787)

I love Tarantino movies - lots of people love Tarantino movies - lots of people really really hate Tarantino movies.

I liked Watchmen. I thought it was excellent even if it did depart from the book a bit and yes, maybe grew a little dull at times, but was deep enough to get into. Fully half the theater walked out during the first half hour I was in there.

Rocky Horror sucks. The people who like Rocky Horror will tell you it sucks. It's the longest in-box office run of any movie every. It was made before I was born and it still shows every weekend at a theater a half mile from my apartment.

The problem with Hollywood movies today is they use the freaking formulas.

Star Wars - though a formula setter - didn't follow movie formulas of 1977. Yes, say all you want about it being stolen source material, I fully believe you, but it's not how movies were made back then. I know plenty of people who hate Star Wars, not a lot since I chose not to associate with those sorts, but there are many, many people out there who consider themselves too good for such low-brow action flicks.

Avatar - biggest hit of all time. Yes all the block-buster formulas applied, but it also had formula breaking blends of primitive people, aliens, advanced species, spiritual and technical aspects. Even while complying with every blockbuster formula out there it twisted in subject matter only really addressed properly in Japanese Anime and threw in every movie category possible and made it work. On the flip side - Suckerpunch tried exactly the same thing and failed because they focused too heavily on making it look cool and forcing the fact they did so on you. Avatar did it seamlessly.

With the exception of maybe Avatar most of the movies I mentioned, that succeeded or even better yet, did okay but got a cult following had tons of haters. They will endure because of it.

IMHO cult status trumps block buster opening any day. Yes, fine, huge payday on a blockbuster up front, this is what studios want. Cult movies are more of a long term investment. They keep on giving. Disney has learned this, they're milking movies that flopped forty years ago today and making a profit. Disney has learned that movies are long term investment, not just box office warriors. They build a brand and milk it.

You can milk a cult movie. No one cares about a box office hit they forget about and nobody talks about a few years later.

I'm big in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355791)

Flopped in the U.S., yes. But the analytics apply to worldwide potential. Let's see those numbers come in first, then we can talk about the failure of analytics.

Well imagine that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44355807)

Well would you just look at that. Hollywood suck at basic meth.

Who would have thought such smart, brilliant people could be so thick?

Let's just blame pirates instead. It is always their fault. Damn Jack Sparrow. One day you will lose your hat. One day. And you will be very sad. See how you feel losing things!

movies need to offer a premium experience (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44355827)

Blu ray is $25 or so
Movie theater is $30 plus the junk food and other costs to see a movie once

If they want people to pay premium prices offer a premium experience
Roomier seats
Kick out people making noise
No kids in adult movies
No babies

Getting the message delivered (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44355833)

Thats the priority, not so much getting big profit from it, some succeed, some don't. A lot of them focus in showing a few caucasians and/or americans defeating big adversaries, a lot of them not humans or that should not be considered humans, and no matter how much casualties or how much suffer the civilians on your side. Most of the blockbusters of the last decade have that message in a way or another, even changing badly the base material to fit in it (i.e. World War Z)

Pies in the face (4, Insightful)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year ago | (#44355875)

Here's a thought. Stop trying to throw 3D pies in my face and actually sell me a persuasive plot. If you don't want me to wait for Netflix, provide a compelling experience at a fair price.

Haven't there always been losers? (1)

AdamThor (995520) | about a year ago | (#44355897)

Don't Hollywood blockbusters flop fairly regularly? If one could guarantee that a movie (or anything) was going to make a profit wouldn't people flock into the arena until things started failing? See: housing crash. Also, http://www.imdb.com/list/BzO0KZ24wyA/ [imdb.com]

Destroyed in Seconds (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44355903)

MAD magazine had a spoof some 20 years ago, about a movie without any plot or any story. Just a huge series of explosions saying, "all action no stupid boring talking parts". TV shows were moving in that direction with programs like Air Disaster, "Most thrilling moments of .." "Americas Most Watched videos..." etc etc. Even they provided too much of context and so finally came the corniest show of the genre, "Destroyed in Seconds!". Some presenter comes in and says something stupid like, "It only takes a minutes for things to get DESTROYED in SECONDS!". Then follows series of accidents, speed boat crashes, race track disasters, floods etc. They did not even have to invest in special effects, They just get video some guy shot and package it into half an hour. People have seen enough real disasters in video enough times. The disaster porn thirst has been fully quenched. Hollywood is not going to make much money off it.
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