A remake of “Ben-Hur” will be released this weekend, and it is already expected to lose millions. It is just another in a long line of money-losing projects released this year, all of which begs the question: have moviegoers had enough of the pig slop studios give them year after year?
The only two bonafide summer hits have been “Captain America: Civil War” ($407 mil) and “Finding Dory” ($477 mil). Both of them were bolstered by strong reviews and the backing of a Disney studio that has a consistent track record.
There are some other hits as well, but something striking becomes apparent when looking at them: “Deadpool” ($363 mil), “Zootopia” ($341 mil), “The Secret Life of Pets” ($340 mil) are all hits in some way or another, were all well reviewed to a degree, and all were non-sequels.
You need only look at commercial duds like “Ghostbusters” ($122 mil), “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” ($81 mil), “X-Men: Apocalypse” ($155 mil), “Alice Through the Looking Glass” ($76 mil) and “Ice Age: Collision Course” ($59 mil) to see that trend illustrated further; all poorly reviewed sequels/remakes, none of them making much money.
Even films that did decent business such as “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” ($330 mil) and “Suicide Squad” ($238 mil to date) did not meet expectations, mainly due to pedestrian reviews.
Is this an actual turning of a corner? Have audiences decided to stop shelling out their hard-earned cash on mediocre sequels/reboots/cash grabs and instead reward worthwhile entertainment?
Only time will tell, but the signs, at least in the U.S., are encouraging. There does seem to be less of an appetite to see the latest “Transformers” film or remake of whatever. Original, well-reviewed properties have ruled the box office this year. It is a welcome change.