Tuesday, January 28, 2014

'I, Frankenstein' Goes Under in the World of the Box Office

I, Frankenstein failed to have a monster weekend, and Scott explains the factors that lead to it bringing home minimal grosses.  After that, Scott has a short look at the implications of the possible new rules being put in place for movie trailers.

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The attempt to resurrect the Underworld franchise under the guise of the title I, Frankenstein has proven to be a miss with audiences. Being pushed on the producer’s association with Underworld, as well as being similar both in visuals and story, I, Frankenstein was hoping to grab monies from the pockets of the young male demographic. Over the weekend, I have found budget estimates for this movie as high as $65 million, which sets a high bar of approximately $130 million world-wide for this film to begin to make a profit.

Before the film opened, I felt that the casting of Aaron Eckhart in the starring role not the best step forward in trying to hit their key demographic, and my fears seem to be well based as the largest audience quadrant that came out this weekend for the over CGIed tale of gargoyles battling demons was males over the age of twenty five. The movie brought in a very dismal $8.6 million, well below predicted numbers, and hopefully the studio is not scratching their heads for too long trying to figure out what exactly went wrong. If they want to save themselves some time, I can tell them right now: people do not want cheap looking movies that are blatant knock-offs that are just pumped out to rob them of their admission money. They will have to look to the international markets in hopes of any profit on this movie, and its performance in Russia of taking first place with $6.4 million gives little reason for hope.

Because that is all there is to talk about in relation to new releases, and because it is not the most uplifting to talk about, I may as well end up on what could possibly be a high note. It turns out that the National Association of Theatre Owners have created new voluntary marketing guidelines that distributors are to follow. One of the key aspects of this is the shortening of movie trailers. Currently, the average is around two and a half minutes, and the new guidelines would call for trailers to be no more than two minutes in an attempt to address complaints from movie goers that there is too much time spent on trailers and advertising before the movie begins. As well, trailers could not be released more than five months before the movie is set to be released, and in house marketing materials could only be put up four months prior. Each distributor will get two trailer exemptions per year, which could allow them to still have far off teaser trailers come out or to create longer trailers.

While I got excited about this at first, there is another way to possibly look at this. Theatres make money on each trailer that they show, and there is a possibility that due to shorter trailers, some exhibitors will attempt to cram more in which would mean the same amount of time sitting and waiting for the movie to start. It may be that a good majority of theatre owners are looking forward to shortening the pre-show, there are bound to be others out there who are seeing this as a possible way to add a little revenue under the belief that audiences were already waiting twenty minutes already, so the time may as well be filled right up. Time will tell to see if this is a positive or a negative for the consumer, and the rules are set to go in place for any movie that is being released on or after October 1, 2014.

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