Top 12 Film Industry Stories of 2012: #10
Consumers Eschew Deja Vu
By Reagen Sulewski
January 3, 2013
The hits kept not coming with Prometheus, Ridley Scott's quasi-Alien prequel, which was possibly the most buzzed about film that didn't feature superheroes coming into 2012. Although it has its passionate defenders (at this site, even!) word quickly spread that the film was not up to snuff and that there were a few, how shall we say, plot issues. A meager $126 million is almost certainly not what Fox and Scott were hoping for, and this definitely puts plans for a prequel trilogy at risk.
The ridiculousness of reboots might have hit its peak with The Amazing Spider-Man, which found itself starting from square one just 10 years after the original Spider-Man and five years after it had its Batman & Robin franchise killer. While there were some contractual reasons why this movie had to be made now, there was very little in the narratively necessary department for it. And while I'd never call the $262 million it's made a flop, it's $70 million down from Spider-Man 3, and again about half of what Spider-Man's box office represents after inflation. While it's in a better place than some other superhero franchises we could name (cough cough Superman), there is a definitely line being drawn in the sand about these endless reboots.
I'm not sure anything beat the remake of Total Recall for sheer pointlessness, however. It really hadn't been that long since the first one, and substituting Colin Farrell for an at-his-peak Arnie in the lead is nobody's idea of even a lateral move. Eliminating the Mars stuff makes even less sense, and Paul Verhoeven's penchant for satirical excess was completely beyond Len “More Blue Filters!” Wiseman. $58 million is kind of a shockingly low total for a property as well known as this one.
The Bourne Legacy knew it was taking a step downward, so points for that, but the spinoff movie that mostly took place in the shadows of the events of The Bourne Ultimatum was a tough sell for audiences, with Jeremy Renner not really stepping into Matt Damon's shoes. It dropped about $100 million from Ultimatum to $113 million, and probably nips that franchise in the bud.
Extending beyond summer, Lionsgate attempted to bring back the Judge Dredd franchise with the simply-titled Dredd, but despite solid reviews it was resoundingly rejected to the tune of just a $13 million gross. The much-delayed Red Dawn also falls into this group as well, with the laughable “North Korea invades the US” premise managing just $40 million.
The lesson that we all hope studios learn from this year? Just cool it with the remakes already – or have a solid reason to do Audiences are figuring out that these are stale, stale ideas and with tickets now costing $15 a pop in some cases, these projects are no longer a sure thing.