Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
August 12, 2014
Kim Hollis: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a reboot of the comic-based franchise, debuted with $65.6 million. How did Paramount achieve such a successful result?
Edwin Davies: I'm surprised by how well this one debuted, since even the most generous estimates had it opening in the mid-40s. The buzz around the project has been primarily negative ever since it was announced, the trailers looked terrible and the turtles themselves looked freakish and ugly. The explanation that makes the most sense to me is the strength of the Turtles brand, which now spans multiple generations, three separate animated series (including one that is currently in production and has proved fairly popular) and has managed to produce five feature film iterations. The success of this film seems to have been driven by families, who have come out in force two weekends in a row now thanks to Guardians and this, and the parents of those kids would have grown up knowing the animated series and the three live action movies, while their kids would have been introduced to them through the more recent show.
The existence of the new TV show is probably the key difference between this film's success and the more modest success of the 2007 animated feature, which earned only $54 million domestically and $41 million internationally against a $34 million budget. It increased awareness amongst the younger generation, and probably helped it bring in fans of the earlier incarnations who probably wouldn't have seen it if they didn't have to take their kids.
Matthew Huntley: I would agree with everything Edwin pointed out, and I too am surprised the movie opened this well (I never thought it would generate numbers greater than, say, $45 million, and then finish below the century mark - which is still possible, I suppose). One other thing I think contributed to the film's success was the fact that it is a reboot of the origin story and NOT a new Ninja Turtles adventure. It's essentially an updated version of the 1990s film's plot, and that familiarity and nostalgia factor probably drove older fans (who now have kids) out to the theater. They wanted to see how it was done differently. If this is indeed the case, then it's sad, because instead of trying anything new and different, studios are going to continue to simply recycle/update old material because they know that's what audiences will pay for, even though it's not exactly what audiences deserve, or even want.
Brett Ballard-Beach: "That's what audiences will pay for, even though it's not exactly what audiences deserve, or even want." I find very little I can add to Matthew's astute comment. Getting people to shell (no pun, this film doesn't deserve it) out big bucks for something they don't even want means your business model is the loop of infinity, and you deserve all the profit you get.