Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
January 28, 2015
Kim Hollis: Strange Magic, a George Lucas animated film, debuted with just $5.5 million this weekend. Why didn't families go for this film?
Jason Barney: Perhaps the 11% rating at Rotten Tomatoes had something to do with it. The budget numbers for this one are difficult to find, but you have to think that with the pocket book of Disney, this had some resources put into it. This reception is pretty bad considering the only real kids' competition is Paddington and while well received, that one isn’t bringing in every kid under seven years old to the movies. This film and this sort of opening will be totally forgettable. While we usually talk about new openers lasting in the top ten for a few weeks, this one may be out of the top ten in a couple of days. Putrid opening.
Edwin Davies: The reviews didn't help, especially since the positive word-of-mouth for Paddington probably made it more of a draw for family audiences, but I think the bigger problems lie with the film itself. The ads for Strange Magic made it look bizarre and confusing, with no clear sense who the characters were and what the story was about (and even if they had done that well, I'm not sure that there's a huge demand for a reimagining of A Midsummer Night's Dream). Probably the biggest hurdle the film had to overcome was the way it was sold as being "from the mind of George Lucas", a sentence which is meaningless to kids and an active disincentive for adults who have been burned by Lucas quite a lot over the last 16 years or so.
Matthew Huntley: A putrid opening indeed. In fact, it reminds me of another animated bomb from 2014, Legend of Oz: Dorothy's Return, albeit from a much higher-profile studio. I think Edwin and Jason summed up the issues with Strange Magic perfectly, but one other thing to take in mind is Disney "inherited" this film when it acquired LucasFilm, so to their credit, the story didn't spring from the Disney folks' minds. Even so, if the studio seemingly had so little faith in it, why did they choose to release in theaters vs. going directly to DVD/Blu-ray? By foregoing the former, at least they could have saved on the P&A costs. I think this movie reiterates that families really do respond to positive reviews and a clearly defined story.
Bruce Hall: Let me put on my parent hat for a moment.
I want to take my kids to see a movie this weekend. What's out there? Well, there's a Clint Eastwood movie about snipers - that's out. Here's Jennifer Lopez...hubba hubba...but...if I want to see her I don't need the kids. A simple Google image search will suffice. Taken 3 is right out...oh look!
Here's a movie about Paddington bear, the most inoffensive creature imaginable! It's well reviewed and has earned well over $100 million worldwide! Let's put a pin in that. What else do we have here...
Benedict Cumberbatch, you are not Khan...The Hobbit...too intense...ah....Strange Magic. Disney movie, check...written and produced by...wait, what? Lucas? Lucas!!! You! The man who singlehandedly defined and then destroyed my childhood! You got to me, but you won't get my kids, you bastard! Plus, I see this movie has gotten only slightly more love than Bill Cosby over the past week. Forget it. Paddington it is.
That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. The target audience for this movie has parents who still bristle at the thought of Lucas and his maladaptive storytelling skills. And since the film has no other pedigree attached, reviews matter - and in this case they weren't enough to entice any sane, self respecting adult to spend $90 dragging the whole family to the theater.
On the upside, this will be on Netflix before you know it, and if my kids want to see it they can, without dragging me down with them. Yay, internet!