5 Ways to Prep: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
By George Rose
May 3, 2017
When I was nine years old in 1994 and Stargate came out, I was just the right kind of young and easily impressed that made the movie enjoyable. I haven’t seen the movie in more than fifteen years so I can’t speak for my adult opinion here, but I have fond memories of watching it with my dad. To quickly recap the movie, it’s about the discovery of a teleportation device which leads to a distant planet that looks like a futuristic ancient Egypt. It’s crazy, I know, and probably much worse than I remember but it’s directed by summer blockbuster extraordinaire, Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012… the list goes on). Most of his movies aren’t that well reviewed but people eat them up so how bad can Stargate? Listen, it’s Kurt Russell; it’s Roland Emmerich; it’s a sci-fi movie. You know it’s watchable.
5) Passengers (2016)
Speaking of action/comedy superstars in a non-Marvel sci-fi film, we have Chris Pratt in Passengers. Like Stargate, it is by no means a comedy and by no means the biggest hit of the star’s career. I don’t understand how this movie didn’t make more money, given Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence’s involvement, but it’s likely because of over-saturation of the space genre since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made a mint during the same month of release. Its reviews were pretty bad as a result of some shanty scrip work and Stockholm Syndrome themes, but even still the movie is much better than the bad rep it received. Sure, when Pratt’s character wakes up alone on a spaceship with ninety years to go, he probably shouldn’t have woken up a fellow passenger so he could get his rocks off. That was a bad move but it is not an outright disaster of a movie.
When a movie is bad, it makes most of its money in the first week and then word gets out so it tanks after the fact (see Suicide Squad’s $134 million debut, $325 million finish and 2.42 multiplier). Passengers debuted to a shockingly soft $15 million but finished with $100 million, leading to a 6.7 multiplier that proves both the power of the Christmas season on multipliers and that the few that did see it spread some decent word-of-mouth. However, what I love most about this movie is the behind-the-scenes story. Lawrence’s $20 million payday over Pratt’s $12 million earnings was the direct result of the Sony hacking that brought Hollywood’s unfair gender pay structure to the forefront and unleashed the fury of Lawrence’s A-list status.
It’s also proof that studios don’t just care about profits, they care about NUMBERS! It took four weeks for the movie to get to $90 million in earnings and ten weeks to get to $99 million but, by golly, the studio needed at least $100 million to save face and I’m sure both celebrities preferred that number for their resumes. After thirteen freaking weeks the movie was at $99.5 million and went from 90 screens to 506, one last ditch effort to get that paper. On week sixteen, it finally hit the mark and exited theaters the following week. I watched EVERY WEEK as the movie fell down the box office ranks, knowing full well the studio wouldn’t give up on this movie. And, for many reasons not advertised by trash talking critics, you shouldn’t give up on this movie either. It’s got great effects, charismatic stars, some moral dilemmas worth discussing and isn’t nearly as bad as Suicide Squad.
And with that, my friends, you are ready for GOTG2. Check back next week when box office numbers come back down to earth with much smaller debuts and see if I chose the new King Arthur movie or Snatched as my pick of the week. You can also check me out on Instagram (RoseByAnyName) for article updates and pictures of me geeking out at the movies. Until then, have fun at GOTG2! I know I will.