29 June 2012

The Road to a Blockbuster: Madea's Stripper Teddy Bear

Hello everyone! It's another balmy Friday, the last in June and it's time for another installment of our Road to a Blockbuster series, a Summer-long examination of what it takes to become the next big thing critically, commercially, and culturally via the Hollywood Express. Today we see the release of three films with mid-level profiles that are all kind of randomly plopped in. Will audiences go out to see Tyler Perry in drag, Channing Tatum doing what he does best, or a Teddy Bear that sounds like Peter Griffin?

Let's start with Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection (2012). I can't believe they didn't go for "Witless Protection," it's not like any film by that name has done poorly. I haven't really expressed how much I dislike Tyler Perry on this blog, I guess it's the kind of thing that should go without saying. It's far to easy to criticise the man's penchant for black stereotypes, lazy writing, and irritating characters. Still, for all the haters, Tyler knows his market and he rocks the hell out of his niche and is one of the richest entrepreneurs in Hollywood. Still, you gotta think what the shit is he doing STILL making these kinds of movies when there isn't really a limit to what he could pull off right now. I guess if it ain't broke you don't fix it. Hey, the Commander of Starfleet can do what he wants. I still can't believe he's in that movie, and...nothing else.

So what about Madea? Although this will be Tyler Perry's 11th film in the past seven years, it's only the fourth starring Madea, although it seems like that thing has been everywhere. All his films do pretty well and the introduction of some recognizable white comic names like Eugene Levy and Tom Arnold may help it even cross outside of the African American market. That and a pretty decent add campaign that has relied less on Madea aggravating everyone and more on her put upon by whitey has marketed this thing at a higher level than most flicks.

This ought to do well, but there's a tremendous amount of competition from the soaring pair of animated flicks, Brave (2012) and Madagascar 3: Dumblefuck (2012), not to mention the other pair of releases this weekend. As for cultural impact, I don't think anyone who hasn't already turned on to Madea is turning on to Madea with this one.

Next is Magic Mike (2012), otherwise known as that Channing Tatum stripping movie. Advance reviews from this are actually fairly positive and there's good likelihood that it gets some decent word of mouth. Of course, it's a movie centering on MALE STRIPPERS. I'm not going to see a movie about male strippers. It's not a homophobic thing, I just...don't want to see a movie about male strippers. It had better be relying on the female dollar, or at least the put-upon boyfriend dollar who is trying to get his girl in the sack. Call me, Channing when we bang, I don't care.

This movie will, however, cement two things. 1) It's apparently one of Matty McConaughey's career best roles and it's him doing exactly what he should be, which is basically being swarthy and sexy, and also dumb and drawling. 2) It adds to 2012 universally being the YEAR OF C-TATES. If only G.I. Joe: Retaliation (20whatever) was still coming out this summer we'd really be laying the Tatum on thick. Does the fact it was shelved to re-tool more of the bro into it count as his growing Hollywood power? Can he and Jonah produce a 22 Jump Street (2014) soon? Heed our prayers, oh god of Channing.

Finally, the one movie I'm fairly excited for and what I think could become one of the Summer's Break-out hits, TED (2012). It's about a Teddy Bear that comes to life through boyhood dreams. Flash forward 27 years and that boy has grown up to be Marky Mark and the bear has grown into Seth MacFarlane. It's an elegant high concept, the marketing has been outstanding, and Wahlberg has been at his best lately doing comedy instead of action.

There have been a few R-rated comedies this summer that have done awful, namely The Dictator (2012) and That's My Boy (2012). Still, these films failed mostly on the weakness of their premises, the uninterestingness of their trailers, and in one way or another the failing pedigrees of their stars. TED has none of these, and America is itchy in its pants for the next great R-rated comedy. It's time, children.

So that's it. I don't see a reason why any of these films shouldn't do well besides the fact that they're cannibalizing each other for theater space. They're all opening around 2 - 3,000 theaters, and considering how even flicks like The Avengers (2012) are still in that many theaters, it's kind of ridiculous for them to break in. The marketing and hype has been good for these guys, even if it its fairly niche - but hey, that's good targeting.

Fuck you, thunder.

1 comment:

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