26 August 2016

Summer 2016 Movie Wrap-Up Part III: All the MEH that's Meh to meh

Welcome again, loyal readers to our final Summer 2016 Wrap-up. We've gone through the clear winners and losers, but there were really a bunch of flicks that fell somewhere in between. These are the fabulous meh movies - the take it or leave it kind of drek that failed to inspire either esteem or pity. Some of these are weird, like those that financially succeeded but were critically reviled. Others were the inverse. Others kind of made their money back and good job, I guess? Let's dive in:

THE MIDDLE

The def posse is such a big chunk of whatevs


Suicide Squad

Budget: $175 million
Domestic Gross: $269 million
Worldwide Gross: $582 million

Right off the bad we ought to be contentious. Suicide Squad could easily slide in the loser category because of how much people tend to hate it, and even though I enjoyed it while sitting there (uhh...sort of), it was ultimately a pretty damn bad film. BUT - it's the #4 highest grossing film of the season and somehow the only film to gross over $200 million but under $300 million. It reset Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)'s August opening weekend record and has an excellent worldwide showing for a relatively unknown group of characters. I mean, its worldwide gross is basically Superman Returns (2006) and Green Lantern (2011) combined, and you may say "Well, those movies are awful, too", hey - the Squad did it! It's really hard to call it a failure, especially since despite all the bad vibes it seems to have staked out its place in pop culture pretty well, too. If the film was any good, we'd be throwing it in the "Winners" post without a second thought.

Star Trek Beyond

Budget: $185 million
Domestic Gross: $$148 million
Worldwide Gross: $234 million

Beyond should maybe fall more into the loser category because of its super high budget, general lack of interest, and the fact that it barely made over half of what Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) did worldwide three years ago. The vibe for this film, though, was so much better than Into Darkness and in some ways better than Star Trek (2009) that it ends up in this territory. It pleased fans more than any other of the modern Trek reboots and still managed to be the #6 movie of summer and currently #10 for the year. That's not quite the failure script, although you could certainly make that argument considering there's no way that holds.

Jason Bourne

Budget: $120 million
Domestic Gross: $143 million
Worldwide Gross: $281 million

The Bourne and Trek one-two punch this July really felt like a whiff, but honestly, Jason Bourne improved on the abysmal Bourne Legacy (2012) both critically and commercially, and worldwide its gross was pretty on par with The Bourne Supremacy (2004). That that film came out twelve years ago is still a rough assessment, and even though it couldn't nearly match The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), it was really in line with what a lot of these films are able to achieve. It was also a mild critical success, in the sense that people didn't revile it. If this all sounds kind of meh to you, well, there's a reason we're talking about this film here.

The Legend of Tarzan

Budget: $180 million
Domestic Gross: $125 million
Worldwide Gross: $352 million

The domestic gross is rough, but Tarzan's impressive worldwide tally and its moderate critical success are what brings it here. I don't know why or how anyone would spend $180 million on a Tarzan update, but whatever. I'm not sure who actually saw Tarzan, either, and it sort of got lost in the shuffle, although I'm not sure what shuffle that was. It wasn't like any big action blockbuster was crushing its way through July. That "fatigue" is becoming a common explanation for failures, but fatigue from what? No one saw Out of the Shadows (2016), Warcraft (2016), and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)!

The Angry Birds Movie

Budget: $73 million
Domestic Gross: $107 million
Worldwide Gross: $346 million

This was...a thing that happened. That's about all you can say. This really came and went pretty fast and I remember thinking it had a decent opening for what it was ($38 million), and the 2.8 multiplier is actually pretty decent, but $107 million still feels so...not great. Still, it made its budget back in spades worldwide, so is it really a failure? It's all the more impressive it did this in what's looking like the most expansive year for animation ever, from Zootopia (2016) to Kubo and the Two Strings (2016). It dug its own niche, somehow didn't get in the way of other kids' fare and made a mild amount of money. That's so meh, baby!

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Budget: $33 million
Domestic Gross: $45 million
Worldwide Gross: $64 million

This is the same kind of script. I thought that this flick actually had a shot to stand out more than it did, and I'm sure the producers were hoping for a little more return on their investment, but as it stands, its gross is perfectly okay. Its reviews weren't great, but it looked pretty funny. I don't know, I didn't end up seeing the thing so maybe it's all my fault it didn't do that great at the box office. But it did beat POPSTAR: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016), so that's important. What's the breakout comedy of the summer? Sausage Party (2016)? I thought this was going to be the immortal Summer of Comedies, but nope it sucks.

Money Monster

Budget: $27 million
Domestic Gross: $41 million
Worldwide Gross: $93 million

No one really cared about a Julia Roberts / George Clooney film that didn't involve them robbing a casino in 2001. Still, despite seeming really really irrelevant, it somehow tripled its budget worldwide and although it wasn't a monster smash, it still made some money. Monster. Eh?! There we go. As adult fare goes, it held its own in a May swarming with more juvenile entertainment, and although this really felt like it should have been a fall release (my guess is it wasn't because nothing about it really felt Oscar-worthy), it actually proved that you can make a few bucks off adults in a summer drama. Not too much, but it was okay.

The Nice Guys

Budget: $50 million
Domestic Gross: $36 million
Worldwide Gross: $36 million

So before I started writing this I had no idea the budget for The Nice Guys was $50 million. What the hell cost $50 million? Actor salaries? The Man with the Iron Fists (2012) sure as hell didn't cost that much. Was it all trainer fees to get Russel Crowe in shape? Legal fees for his fights around the world? I have no idea, but despite its loss, it was one of the better reviewed films this summer, and although it's not likely to put in for an Oscar or anything, it felt like Shane Black getting back to his bread and butter (although to really do so, one of them probably should have been black), and according to Rotten Tomatoes it was the 8th-best reviewed film this summer. So consider this full circle from Suicide Squad - the great movie that gets no cash.

As for the rest, it's a bit too early to tell the fates of War Dogs, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Florence Foster Jenkins. Those were all the major films we previewed this summer. That and The Darkness, Nine Lives, and The Infiltrator, all of which were pretty significant losers that I don't totally care about.

See you next summer, folks! Bundle up!

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