Two weekends ago, The Words, which is apparently a real movie, starring that guy from The Hangover that is not a proven box office draw and someone named Zoe Saldana, was the only major new release. The Words bombed and no one was surprised… except for Hollywood. Hollywood was so surprised you didn’t want to see their boring, uninteresting movie starring two people who couldn’t appear to have less chemistry with one another. The Words is now infamous for being apart of what was the worst box office weekend since 2001. As a result of no one going to the movies that weekend, Hollywood tentatively lost their shit as they done every couple of months for the last 5 years when no one goes and sees their really expensive, really awful movies. In addition to shit being lost, articles were written such as this one by Vulture which I only half agree with.
Before we go any further, I have a question. Why are these Hollywood people so surprised? The film is titled THE WORDS. WHO allowed that to happen? In addition to that incredibly intriguing title, the film stars one person who is yet to prove himself at the box office (or, thanks to this bombing, has proved himself as not a draw) and someone who is still a no name to anyone who doesn’t jerk off to her on the internet. Why is anyone surprised that THIS movie bombed? Also: why was it given such a push? Did you notice how many TV spots and trailers it was given when it screams direct-to-VOD? I don’t expect you or anyone to answer any of my questions but I shouldn’t be this frustrated with a movie called The Words, and yet here we are.
Part of the problem is that Hollywood is so scared of failing in this current financial climate that they are shooting themselves in the foot before anyone else can. For example: you know what movie doesn’t scream direct-to-VOD? Bachelorette. Bachelorette was released straight to iTunes ahead of its theatrical release. Bachelorette went straight to #1 on iTunes following its VOD release. Hollywood lost it’s shit. “This is where the future of movies is, right there! LOOK AT IT! LOOK AT IT BEING #1 ON iTUNES!” they screamed at me for a week. No, it’s not. A similar situation happened with another Sundance film, Margin Call. Remember that? Exactly. I don’t know if there are enough people actively renting or purchasing films on iTunes to really warrant this such a huge success and I understand that financing such small movies is risky but still. If you look back at any rental chart during the early ‘00s, Wrong Turn 3 is probably at #1 and look how well that turned out. Here’s the thing: if Hollywood actually backed Bachelorette, gave it a proper push, advertising scheme, and what not, it could’ve done decently at the box office. The same goes for For A Good Time, Call… which was poorly handled. Why? Because Hollywood is scared of it’s own half-way decent original movies.
And now for the Vulture article that claims that TV is at its prime and has eclipsed movies as the ultimate entertainment at the moment. This is due to TV being so good right now and so many movies being so awful. I agree and disagree with the article. At the moment, television is critically very successful. I’d argue that, for the most part, television has never been better. During any given week from September to June I’m catching up on at least 10-20 of my favourite shows on TV (none of them reality) if not more and each of them are critically loved. But, viewership has decreased thanks to online streaming and PVRs (rather, the viewership is still there but, of course, Hollywood has yet to catch up to it). At the same time, what are the most popular shows on TV? Every awful CBS sitcom does exceptionally well (excluding my personal favourite, How I Met Your Mother) and any generic drama on CBS (NCIS garners 22 million viewers a week and I don’t know one of them). What else? Any awful reality show on ABC and FOX and remember when Two & A Half Men got 40 million viewers for it’s season premiere last year? There is still too much shitty television being produced for their argument to work.
As we look forward, there are a slew of new releases coming out in the next few weeks. A lot of them are promising in quality and box office, but my question is – why are so many of them being released all at once? Why weren’t some of them released in early September when they would have had room to breathe? Again, I don’t expect anyone to answer these questions, and maybe you can and you can convince me why releasing 5 movies in one weekend is beneficial. But it just doesn’t make sense to me. Argo and Looper and everything that follows look to be solid on paper, but what happens in December or January when something bombs? Because something will bomb. Except, don’t make your own bombs and then act surprised when they explode. And, maybe, start believing in the projects people want to see.
Also: stop casting Olivia Wilde in movies. This will help things.