It is my pleasure to write a very short post introducing a longer, thoughtful one by Ben Kuchera and Chris Plante over at Polygon.
Because in the end, all of our efforts in filmmaking – even when we ARE gearheads — are about storytelling.
In this instance, they tell a story about the business side of filmmaking in an era of dramatic transition – not only in filmmaking, but in LIFE.
Kudos to both of them.
How does a ‘terrible' movie make $300 million in three days?
Transformers: Age of Extinction made $300 million in its first weekend of release. That number is insane, even by the standards of a Hollywood blockbuster, and shows the power of an international opening weekend.
The movie took in $90 million in China, an industry record. Not counting marketing spend, the movie has already made back its budget and will likely be profitable overall by next week if this pace continues.
The fourth Transformers movie is one of the biggest hits of the year. It's also one of the worst-reviewed movies of the year, with critics getting out their sharpest barbs to heap scorn on a film that's seen as loud, nonsensical and pandering. The reviews don't matter, though; the people who showed up and bought their ticket tell the story, especially overseas.
The importance of the Chinese market has become an interesting story when it comes to these films with huge budgets, and Chinese appeal is baked into the movie when possible. There was an entirely different cut of Iron Man 3 for China, and Paramount was careful to shoot part of Age of Extinction in China and to feature a high-profile Chinese actor. The Chinese audience was courted just as hard as the United States, and it paid off.
The larger the budget of your film, the more likely the studio will “ask” you to make it attractive to Chinese audiences. Wikipedia describes Age of Extinction as an “American-Chinese science fiction action film.”
There's a story here that's more interesting than “stupid people like stupid movies,” and that's what I'd love to explore. Why are these movies, which everyone seems to agree are terrible, such big hits? This isn't Pacific Rim, which was a fun, well-crafted movie that struggled to justify its budget while also making overtures to Chinese audiences; this is an example of one of the biggest film releases in the history of cinema. For a movie everyone claims to hate.
What's going on?
|Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before|
(cover photo credit: snap from Polygon)