We can all agree that 2017 was a thing, right? It was a weird year with its ups and downs, a year that saw people coming together but also tearing each other apart. But, I’m not here to give you a moral and/or political view of 2017, I’m here to talk hype and numbers. That’s right, I’m talking about the films we expected to blow up but ended up being a huge stinky flop.
So, without further ado lets jump into number five!
5. Logan Lucky
I caught Logan Lucky in the cinema and had a great time with it. It’s a fun heist movie following the unlucky Logan family as they stage a huge robbery during a NASCAR event. It has a great cast with Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, and Daniel Craig along with a heart-warming and fun action-comedy story. What more could you want!?
I really enjoyed this film, but sadly it was bought by its box office numbers. Let’s do some ‘quick mafs’: the film’s budget was $29m, plus half of that again for advertising brining the overall cost to around $43.5m. Then its box office total came in to $46.5m, making the film only (‘only’ haha) $3m in profit.
— The Newplex (@thenewplex) August 30, 2017
By Hollywood standards this film is a flop, which is a huge shame because it sets itself up for a sequel (where the Logan’s will be investigated by the FBI) very nicely. Maybe the film didn’t make much money because it wasn’t advertised enough and/or wrongly. It was advertised as just a heist movie with a crazy blonde Daniel Craig and a one-armed Adam Driver.
But for all the fans there may be some hope, this film has done so well critically that it holds some promise for a sequel that could win back the studio some profit. Fingers crossed.
4. Ghost in the Shell
Set in the near future neo-Japan, humans have developed the science to become androids – and that’s exactly what happened to Major (Scarlett Johansson). The story follows Major as she tries to unravel her past all whilst she thwarts a cyber-terrorist threat.
Now then, we can see partially why this film was a flop straight away because – well – it’s slightly racist… Racist in the way that it whitewashes a story set in Japan. The film’s main cast is predominately white European/American with Johansson as the lead. Yet arguably none of the main actors hold any of the mythical stardom drawing power – so there’s really no excuse as to why any Asian/Japanese talent weren’t cast.
Anyway, rant over. This film had a budget of $110m, and again another half of that initial budget to go on advertising, bringing the total to $165m. In the event, it only just managed to break even with a worldwide box office of $169m. To the big bosses up in Paramount, this film got them nothing – and so it shouldn’t have.
Still, lessons were learnt – and it paved the way for a possible Akira adaptation helmed by Get Out director Jordan Peele.
After a home invasion on Matt Damon’s family home, he must face all odds as he tackles insurance fraud and a big suburban neighbourhood shake up. In theory this film sounds like a barrel of laughs as it shares similar traits with the TV show Fargo; a dark comedy woven in and out of a serious crime drama.
The cast of this project seemed pretty promising, with the likes of Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac. But with the director being George Clooney, you can guess where it all went wrong.
To the numbers! Budget with advertising came in at a rough $37.5m, though the film took a laughable $5.5m in cinemas. Just awful to see. It was a film I was very interested in until I saw all the reviews saying how bad it was, left with a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 28%.
Not good at all. An all round flop.
I know the effect these kinds of numbers have on other studios looking to do a dark comedy murder drama, but I still crave to see one done properly and I think most audiences do to. Until then I will be waiting patiently for Fargo season 3 to come to Netflix.
A real events-based drama set in 1967 at the Algiers Motel during the Detroit riots, racial tensions were insanely high and the controversy of America’s involvement in Vietnam raged on. The film showed in shocking detail a small sample of the police brutality suffered by the black community; from carelessness to straight up murder (this film is not for the faint hearted).
The cast included Anthony Mackie, John Boyega, Will Poulter, and director Kathryn Bigelow who all did an amazing job at conveying the right emotions for a nail-biting experience. It’s a film I greatly enjoyed, giving it four stars in my Newplex review.
Sadly then, if we play the numbers game again, we can see quite clearly that this film didn’t do so well at the box office. Budget plus advertising came in at a modest $51m, but the box office earned a mere $16.5m – losing its studio around $34.5m.
Of course this film wasn’t set up for a sequel or anything like that, but it did send a message to small studios to say that this genre of factual race crime drama is not wanted enough right now. It’s deemed too risky so therefore moments in history like these won’t get the exposure they deserve in mainstream cinema. Which is a shame, because if history has taught us anything it’s that it repeats itself which is why we so need to learn from our past mistakes…. Rant over, again.
1. Live by Night
Batfleck stars a gangster who starts his own business in Florida during the prohibition era, all while fending off the competition and the Ku Klux Klan. Not as Batman but as regular Boston-bred Ben Affleck, he must ‘Live by Night’…?
With this film, Affleck tried to prove himself as a quadruple threat by acting, directing, producing and writing in this thing. I can say confidently that it didn’t work, hence why it’s on this list. This film suffered a severe case of trying too hard at escaping your other huge role (as Batman) and trying to do everything yourself. It was no secret that whilst Affleck did the press tour for this film he was always asked questions about the upcoming projects to do with Batman, it’s not something you want to hear when you’ve put so much effort and time into a project only for journalists to not want to talk about it. No wonder he wants to find a ‘cool’ way out of the DCEU.
Let’s get to the numbers. Budget ($65m) + advertising ($89.5m) = $154.5m, but the box office only made $22m worldwide. If you haven’t already done the maths, then this film lost around $132.5m for Warner Bros. Ouch.
If my reaction wasn’t enough, you can see that the investment into this project wasn’t worth it as it also got lowly 35% on Rotten Tomatoes. Though this flop is slightly unusual for Affleck as he directed great films like Argo, The Town, and Gone Baby Gone.
Dishonourable mention: The Emoji Movie
Proof that kid-dollars are a strong form of currency, this backwards concept of a film has made too much money this year. Budget with advertising for this film was a rough $75m, with a worldwide gross of $216.5m (leaving Sony/Colombia a nice $141.5m in), *sighs heavily*.
Everyone that knew about this project also knew it was a backwards idea, but the target audience proved something really rather depressing about Hollywood success. I guess we can look forward to whatever Sony adaptation they want to next. I’ll pitch a few right now, The Monopoly Movie, The Connect Four Movie, a good Spiderman movie, The Doodle Jump movie…
Honourable mention: Baby Driver
Through the shitstorm of movies that came out this year, the one film that came out clean on the other side was Baby Driver (despite what we now understand to be unfortunate casting), this film is another testament as to why Edgar Wright is king behind the camera.
The film is filled with high speed action, great music, psychopathic villains, and criminal bad-asses. It’s a definite must-watch if you already haven’t – there’s a character in this film for everyone!
So, the production budget was $34m, plus around $17m in advertising, bringing the overall budget to a very reasonable $51m. Against that disciplined spend, Baby Driver made a beautiful $176m for its studio. I say, what a great investment that was!
What I would like to see is this studio give Edgar another $34m to play with just see what he can whip up next, personally I would to see him try a Kung-Fu movie.
Thank you for reading this end-of-year article. It was a joy to write; I like the numbers game! If you liked this article then give us a share and or a like, if you would like to talk movies and numbers with me then hit me up on Twitter at @charliewarnerw. If you didn’t like this post then I hope you get sent to hell and forced to watch The Emoji Movie and all it’s successors for eternity!