There’s got to be a word for this in the urban dictionary someplace, but darned if I can locate it. It’s probably some sort of “transference” phenomenon in the psychiatric sphere. So what do you call it when you produce a product which is awful and you blame its poor reception on the people who all agree that it’s awful? When you find the correct terminology for that you can apply it to the Hollywood moguls who were responsible for the production of the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean film and that long awaited (/sarc) Baywatch flick. That’s because they both tanked at the box office but insiders say that the only reason the ticket sales were so poor is that the movies received bad reviews. (Daily Beast)
And in the wake of the dual box office shipwreck, industry publication Deadline reported that insiders close to the movies are not happy with critics for warning people off these sinking ships. (Puns are over, I swear.)
The Deadline piece cited the rancid Rotten Tomatoes scores for the films—32 percent for Pirates; 19 percent for Baywatch—and argued that the aggregation site, which runs its scores on movie ticket purchaser Fandango, is to blame for the bad box office returns. Not, you know, the fact that the films were bad themselves.
It’s the chicken or the egg argument, only in actuality these movies are definitely the chickens and they’ve laid rotten eggs, so critics are saying “hey, these eggs are rotten!” and it turns out most people just don’t enjoy rotten eggs.
Let me preface the rest of this by confessing that I didn’t see either of these films and have no plans to head out to the theater to do so.
So Pirates took in $78M on the opening weekend. Actually, that’s more than a lot of movies make in total, so you’d think it wouldn’t be that bad. But for this franchise, that probably barely covered Johnny Depp’s salary and the total cost of the film was closer to a quarter billion, so… not so great. Baywatch hauled in $28M which is probably a solid $26M higher than some of the critics expected.
Do bad reviews influence how well a film does at the box office? I can’t see how they wouldn’t. I’ve also heard arguments about how our mobile sharing culture is ruining a lot of things with rankings and reviews, such as how a group of malcontents can tank the start-up of a new eatery with a calculated series of poor Yelp reviews. But those are all choices the user makes. If you don’t have any faith in reviews you probably don’t read them anyway. But if you’ve used such services and found that the reviews tend to be in sync with your own tastes it probably works out fairly well. Yet even if this “Yelp Effect” is real in terms of movie reviews, you don’t want to go blaming the paying public.
I’m more curious about how anyone managed to screw up a Pirates of the Caribbean movie that badly. Jack Sparrow seems to be the character that Depp was born to play. No matter how messed up he might be these days you should be able to get him in costume, wind him up, unleash him on the set and get something usable. And it’s a movie about pirates. With pirate ships and fights and all that stuff. Heck, I might still watch it when it comes on cable. As for the Baywatch film… I’ve not yet reached that level of self-loathing.
If Hollywood really wants to work on fixing something internally (in addition to making better movies that people actually want to go see) perhaps they could also produce stuff that ISIS won’t want to use in their own propaganda films. (Hollywood Reporter)
Think Clint Eastwood and ISIS have nothing in common? Think again.
Footage from Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers (2006) has found its way into the 22-minute propaganda short Healing of the Believers’ Chests, created by the terror group. And a shot mimicking the 86-year-old director and well-known Republican’s American Sniper (2014) appears in another ISIS video, Shoot to Redeem Yourself 2, which re-creates Sniper’s slow-motion image of a bullet fired from a rifle.
Both exemplify the increased use of Hollywood footage in videos made by ISIS, which is “deliberately and strategically using these references,” says Lara Pham, deputy director of the Counter Extremism Project, an organization (co-founded by former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend and other foreign-policy experts) that has analyzed 1,275 films made by ISIS media companies.
Wait a minute. ISIS has put out 1,275 movies? It took thirty years just for Ender’s Game to start shooting. I see they use really catchy names, too. I’d almost want to go see Shoot to Redeem Yourself 2, but I missed the first one when it was in theaters and I’d probably miss most of the nuance of this one without the context. I honestly don’t have anything to tie this ISIS story to the first one about the bad reviews for those new films, but it just seemed too good not to share.