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28 July 2006 @ 11:21 am
unspectacular box office  

I guess I'm continuing the trend of once-a-month postings, based on my neglect of daily or even weekly updates.  Oh well.   Life's busy.  And this is still fun.

I wanted to just put in my $.02 on a comment that's popped up about the less-than-stupendous box office numbers for Superman Returns.  This is pretty much what I had also posted earlier on my co-owned media message board,
Wicked Insanity, and it's just a little wordy, so I'll hide it under the cut.

Quote: "The movie is a box office bust".

In sum, I wouldn't really consider $291 million worldwide (as of last weekend) poor, just disappointing in relation to what the budget for the film turned out to be.  Most films would be ecstatic to reach those numbers, but as has been stated many times, the actual production costs for this film amounted to around $200-205 million.  And again, it must be remembered that this final film also had to absorb the pre-production starts and stalls of other conceived films with WB over the last decade, adding another $50-60 million (or more) to the weight of the financing.

Basically, this movie had a lot stacked against it from the onset.  It's not the first-ever film version for a comic (like the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises) and it's not a re-launch origin story, either (like Batman Begins).  It's a continuation of an established continuity that started 28 years ago - before much of the current movie-going public was even born - and an attempt to revive a franchise that was humilated by the last two sequels in the 80's.  Not to mention the competition for "blockbuster" status it faced this summer - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - which is inexplicably turning out to be one of the fastest- and highest-grossers ever.  No film would have looked favorable in comparison to a movie that last weekend became the fastest ever to reach $300 million domestically, and on pace to speed to the $400 million mark, too.

On top of that - as much as it pains me - Superman as a character just isn't what the current majority audience of comic readers and comic-to-film watchers wants to see.  He's not an anti-hero, or a "darkened" good guy with mountains of baggage forming his existence.  He's not a human "everyman" who can be related to an average person with a newfound ability.  He's the physical embodiment of doing the right thing, because its the right thing, with a strong moral center and desire to help because he can.  Always perceived as the "big blue boy scout", Superman has seen his cultural popularity affected by the times and changing society in which we live, and what is deemed "cool" or cutting edge.

In spite of this, though, Superman as an icon is still regarded as the greatest and most widely recognized figure in all of comics - and pretty much in most of pop-culture in general, too.  Right now, Superman Returns is around the same box office figures for WB as Batman Begins last year (just a little ahead of that film at the same point, but starting to fade a little faster).  I would expect the final worldwide figures to be in the mid-$300 million range, possibly a little higher, with a larger bulk of the final revenues coming from DVD sales and rentals in the fall, and the already over $1.4 billion in ancillary merchandising sales.

Sure, I would have loved to see this film crack $300 million or more domestically, but realistically I wasn't expecting much more than where it's headed right now.  Certain articles have brought up supposed threats from Warner Bros., with a $200 million domestic gross as the determining factor whether a sequel is made.  That 'news' should be taken with a grain of salt, since after last weekend's 2006 Comic Con in San Diego, Bryan Singer has every intention of helming a sequel to be released in 2009. Mentions of such can be found HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, among other places.

Granted, a sequel isn't a rock-solid sure thing just yet, but I doubt the greenlight for it will be too far off.  The franchise is too big, and too much has gone into this re-launch to just abandon the continuity now that re-introductions to these characters are out of the way.  Another film won't have the added pre-production baggage, and a lot of the effects technology will be now familiar and less expensive, helping to allow for an inevitable budget scale-back, probably below $200 million, in the $175-$180 million dollar range - where this film originally was greenlit.  And Singer looks to include more of the action that audiences seem to crave, so I would compare this franchise to how he handled X-Men and X2: X-Men United.  I really liked the first, and was crazy about the second.  As much as I am enamored with Superman Returns, I'm more than anxious to see where Singer takes this follow-up, and he deserves the opportunity.

Jeff: Superman - AlexRoss1j_mac179 on July 28th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up on that, Cin. I actually went back and posted it to the group. That's as good a place as any to spread my brain spew from time to time.

I figured you would be busy this week with the end of the month stuff. And no - I have yet to receive my Done the Impossible package, either - along with a couple of other items I've ordered, and it's starting to make me very wary of the mailing/shipping of online purchases in general. Why can't shit just work like it's supposed to?

Anyway - I should be free to chat tomorrow night (unless I'm out at a movie - who knows). Just leave me a message if I'm not available, and I'll hit you back ASAP.

I need to make a point to try and get online at home this weekend some, to update my photobucket a bit, and add some more userpics here for my LJ (mainly stuff you've made, heh).

*sigh* It's not 4:30 yet? Back to the grind for a bit.