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Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Game of Hollywood Chicken

     2012 is churning into the 4th quarter. In 92 days, 2013 will take the stage. The 2013 schedule seems very promising right now. Not surprising, there are a lot of sequels, but many of these sequels are ones that I actually want to see; same should go for many people. Many of the original movies that have been announced also seem like they could take the box office by surprise. That's the thing about original movies though, the reception to them is going to be a surprise, but with sequels, it is easy to get a general consensus of how the movie may do since it is an established brand. 
     Star Trek 2, Iron Man 3, Smurfs 2, Grown Ups 2 (Adam Sandler's first sequel), Scary Movie 5, 300 2, Catching Fire, Hobbit 2, GI Joe 2, and Kick Ass 2 are a handful scheduled for next year, but there are two sequels coming out, that is attracting a lot of attention- The Hangover Part 3 and Fast and Furious Six.
     Why is this so with these two movies? Because Warner Brothers and Universal are playing "chicken" with them. Both are slated to be released on May 24, 2013, Memorial weekend in the US. Why is this a problem? Every weekend of the year has more than one movie being released right? Well, right, but when it comes to movies of this caliber, it is not a good idea.
     The Hangover Part 2 was the sequel to the 2009 mega surprise hit. Hangover 2 was so anticipated that it became the 2nd highest R-rated opening weekend of all time, even though opening on a Thursday (Thursday is not considered part of the OW). But Hangover 2 seemed to disappoint the masses after it ended up being more of Hangover 1: The Asia Remix. Hangover 2 still did insane, finishing #4 for 2011, but it was off from Hangover 1, and left an iffy feeling in most people's head. Fast Five was a surprise last year when it broke the April record, finished #6 for the year, and scored positive critic reviews. This bodes well for the sequel; if people liked the 5th, theyll show up for the 6th. Both franchises are extremely popular, but both being released on the same weekend could absolutely kill each others potential.
     Both movies appeal to everyone, but the teen/adult male crowd is what would have the most impact. Guys want to see raunchy comedy, but they also want to see explosions and cars and exotic women, and I doubt too many would pay for both so close together. Hangover 3 I am 99% sure will be R and Fast Six im 99% sure will be PG-13, but still both attract adults and with today's prices and most people having lives, seeing two movies so close together, especially on a holiday weekend, is a big stretch. Also, Star Trek 2 is slated for release a week before, Man of Steel two weeks ahead, and Iron Man will be heading into weekend 4. That's a lot of action movies very close together. A family film and adult action film can work together (Wall E and Wanted), or a thriller film and romantic drama (Safe House and Vow), but two movies that attract basically the same audience on the same weekend? Someone is going to pay. WB and Uni are playing hard chicken. One of these movies needs to move and the studios are waiting to see who will flinch first, if either does. The Hangover franchise found success in June and Fast and Furious 1-5 has found success in the Spring, so why is May 24 so holy? No big reason really.
     Hollywood releases most "tentpoles" on holiday weekends because the extra day off means more people at the movies, but that logic in a way is flawed. A movie that makes $15 million on Memorial Monday can still make that same $15 million over the course of days if it was released on a normal date. Hollywood seems to think that if they miss out on this, then that $15 million wont be accounted for; they are wrong. All people want is a good product. Make a truly good movie and market it well and people will show up, no matter the date. The reason these holidays are so big is because its a holiday; people off of work and kids out of school, but if the movie is good, then most people will find time to see the movie if they really want too. No one is going to say "I am not seeing that movie because it comes out on April 30, but I will see the ones that come out on May 1."
     I personally would chose to see Fast Six over Hangover 3, but Fast Six should be the car that swerves this time. Fast has shown Universal that it can succeed especially in June or April, though the latter is a better option. July 19th-21st is also a weekend that would not be a bad choice. Even if Hangover 3 gets the "coveted" Memorial weekend, there is a great possibility that F6 can make more bank in the longrun. That July date or a Spring date will also treat F6 with less competition as June is starting to look insanely full as well. This has happened before, studios will both chose a date and wait for one another to bail out, most often, one does, and if Universal and Warner Brothers wants to save their two prime jewels from slaughtering each other throughout their runs, one needs to make the sacrifice. A weekend is a weekend; pump out a great movie and the audience will be in the seat with jumbo popcorn. Its only Fall, next Summer is a while away; a decision may not even be made until next Spring, but in this situation, you, the studio, wont be considered a "coward" if you move, especially if your millions is involved, and us moviegoers, may thank you.

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