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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How 'Guardians' and 'Turtles' Have Changed Us

      On August 1, we were introduced to Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot. On August 1, we were also introduced to a new way the Hollywood scheduling game will be played. Before the release, even days before, people were skeptical of Guardians' potential. "Marvel's first flop?" "Will audiences connect with the characters?" "Will Guardians damage the Marvel brand?" "Are the characters too silly?" All these and more were asked until Guardians' midnight numbers rolled in. Groot and co. ended up grossing $94.3 million over the weekend: beating the undoubtedly more popular Spiderman and X-Men and falling only $1 million behind Captain America, which already opened to a surprising high. Yeah, so what, right? Plenty of movies have already opened to $94 million or higher: 31 to be exact, so why is Guardians so special? Well because Guardians, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have changed the game for the future.
     What makes Guardians' $94 million opening so impressive, other than it was it an original and unknown franchise, was that it did it in August. August in the past has mainly been seen as a dumping ground for Hollywood movies that were too good for September, but not sexy enough for the prime out-of-school days. Before Guardians, the highest opening for August was Bourne Ultimatum with $69 million. Even with inflation, it falls short of Guardians. Next up was 2001's Rush Hour 2 with $67 million. In terms of attendance, Rush Hour 2 still holds the crown. But that doesn't diminish Guardians' success. What's even more impressive is that a little, already hated by the internet movie called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was able to post the 4th best August opening of all time with $65.5 million the next weekend. Back-to-back weekends of over $170 million from the top 12 movies. No one saw it coming. This August is the first to gross $1 billion in sales, and saved summer 2014 from being a complete disaster. It was still a disaster, but not complete! This is also the first time in the modern era that August has beaten July, and that an August movie has finished #1 for the summer. 
     Guardians and Turtles have shown that you can still have a blockbuster opening in August; and not only opening, but also legs. Guardians, Turtles, Let's Be Cops, and other releases last month have been legging it out better than most of the bulimic May-July releases. Guardians is already the highest grossing movie of the year and will eventually reach $300 million. Turtles still has a shot at $200 million, and Let's Be Cops had a soft opening, but will finish higher than other higher-profile summer comedies Sex Tape, A Million Ways to Die, Blended, and Think Like A Man 2. Already, studios are starting to flood August 2015, '16, '17 and beyond will higher profile movies. The previous problem has been studios trying to cram everything in May-July, mainly May, but thanks to the success of Guardians and Turtles, August has been given new hope.
     Guardians' success also means more assemble movies, and Turtles' means more 80 and 90's nostalgia. Guardians gave Marvel new confidence, and now they have announced Inhumans. Sony has now put Sinister Six back on track, and Fox has something up their sleeve with their Fantastic Four and X-Men franchises. Warner may also be exploring the possibilities of assembles outside of Justice League. Del Toro's dreamed Justice League Dark could also possibly get off the ground. Turtles, that Saved By the Bell special, a Full House revival: the 80's and 90's is about to take back over, and deservedly so. But thanks the success of Turtles, one 90's franchise has just struck a July 2016 date: Power Rangers. That's right, they're bringing back Power Rangers. The possible reboot had been announced before Turtles was released, but after Hollywood saw decades-old Turtles shocking success, Lionsgate quickly found a date. With so many great things to come out of the 90's, don't be surprised to soon hear more announcements. Animaniacs? Doug? Seinfeld: The S#8t They Didn't Show? We'll see.
     October and April have also been seeing massive success lately, and March is now a certified powerhouse month, so hopefully this will lead to movies being more spread out in the future. One of the most shocking date announcements is Batman vs Superman being released in March, instead of the traditional summer. This movie is arguably the most anticipated of 2016, and is with Avengers 2  for near future movies, but it just screamed summer. But, this is a good thing. Warner Brothers has confidence that people will still see the two most popular heros, no matter the month, and they're correct. Does this mean the end of the summer season and beginning of the spread out 12-month fiscal year? No. Summer's still crammed, and for the most part, any movie with a budget of $150 million or higher is still finding home there, but it does mean that thanks to some newfound confidence, and breakout movies, these films will have more room to breathe. What if Guardians had underperformed, or even performed at expectations? What if Turtles had flopped like the internet was waiting for, or what if it had a modest, typical opening of $30-40 million? Hollywood still hasn't completely learned their lesson, and August may still stay 2nd-tier for a while, but Guardians and Turtles have broken some stigmas and given the studios confidence, showing they had a bigger impact other than their numbers on the 2014 box office calendar.