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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Talking Animal Takeover


     While diversity has become a pressing issue in pretty much every aspect of society today (America's changing demographics, inclusion on TV, #OscarsSoWhite, etc), it seems American moviegoers this year haven't demanded a diverse lineup and instead have slimmed down their genre preferences. 2016 has been an alright, albeit unusually top-heavy year at the box office. Yet when it comes to this year's box office, two genres have emerged as kings. Superhero movies and talking animal animation have single-handedly taken over domestic cinemas and studio receipt books.
     As of this post, the current #1 domestic movie is Finding Dory (talking animal). What occupies the #2? Captain America: Civil War (superhero). #3: The Secret Life of Pets (talking animal), #4: The Jungle Book (talking animal), #5: Deadpool (superhero), #6: Zootopia (talking animal), #7: Batman vs Superman (superhero), and #8: Suicide Squad (young adult book adaption...kidding, kidding, they're superhero...or anti-heroes?). #9 for now: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), #10: Doctor Strange (superhero), Star Trek Beyond (science-fiction), #12: X-Men: Apocalypse (superhero), and last, but not least is Kung Fu Panda 3 at #13. 
     If you've lost track, that's talking animal, superhero, talking animal, talking animal, superhero, talking animal, superhero, superhero, Matt Damon, superhero, sci-fi, superhero, and talking animal.
  While we're finally done with superhero adaptions for the year, Disney's Moana and Illumination's Sing both have very solid chances to crack the top 10. 
     While the talking animal takeover has been generally stronger this year, not every film has passed the test. Scrat and the gang have long overstayed their welcome with Ice Age: Collision CourseTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 ended up netting $82 million over the summer, but that's a far cry from its 2014 predecessor's $191 million. One of the years biggest bombs was Alice Through the Looking Glass. While there's plenty of human characters, I'm pretty sure there's a talking rabbit somewhere in the movie. Nine Lives was released about 16 years too late. And Warner Brothers' Storks wasn't a bomb, but it's $70 million total could be seen as a momentum killer.
     While the abundance of superheroes and animals seem like overkill, it's actually not a far cry from 10 years ago. The 2006 top 11? Pirates, family fantasy, talking cars, superhero, Da Vinci Code, superhero, talking animal, talking animal, James Bond, homeless Will Smith, and talking animal. We've always had a fondness for talking animals and that doesn't seem to be disappearing anytime soon, but the superhero craze is now in full force. Every year, box office analysts and nerds predict that it's the year audiences grow tired, but every year tells us otherwise. Maybe 2017 really will be the year we grow tired. Or maybe the top 10 will again end up a hot potato between superheroes and talking dogs.
     It does make you wonder: if animals really could talk, what would be co-king at the box office with superheroes? Talking kitchen appliances? Hmm, it's possible.

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