What is everyone excited about right now?
It seems to me that the answer is scary… scarier than Barbarian.
The NFL is back. People love their teams. But is there a sense of excitement in the air? Not really. Things are just settling out. More people are disappointed with soft starts than thrilled about surprise success after 2 weeks.
The foursome of Fall Festivals has come and gone. And what are people REALLY excited about? The Fabelmans… which won’t be available for public viewing until the second half of November. The Whale arrives on December 9. And beyond that…
It’s not that there aren’t other excellent movies. Or that we won’t all enjoy seeing many of them.
But I worry that we are learning how to care less than ever before. We’re in our 8th straight weekend with the total box office under $100 million. 23 on the year, out of 37 total weekends. In 2019, by Weekend 37, there had been only 2 weekends under $100 million, total.
Personally, I loved Barbarian. But I saw Barbarian (twice). I love Moonage Daydream. Because I saw Moonage Daydream.
Barbarian has done really well considering the circumstance. But had it been released the way films like that used to be handled, it would likely be at double the gross now, if not more. $90 million domestic for the also excellent The Black Phone. There should be a thousand WTF stories about Barbarian. People should be being dared to go down the stairs to see it.
Moonage is already over $1 million… a strong show for a doc. Great. But there are only so many IMAX screens in the world and it should be one of the movies on them for the next month… not happening.
Barbarian and The Woman King will both open in September and gross over $30 million in September. So will Don’t Worry Darling, probably. If Bros wasn’t opening on the last day of the month, it would likely join this group.
Will any of them get to $60 million domestic? I wouldn’t count on it. Bros has the best shot, but it will make almost all its money in October.
But that’s 4 originals doing all the heavy lifting. Not a single new franchise film (not counting the re-release of Avatar… which I thoroughly enjoyed).
This is what September 2019 looked like…
Two originals and four franchise titles released in September and cracking $30 million during the month.
Where are the franchise movies, industry?
Black Adam, for one, could have been in September. But mostly, these movies just don’t exist. Disney threw Pinocchio onto Disney+. How did it do? No idea, as even the not-100% Nielsen ratings don’t exist yet. They released the numbers on the last week of August today.
At best, Ticket To Paradise is counter-programming to Black Adam. But, Universal is actually releasing comedies into the marketplace. So only one a month (Bros) is a fair choice. Can’t blame them.
The distributors just didn’t make movies that could be opening wide in September and October… for a price and without the challenge of pushing out major digital effects while others are also pushing their movies out.
And what about TV?
The story of this month was supposed to be the Lord of the Rings spin-off on Amazon and the prequel to Game of Thrones on HBO. Both are doing well.
Does anyone really care?
I’m not trying to be mean. I just mean that for all the hype and build-up of both, the response has been… okay.
The return of Abbott Elementary is making people happy. But how many? 2.8 million viewers.
In baseball, Aaron Judge is working towards hitting the most home runs ever without steroids. I care. I am a Yankees fan. But is this a national craze, anything like the runs of The Steroid Boys Of Summer? No.
Netflix? There’s a new Creedence doc. Blonde is coming. Jo Koy. Liss Pereira.
Hulu? I adore the new series, Reboot, on the streamer. But no one I mention it to knows what I am talking about.
Hey… the 6th episode of She-Hulk. I am still enjoying it. But it’s a likeable kind of enjoyment… like Ghosts or something.
Did I mention that there is a new show that cost $50 million per episode? Wow!!! Response is… okay!!!!
House of The Dragon is being compared to telenovelas… plus dragons. Remember how shocking Game of Thrones could be? So far, we have a character we have never met before fall off a horse, someone getting fired for being too Peter Rice-y, and a character who can’t get it up to act on the intention of incest. WOOO!!!!
Didn’t Khalisi see her brother melted to death by a super-hot crown and get her clothes burned off by dragons by this part of that first Thrones season? (Maybe I’m off a few episodes.)
Oh, look! Travolta as Gotti from 2018 is freshly on Peacock!
The Good Fight is back for its final episode on Paramount+!
Okay… so there isn’t a lot of new content. Seduce me with your great library. Get me to watch something I’ve never seen before! Make an effort!
Is the result of having ALL THIS ACCESS that we will always feel like none of it is really important?
My God… are we really waiting on advertising invading streaming completely before these companies start fighting for audiences again instead of doing the Netflix Dump and hoping you’ll look at the app and like the little picture in the box enough to watch?
There is so little excitement out there that the damned trades look like… like… like… trades!!!
After Variety pulled up Olivia Wilde’s skirt and showed her ass by mistake, she is literally showing her ass on the cover of Vanity Fair… BUT IT’S OLD NEWS ALREADY! (Not her ass, the stories from Don’t Worry Darling.) No one cares anymore except her publicist and Stephen Colbert.
I’m headed to Bros and I hope to laugh my ass off and experience a little passion.
I want every movie to be the best I have ever seen.
I want every TV show to be the best ever.
I am excited by Aaron Judge’s pursuit… makes me smile… but the World Series isn’t until October and that is the thing for which I am really hungry.
My NFL team is 2-0, but DirecTV screwed up access for the first 2 weekends and it still feels like a dream. In the next week, they could easily be 2-2. Meh.
There is so much good work out there. But marketers are barely marketing all but a small segment of it. And when you get used to really, really good, Great becomes a much bigger challenge, it seems to me.
I wish us all luck. We deserve greatness. Not just looking back. Looking forward too.
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Reboot is hysterical
David, the passion is concentrated in what our society has squeezed into smaller cultural communities. A fine example is the intense excitement in the reading community this fall, both with the incredible roster of authors with new books and the upcoming major prizes (the Booker, the National Book Award). Anyone paying attention to that part of culture is hearing the noise. The passion is concentrated in the cultural communities for those interests people deeply care about, which tend to not be mass-market sectors, like TV and movies. There’s just too much stuff out there. This week, I found the astounding Ti West horror double-bill this with the equally astounding Mia Goth—PEARL and X—and of course few are paying much attention. Did enough people go crazy and jump up and down about SEVERANCE? Not nearly enough in my judgment; perhaps in a smaller universe of stuff, it would have made a far bigger splash and excitement. It also doesn’t really matter, because those of us who found it and loved it had a great experience. That’s fine. The kind of mass-public excitement you’re noting is increasingly rare in this culture; you have to turn to the cultural niches (turned into niches by corporate-driven priorities and marketing) to find that excitement. A decade ago, the great author George Saunders would have filled a bookstore for a reading-signing, or maybe a modest room. Now, he’s commanding theaters, like Zipper Hall downtown. Same with Jennifer Egan. Relatively explosive audience growth. The folks following these authors (and many others) are damned excited. You won’t hear about it on network TV (oh wait—Saunders appears regularly on Colbert!) but it’s there. You just need to know where to go find it. But it’s not always easy. Actually, THAT’S the problem…