by Adrian Hackney on Friday, September 30th, 2016
Summer movies failed to live up to what I imagined and left me disappointed. What led Rolling Stone writer Charles Bramesco to call the summer of 2016 “the grisliest summer movie season in recent memory”? The two main causes of my dissatisfaction were the sequels and a lack of standout hits.
One would assume that due to the success of their predecessors, sequels would excel this summer. However, The WSJ’s Erich Schwartzel states that, among thirteen summer sequels, only three sequels, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, and The Purge: Election Year, had better “opening weekend gross [totals]” than the movies that preceded them. The ten other promising sequels struggled and failed to lure large audiences into theatres.
Movies like Star Trek Beyond, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Jason Bourne all fell short of expectations. Although Finding Dory nearly doubled Finding Nemo’s weekend gross, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising made less than half of its predecessor’s weekend gross. For the most part, the sequel category performed poorly.
When thinking about the summer movie season, I also noticed that this summer lacked big hits. Evan Jenness (III) said The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory were the only two movies he watched this summer. Few movies motivated people enough to give up their time and money to visit the theatre.
A movie’s hype and its success are inextricably linked: without the former, the latter is impossible. Take Captain America: Civil War. Alyssa Dunn (III) says “I’ve always loved Marvel movies, so when I saw that there was going to be a movie with all my favorite characters, I was very excited.” Not only did Alyssa go to the opening weekend, but she also went a second time because she loved the film so much. Captain America: Civil War is a perfect example of a movie that turned immense promise into ticket sales; according to the Wall Street Journal, the movie grossed nearly $175 million in its opening weekend alone. If more movies had sparked such eagerness, the summer movie season would have undoubtedly been more successful.
Though mostly underwhelming, the summer movie selection did give audiences some films worthy of celebration. According to Box Office Mojo, the summer’s top grossing movies were Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War, and The Secret Life of Pets. Evan Jenness (III) described Finding Dory as “moving and gripping until the very end.” These hits remind us that the 2016 summer movie season was not a total disappointment.
The summer movie season was not a complete flop, but Charles Bramesco still makes a valid point. Hopefully, this past summer will be a lesson and reality check for the movie industry. As cinematographer Conrad Hall once said, “You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”
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