Between May and the end of August, Hollywood wheels out its biggest and brightest and the battle for the summer box office can make stars or break them. One or two producers will have been given a key to the executive bathroom and others will now have to sell their classic car collection and move back in with their parents for a while.
I do hope none of you had to sit through Nine Lives. I have a sneaking suspicion that Kevin Spacey’s participation was filmed without his knowledge, Bowfinger-style. It’s hard to imagine any other explanation for his involvement in this, the least amusing comedy of the past ten years, directed – you will scarcely believe – by Men In Black’s Barry Sonnenfeld.
The Nice Guys’ lack of success was especially frustrating, since it was (for me at least) the best film of the summer and as the only studio movie designed for adults, I had expected it to corner a market and thrive. It’s precisely these kind of well-made, mid-budget studio movies that (as many critics have recently highlighted) don’t get made these days, and every time one fails at the box office, the likelihood of more being made gets ever smaller.
The biggest and most baffling failure of the summer was The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s brilliant, $140m Roald Dahl fantasy which came lollopping out of Cannes speckled with the fairy-dust of critical adoration, only to make $54m! That’s less than Now You See Me 2 made, and who the hell went to see that? Spielberg must be scratching his head, but at least he can console himself that in the UK, The BFG’s gross was appropriately big and friendly.
But enough talk of failure! Let’s keep the Olympic feel-good factor going and deal with the ten movies that crossed the finishing line and did a Mobot-style gesture as they did so.
At Number 10 it’s The Legend of Tarzan with a pretty respectable $125million.
This is one of 13 summer movies to break past the golden 100 million dollar threshold – bit of a dip from the 19 movies to break the seal in 2013. Bless them, you could actually hear everyone bending over backwards trying not to offend anyone, but it still somehow managed to upset everyone.
Making a bit of hash out of not being controversial notwithstanding, it was a surprise to see such an old fashioned period action adventure film doing so well. Oh, and this might not be the last time Margot Robbie’s name gets mentioned…