The Rot­ten Toma­toes ef­fect and why Hol­ly­wood’s had a bum­mer of a sum­mer

The Week Middle East - - Arts -

This sum­mer’s cin­ema re­leases have been dom­i­nated by lazy se­quels in fran­chises we’re grown bored of, said Dave Holmes in Esquire. “A fifth Trans­form­ers. A fifth Pi­rates of the Caribbean. A mil­lionth Planet of the Apes, a tril­lionth Alien.” Is it any won­der that au­di­ences are stay­ing away? The in­dus­try has just re­ported a dis­as­trous drop in sum­mer ticket sales of 10.8% on last year.

One rea­son peo­ple aren’t go­ing to the cin­ema is that modern TV is so much bet­ter. “The talk of last sum­mer was Stranger Things, and the talk this sum­mer is Game of Thrones,” points out in­dus­try an­a­lyst Jeff Bock. “It used to be, ‘What’s play­ing this sum­mer in the­atres?’” Then there’s the Rot­ten Toma­toes ef­fect, said Kyle Stock on Bloomberg. Time was when a hefty mar­ket­ing bud­get could en­sure that a sec­ond-rate block­buster at least en­joyed a lu­cra­tive open­ing week­end, be­fore neg­a­tive au­di­ence re­sponse kicked in. Now the down­turn is im­me­di­ate. On­line re­view ag­gre­ga­tors such as Rot­tenTo­ma­toes.com and Me­ta­critic.com mean peo­ple can check within hours of a film’s pre­miere if it’s any good. And if it isn’t, they take their money else­where.

This was the year that movie­go­ers voted with their feet, said Charles Bramesco in The Guardian. They’re tired of “brain-dead re­makes”, se­quels and clunky fran­chise openers, such as the Tom Cruise ac­tion film The Mummy, which wastes its run­ning time on what feels like scene-set­ting for the film we’ll get in two years’ time. By con­trast, “films con­tent with their own fi­nal­ity” – such as Baby

Driver, Dunkirk and the in­die hor­ror movie Get Out – sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions. This could be an “in­spir­ing bell­wether of hope”. Maybe the movie moguls will fi­nally re­alise “they can no longer phone it in”.

Cruise re­make The Mummy

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