Friday, June 28, 2013

Columbia Pictures in trouble? White House Down second flop of summer for studio

In a thriving summer full of good films (World War Z, Now You See Me, Fast 6, Iron Man 3), there were bound to be some flops. Unfortunately for one of Hollywood's top studios, who already had the biggest flop of the year so far (After Earth), it looks like a second flop will be coming from them. According to BoxOffice, Roland Emmerich's destroy the White House actioner, White House Down, will open to $27 million, which is an extremely disappointing total for a film that cost around $150 million, not including marketing or distribution, to my knowledge. In addition, this film is distinctly American. There is little chance of it breaking out big overseas. But, it could still happen. Unless word of mouth is sensational, if that weekend number keeps up, White House Down will finish around $75 million domestically. Not good. So, with two massive turkeys cooking at the box office, where is Columbia's salvation.

The answer: La La La La La. While Grown Ups 2 will turn a solid profit, The Smurfs 2 is going to save Sony Pictures this summer from going too far under. The first film made $563 million worldwide and I would expect the sequel to finish around $600 million. That'll at least make up for one of the flops, but, despite my anticipation for it, Sony/TriStar could have another flop on their hands later in the summer. Elysium looks like a ground-breaking sci-fi picture but it's got a big budget ($120 million) and barely any assurance that it will be a hit. Plus, there is no information currently on its rating and director Neill Blomkamp's last feature was R rated. If it goes that route, it could be doomed. After that, you have The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which should at least break even. 

Sony has two assured hits in the summer and two unknowns. So what's going to happen in the fall? Well, there's the One Direction Concert Movie, which is too 2012 for anyone substantial to see it. Then there's Battle of the Year, which no one knows anything about. And then there's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, which will be a hit, but not by much. After that, Sony has three awards season films in Captain Phillips, American Hustle and Foxcatcher, any of which could be successes or failures. 

Columbia will survive, there's no doubt about that. But who's greenlighting this stuff? Why did anyone think that After Earth or White House Down was a good idea? I'll be seeing White House Down in the next week, so I'll let you know if it is any good, but for now, let's just bask in the idiocy on display here by whoever approved the budgets on those films. 



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