2017 Movies Are Trying To Out-Do The Insanity of 2016
The half-way point is here, time to regroup our thoughts. 2017 movies are either Hollywood blunders, indie success, or a shift in how the industry is looked at. Before viewers tackle the second half, let’s look at January to June!
The Box Office:
As expected, Disney places at the top of this year’s highest grossest list. It even takes third and fourth, but Beauty and the Beast is a money-making juggernaut. With $1.257 billion, it’s hard to imagine anything coming close. Even second place is $19 million behind as Fate of the Furious brought in $1.238 billion.
In third place on the list is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and fourth is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Round out the top 5 is Wonder Woman and you can expect that film to take fourth from Dead Men Tell No Tales in the coming weeks.
2017 movies are some record breakers as well. On top of being this year’s highest grossing (so far), Beauty and the Beast also shattered the March record. It previously held by Batman v Superman. Now that I mention the DCEU, Wonder Woman is taking records and pummeling them like Ares. The superhero film opened at $103.3 million making it the highest opening for a female. It easily surpassing the previous film, 50 Shades of Grey.
The biggest WTF for 2017 movies at the box office is the power of the Chinese market. China set a new single day record and an all-time high admission record on Saturday, January 28th. The country recorded a total of ¥755 million ($110 million), that registers an admission of over 21 million moviegoers. China is also becoming the financial “taste-maker” as the country is pouring money into movies, especially movies that don’t do as well domestically. XXX: The Return of Xander Cage became the fourth film to earn $100 million in China but not in the United States. Dead Men Tell No Tales almost suffered that same fate. It seems like whatever American audiences reject, China accepts.
Boy, critics are on a power trip. The era of Rotten Tomatoes is shaping the public’s perception and impacting the industry. The review aggregation site is a flawed system with questions on how it tallies scores or the need to use aggregation to review art. Still, it’s one of the first things people mention when discussing a film. Phrases like “That movie has a 23% on Rotten Tomatoes so I won’t see it” or “Wow, it has a 92% so it must be good” are all too common now.
Yes, it is the studio or filmmakers job to make quality entertainment; there’s no excuse for soulless franchises. Can’t deny that movies like Transformers: The Last Knight deserve backlash after years of being stale. On the other hand, not every picture needs critically dissection. Reading critics say things like “There is nothing in it of redeeming value for any adult cinephile” about Captain Underpants just comes off laughable. With so many cynical critics in the industry, this attitude is hurting everyone.
This growing conflict between critics and movies is becoming mainstream as well. After the critically bashing of Baywatch, star & producer Dwayne Johnson took to social media to call out critics. He proclaimed the movie is for the fans and that critics just don’t want to like it. Dwayne Johnson even pointed out our own critic Dewey Singleton as a critic who made a “bold move” for praising the film. By the end of the Twitter rant, it exposed the very reality of how the industry views critics. The trade papers have spent months saying Hollywood is wanting less critic interference in their releases. This proved it. Will Hollywood take aim at critics in the near future?
Critics are seemingly getting harsher, while the nerd rage isn’t as fierce. Last year had the infamous takedown of Ghostbusters from angry fans so any of the 2017 movies can’t compare. Ghost in the Shell is the only film that comes to mind as the white-washing debate surely made it dead on arrival. People aren’t piling into theaters to see Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean movies like they use to but no one is gleefully bashing them. Wonder Woman even survived the sexiest Internet trolls battling it out over a “women’s only” screening. Things seem calmer for now…
The superhero world is seeing a slight shift with fans. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a money-maker but received “more of the same” comments from many. On the other hand, Wonder Woman proved to be a surprise with critics and fans. Then you have a film like Logan that united every fan from every brand. Until the November battle of Justice League and Thor: Ragnarok, it’s impossible to tell if there is a true shift.
My Personal Picks:
– Breathtaking is the best way to describe The Beguiled. Sofia Copolla put on a masterclass in filmmaking with this piece. Winning Best Director at Cannes put her in a good spot. This June release could make it to next year’s Oscars. The second half of the year needs an epic release to take this spot.
– Get Out made horror mainstream again. Not a silly ghost movie or zombies but a classic horror film. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is thought-provoking, yet relentlessly terrifying. Get Out harkens back to films like Scream with the mixture of social commentary, humor, and intense scares.
– While superheroes movies become commonplace, the genre rarely sees this level of artistry. Logan could take over the Oscars if it gets half the backing that Deadpool received. Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and the mega-talent of Dafne Keene carry this film to new heights. Also, who knew this would be the year’s goriest film!?
– French horror has a soft-spot in my heart. With that aside, Raw still would’ve been on this list because the movie is so damn bizarre. In my review, I dubbed it the “strangest coming-of-age film ever”. I still stand by that. Growing into adulthood or your feminity is made to seem as scary as possible.
– Wonder Woman doesn’t come close to my love of Batman v Superman but, it’s another strong entry for the DCEU. The brand continues to deliver the exact tone I look for but is trying to compromise for the majority. This movie did create great two megastars with Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot.
What do you think of the first half of 2017 movies?
Let me know your feelings below!