Jumanji 2 / childhood tales mutating into mindless blockbusters

Another tale of the childhood is turning into a mindless blockbaster. Directed by the guy who did “Sex Tape” and “Bad Teacher”. Why!?

I know, I know – the first one could be also considered a blockbuster with CGI animals and a decent $65 million budget. Pardon my nostalgia rant. However…

…it had an original time-reversing plot with love story that made sense and was believable.

…it had the director Joe Johnston who has worked as effects artists on the original Star Wars trilogy and art director two Indiana Jones movies and you could easily feel that influences in Jumanji too. Maybe it was a blockbuster, but at least it didn’t feature trivial sexist jokes like here:

giphy

If “Jumanji 2” was a genre deconstruction like “Cabin in the Woods”, this would have made sense. Sadly, it doesn’t.

…and it had Robin Williams.

giphy (1)

Now we have another obtuse action-based blockbuster with dick jokes. Hell, they even don’t roll the dice since there’s no board (the final scene of Jumanji actually had a clue that the original board wasn’t destroyed). And what is the audience of this movie? The teens didn’t watch the first part. Those who did would be barely interested in this reboot.

Maybe I am just too old for this shit and don’t get something?

“What, are you crying? You don’t cry, all right? You keep your chin up. Come on, keep your chin up. Crying never helped anybody do anything, okay? You have a problem, you face it like a man.” (Alan Parish, Jumanji, 1995)

P. S. Express Elevator to Hell movie blog made a hell of an analysis about the modern blockbuster culture and how they influence smaller films here. Check it, it’s really worth reading.

15 thoughts on “Jumanji 2 / childhood tales mutating into mindless blockbusters

  1. But Indie SF, it’s got The Rock, who is really, really big, and Kevin Hart, who is really, really short. THAT’S FUNNY. Get it?!

    In all seriousness, your question concerning who/what demographic(s) this remake is aimed at is the $500 million question. It’s the same question Baywatch ’17, Ghostbusters ’16, and all those failed 80s remakes (Robocop, Total Rekall, Poltergeist) never paused to consider.

    I understand the marketability and inherent brand recognition of these IPs, but if studios don’t decide who exactly they’re making these remakes/soft reboots for, they’re going to continue losing money, or at the very least knee-cap their potential profits. Simply saying, “It’s for everybody! It appeals to everyone — general audiences…” … ain’t gonna cut it, least if the property you’re pushing isn’t Marvel, DC, or Star Wars.

    General audiences are stupid, but they’re not *that* stupid. Plus, they got limited time, money, and energy. Just saying, Hollywood…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t forget Jack Black. If you combine him with The Rock, a new Bruce Lee will be born.

      I don’t know. Robocop was a fail in the US market, but did extremely well outside. Same for the Baywatch. I think there’s a trend now and let me compare The Pirates Of The Caribbean 2003 vs 2017 and few remakes.

      Pirate/Caribbean 2003: $350 mln b.o. = $305 mln in the US + $45 outside ($9 of which in Russia).
      Pirates/Caribbean 2017: $520 mln b. o. = $160 mln in the US + $520 outside, $40 mln of which in Russia.

      Terminator Genysis had box office of $90 mln in US and $20 mln in Russia. Budget $155 mln, world box office $440 office.

      Total Recall is the same. A failure at the US boxoffice ($58 mln) and a modest but still success worldwide ($140 mln). Consider the budget of $125 mln. Ghostbusters had similar scheme.

      So maybe it doesn’t quite bring the 10/1 cash proportion nor something a Blockbuster is supposed to be (+ $500 mln), but still it may have it’s own background niche worldwide. I mean, they weren’t even losing money with this shit in more than occassion. With Dredd 2012, the only goid movie on this list, the money were lost.

      P. S. Consider that the originals were not even released in many countries at that time.

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      • Much of that is beside the point. Major studios don’t just want successful blockbusters anymore, they want franchises (e.g. Marvel, the DCEU, the MonstersVerse, or whatever…). Hollywood wants box office *smashes*, not minimal profits, which is what those films made when you take into account marketing and theatre takes — particularly overseas box office, like China’s.

        Studios want a Jurassic World (budget + marketing = ~$300 million, worldwide gross = ~$1.5 billion, and a sequel on the way), not a Total Recall, Robocop, or Ghostbusters. Investors buy stock in these companies to maximize their profits, not break even.

        None of those films you listed did that, let alone generated interest for franchise potential. While yes, blockbusters now play to worldwide audiences rather than just North American ones, in the cases of Terminator Genesis or Total Recall, those international grosses merely saved those productions from being complete disasters.

        Something like a Jurassic World, a Marvel film, a Fast and Furious film, or a Star Wars understands its audience, recognizes general moviegoer interest in the brand, and most importantly knows not to fuck with the fans. I have a hard time believing Sony understands any of the appeal, or lack thereof of the productions they’re pushing right now.

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      • Yes, I totally agree with you about that. I just don’t understand why the studios intended those movies as a possibility for a franchise launching. It’s ridiculous. I mean, making films of that kind (like the movies you cited) and hoping for $1 bln is a mere absurd and a complete misunderstanding of the market. That’s why in my previous post I called them niche movies… They can earn something or break even, as you point out, but that’s it. The best we can do is write an honest review and not buying the ticket.

        What about Edge of Tomorrow then? It was a good blockbuster with decent cast, not a reboot/revival. Why it generated such a small box office?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Part of the reason so many remakes are haphazardly produced and marketed often has to do with too many cooks in the kitchen — i.e. screenplays rewritten ad infinitum, conflicting producer/ director artistic visions, etc. — as well as executive producers who are simply out of touch with fans, general audiences, and even their investors. Sony (Jumanji’s parent production company) in particular has grown notorious these last few years for greenlighting terrible projects with questionable production teams, e.g. Ghostbusters, Fantastic Four, Passengers.

        Tom Rothman (chairman of Sony’s motion picture division) and former executive producer Amy Pascal have taken a lot of heat for this:

        As for Edge of Tomorrow, I’d throw that in the same pile as Dredd 2012 — a well made but poorly marketed feature. Marketing matters.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That makes sense. The stock price, however, is doing relatively well, growing steadily from $10 to $39 in 2012-2017 (it’s right to mention that in the 2003-2008 period it was growing from $20 to $60). If you have a look at their balance sheet, the debt amount and revenue are more or less the same each year without any big shifts. But – the profit margin is low. And of course, all this info is relative since it’s about Sony and not only Sony Pictures.

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