Great big budget movies never flop in theaters

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I can't find any financials for 'Still Waiting' but it's definitely not big budget haha Loved the original 'Waiting' though



aronisred's Avatar
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Does The Last Airbender count as a big budget movie that flopped? Or does it not count as a flop cause it made double it's budget back?
last airbender is neither a good movie nor was it a giant hit. So it doesn't apply



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
I'm trying to find better examples than BR2049 but I'm struggling.....

Polar Express
Ali
....

Anything on these aronis?
For me polar express is not a good movie but speaking of Ali...yes its a giant bomb but it is also an incredibly irresponsible movie. Thats a movie that shouldnt even take 40 million to make but somehow michael mann found a way to make it for close to 100 million and the movie really isnt great. Its a decent biopic jacked up by the giant budget.



aronisred's Avatar
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No, and literally nothing I said implies this, either. You sound like you're actively avoiding the questions, at this point.

The phrasing here is weird, too. "We should just accept..."? As if the idea of a blockbuster that takes chances is some kind of personal affront? Seems like there's some discomfort with the idea that good films can do badly, too. I'm not gonna say the world's general unpredictability isn't unsettling, but we can't theorycraft it out of existence.

Regardless, if you want anyone to take these theories at all seriously, you'll need to answer the occasional question about their logic and implications. I'm presenting you with some really simple follow-ups, and all I'm getting back are weird non-sequitur contradictions about things I didn't say or ask.
The only take away from this topic is that studios don't know which big budget prestige films to greenlit. They should look at the director and his track record and see if he can make something much more than just a good movie. If a director makes 4-5 good movies straight doesnt mean he can make a 150 million$ movie a hit. Even if it's good..it takes that extra spice in filmmaking skills to make it a blockbuster.

These theories are not just about end products..they are about studios making movies quickly even with good directors. They see potential and want to make them the next james cameron or chris nolan to make money. Thats how you end up with irresponsible movies that really dont warrant the budget and praise.



The idea that the people actually risking hundreds of millions of dollars are missing some obvious thing that you, a random dude on the Internet has totally figured out, is kinda absurd on its face, man. It's easy to determine what will succeed afterwards, but there are enough variables in every production that you can always find a reason either way. The test is whether it's predictive. As I keep pointing out.

Anyway, if you're going to quote all my questions and points, you should respond to them, rather than repeating your initial claim. That seems to be all that ever happens in these threads.
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For me polar express is not a good movie but speaking of Ali...yes its a giant bomb but it is also an incredibly irresponsible movie. Thats a movie that shouldnt even take 40 million to make but somehow michael mann found a way to make it for close to 100 million and the movie really isnt great. Its a decent biopic jacked up by the giant budget.
How do you know this? What intimate knowledge of the production process do you have to come to this conclusion?

It'd cost a lot less now, but that was 16 years ago and the technology was new.



Welcome to the human race...
For me polar express is not a good movie but speaking of Ali...yes its a giant bomb but it is also an incredibly irresponsible movie. Thats a movie that shouldnt even take 40 million to make but somehow michael mann found a way to make it for close to 100 million and the movie really isnt great. Its a decent biopic jacked up by the giant budget.
In fairness, $20m of that was for Will Smith alone - going with your suggested $40m budget, I'm not sure how much of a prestige movie you can really make on the remaining $20m (especially if we're talking about a period piece like Ali). A film's production budget has to cover a wide variety of aspects, after all.

The only take away from this topic is that studios don't know which big budget prestige films to greenlit. They should look at the director and his track record and see if he can make something much more than just a good movie. If a director makes 4-5 good movies straight doesnt mean he can make a 150 million$ movie a hit. Even if it's good..it takes that extra spice in filmmaking skills to make it a blockbuster.

These theories are not just about end products..they are about studios making movies quickly even with good directors. They see potential and want to make them the next james cameron or chris nolan to make money. Thats how you end up with irresponsible movies that really dont warrant the budget and praise.
I thought it was that great big-budget movies never flop in theatres, which is only really saved from being proved factually incorrect by the idea that greatness is subjective. Otherwise, the idea that studios can't automatically determine what to greenlight in order to achieve commercial and/or critical success is...not exactly news to the rest of us, to say nothing of choosing directors.
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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
How do you know this? What intimate knowledge of the production process do you have to come to this conclusion?

It'd cost a lot less now, but that was 16 years ago and the technology was new.
how were they able to make raging bull for a lot less money back in the day ? there is always a way...you are saying like there has never been a sports biopic made ever in the history until ali...even top gun and independence day were cheaper than ali. Thats nuts.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
In fairness, $20m of that was for Will Smith alone - going with your suggested $40m budget, I'm not sure how much of a prestige movie you can really make on the remaining $20m (especially if we're talking about a period piece like Ali). A film's production budget has to cover a wide variety of aspects, after all.



I thought it was that great big-budget movies never flop in theatres, which is only really saved from being proved factually incorrect by the idea that greatness is subjective. Otherwise, the idea that studios can't automatically determine what to greenlight in order to achieve commercial and/or critical success is...not exactly news to the rest of us, to say nothing of choosing directors.
The Lack of understanding of the notion of greatness is also a big problem not just by studios but also by non-casual audience. Greatness is not just in having a good movie with strong emotional core..it is about the ability to connect the story with audience from different demographics...you should be able to appeal to different age groups and different tastes...you should be able to appeal to audience with short attention span that watch transformers movies or marvel movies as well to audience who can watch slow burn movies. Story concept should be simple and fresh enough to appeal to everyone and also fastly paced to get that adrenaline rush.

When you are spending 100-200 millions on an original movie then every single shot in the movie matters. Of course in broad strokes this info seems trivial but a deeper look at this will reveal new information to critique movies.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
The idea that the people actually risking hundreds of millions of dollars are missing some obvious thing that you, a random dude on the Internet has totally figured out, is kinda absurd on its face, man. It's easy to determine what will succeed afterwards, but there are enough variables in every production that you can always find a reason either way. The test is whether it's predictive. As I keep pointing out.

Anyway, if you're going to quote all my questions and points, you should respond to them, rather than repeating your initial claim. That seems to be all that ever happens in these threads.
I know that...you have to be a new kind of crazy to think that I would assume that i have more knowledge or information as to which movies to greenlit than people whose job is to do that. But that doesnt mean there is no such thing called quarterly earnings. To make money you have to make movies when it comes to studios. That sometimes speeds up their process. Ideal goal for a studio is to be in the oscars and make a boat load of money. That can't be achieved by michael bay or MCU movies...so they turn to these acclaimed but blockbuster wise unproven directors and end up with giant bombs like blade runner 2049 or ali.

What exactly is your question...state it in a simple manner..i may have missed it.



Welcome to the human race...
The Lack of understanding of the notion of greatness is also a big problem not just by studios but also by non-casual audience. Greatness is not just in having a good movie with strong emotional core..it is about the ability to connect the story with audience from different demographics...you should be able to appeal to different age groups and different tastes...you should be able to appeal to audience with short attention span that watch transformers movies or marvel movies as well to audience who can watch slow burn movies. Story concept should be simple and fresh enough to appeal to everyone and also fastly paced to get that adrenaline rush.

When you are spending 100-200 millions on an original movie then every single shot in the movie matters. Of course in broad strokes this info seems trivial but a deeper look at this will reveal new information to critique movies.
Let me see if I'm reading this right - the problem is that the greatness of a movie is primarily determined by its ability to appeal to vastly different demographics with vastly different tastes in movies? That doesn't sound like it guarantees a great movie so much as a compromised one that is not certain to achieve its goals because it's trying to please everyone (especially if it is supposed to appeal to the audience for slow-burn movies but also maintain a fast adrenaline-rush pace at the same time, for example). That can just as easily come across as a lack of focus and wreck a movie's chance at financial success. Even if a movie succeeds by being the type of wholly conventional four-quadrant blockbuster that makes a billion worldwide, that doesn't necessarily make it a great movie. Just because you can easily quantify a movie's box office doesn't automatically make it the most useful means of determining its greatness.



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
Because the blockbuster, Raging Bull, was not only cheap, but it satisfies all audiences of different ages and demographics. Obviously.



Because the blockbuster, Raging Bull, was not only cheap, but it satisfies all audiences of different ages and demographics. Obviously.
The Chinese didn't like it though, but then they aren't overly keen on raging bulls in general on principle.
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how were they able to make raging bull for a lot less money back in the day ?
That's a great question. One you don't have the answer to.

I can provide part of the answer, though: inflation alone means that the exact same film shot in 2001 instead of 1980 would cost about twice as much.

Also, as others have pointed out: Will Smith.

But really, it's just inherently facile to say "here's another film in the same genre that cost less, therefore anything which costs more was pointless waste." There's so many unwarranted assumptions embedded in that claim I barely know where to start.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
That's a great question. One you don't have the answer to.

I can provide part of the answer, though: inflation alone means that the exact same film shot in 2001 instead of 1980 would cost about twice as much.

Also, as others have pointed out: Will Smith.

But really, it's just inherently facile to say "here's another film in the same genre that cost less, therefore anything which costs more was pointless waste." There's so many unwarranted assumptions embedded in that claim I barely know where to start.
there are so many unwarranted assumptions in your rebuttal as well...you assume that inflation played a role. You assume that will smith took a lot of that money when in fact in an instagram video he did say that michael mann took all that money and put it on the screen.



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
But inflation actually exists and it is a factor just by the fact it exists. It is not an assumption based on personal feelings. It's a measure of tactic used to draw a conclusion. Prices are higher (at least part) due to inflation; or, prices are higher only because I connect arbitrary dots, after the fact, that prove my opinion. An opinion, btw, that is still unclear and changes focus every few posts.


What's the point of doing this? Honest question.



Bottom line define "Great". For some Stalker is great. For some it might be a real snooze-fest. You you would be hard pressed to find a movie that appeals to nearly 100% of movie viewers, even a 90% consensus is difficult. I am curious too see you list five 100M+ movies that you think are great. Probably that way we can understand the objective of this thread a little better.
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aronisred's Avatar
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Let me see if I'm reading this right - the problem is that the greatness of a movie is primarily determined by its ability to appeal to vastly different demographics with vastly different tastes in movies?
No...great movies are not the movies made in a vacuum that the filmmaker and 10 other critics love and put it on their top 10 lists. Paul thomas anderson more than any other director is guilty of that. His movies are the ones everyone will see on the top 10 lists but will never bother to check them out. By greatness I mean, its the ability to tell great stories that also appeal to widest audiences possible. The more personal an original movie gets the more people will understand it. But at the same time you can't forget that a movie is entertainment and should be thrilling.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
But inflation actually exists and it is a factor just by the fact it exists. It is not an assumption based on personal feelings. It's a measure of tactic used to draw a conclusion. Prices are higher (at least part) due to inflation; or, prices are higher only because I connect arbitrary dots, after the fact, that prove my opinion. An opinion, btw, that is still unclear and changes focus every few posts.


What's the point of doing this? Honest question.
but you dont know that inflation is the only reason the movie budget is 90-100 million $. Thats an assumption.