Great big budget movies never flop in theaters

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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.
I'm glad we agree. I'm not sure how to reconcile this with the other posts, though, where you seem to suggest all the flops were obviously going to be flops.

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.
I think you'll find nobody has disputed the existence of quarterly earnings, nor the idea that studios would like to make money. But it turns out making money in creative endeavors can be tricky and unpredictable!

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.
Sure, but sometimes risks work. Peter Jackson hadn't ever taken on anything of the scale of The Lord of the Rings. He made schlocky horror films, a true story drama about mentally disturbed teenage girls, and a box office disappointment in The Frighteners. On paper, this sure seems like a bad idea according to what you're saying, no? But they gave him a couple hundred million dollars and let him film three blockbusters all at once, and they made billions.

BTW, before their Marvel films the Russo brothers worked on quirky meta comedies like Community and Happy Endings. That worked out. Taika Waititi hadn't done anything huge before Thor: Ragnarok. Christopher Nolan's jump from Memento to Batman Begins was a risk, too. These are just off the top of my head.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. It's hard to know which it will be, and it's easy to come up with reasons it was going to in retrospect.

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

Okay, but how is this statement supported? As I noted, it's backwards-looking. It seems like an example of the No True Scotsman fallacy, where you advance a definition of a thing, but any contrary examples will be excluded from it. How would you test this claim, except by saying, any time someone advanced a seemingly great movie "well, I guess it wasn't great, because if it was it would've been a hit"?
You're advancing a principle which does not make testable claims, it only retroactively describes things, and it does so by finding reasons why each seeming counterexample doesn't actually count. In statistics, this is called "overfitting."
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there are so many unwarranted assumptions in your rebuttal as well
I promise you there are zero.

you assume that inflation played a role.
Er, no, it's a literal fact. Are you familiar with inflation? Google it if not. It is not a potential factor, it's unavoidable. Everything cost more in 2001 than it did in 1980. They literally have an index to measure it called the Consumer Price Index (or CPI). You can find calculators online. I used one before writing my reply.

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 assume nothing other than that Will Smith probably got paid a lot more than Robert De Niro did. That's it. There are tons of factors, though, like shooting on location in Mozambique. There are a million reasons one movie costs more than another.

But yeah, news flash: sometimes a film is so well made or so strong creatively that it can be way better than movies that cost more. This doesn't really relate to the discussion about blockbusters, though, because it's hard to know when and how that'll happen.



but you dont know that inflation is the only reason the movie budget is 90-100 million $. Thats an assumption.
Here's what I actually said:

inflation alone means that the exact same film shot in 2001 instead of 1980 would cost about twice as much.



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I just want to hug (your FACE)!
but you dont know that inflation is the only reason the movie budget is 90-100 million $. Thats an assumption.

I typed "at least in part" in parentheses to give it attention.

What about the rest of the post? Or all the other posts asking you to clarify things?

Do you actually read the responses or are you making things up as you go?



Welcome to the human race...
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.
Film is an art form - just because it's largely used to create light entertainment doesn't mean that that's all it can be and that the only way for a piece to achieve greatness is by conforming to a narrow set of popularity-based parameters. That's without mentioning the baseless assumptions like how "the more personal an original movie gets the more people will understand it" and how they end up contradicting ideas like how a film "should be thrilling". Stalker doesn't stop being a great movie just because it's only talked about by cinephiles and Jurassic World doesn't start being a great movie just because it made a billion dollars at the box office - but then again, I already said as much in the rest of that post that you quoted:

Originally Posted by me
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.
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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Film is an art form - just because it's largely used to create light entertainment doesn't mean that that's all it can be and that the only way for a piece to achieve greatness is by conforming to a narrow set of popularity-based parameters. That's without mentioning the baseless assumptions like how "the more personal an original movie gets the more people will understand it" and how they end up contradicting ideas like how a film "should be thrilling". Stalker doesn't stop being a great movie just because it's only talked about by cinephiles and Jurassic World doesn't start being a great movie just because it made a billion dollars at the box office - but then again, I already said as much in the rest of that post that you quoted:
Neither dark knight nor inception is any less than any of the paul thomas anderson movies or any best picture winner in the last 2 decades. In fact in some cases the inverse is true. You can't expect a studio to spend 80 million to make a movie like phantom thread or boogie nights but Paul thomas anderson should be smart to be able to make a movie that should justify that budget. Otherwise his movies should be fit for an independent spirit awards and not oscars.

You are again making the same mistake of combining dumb movies like transformers or fast furious with movies like inception or terminator 2 or gladiator. Both are different. Movies like transformers are needed for film industry to make money but the film industry should focus more on greenlighting movies like interstellar or dunkirk or inception or ford v ferrari or wolf of wall street etc...to spend the money they made from those movies and not movies like phantom thread or spotlight or boyhood or shape of water. These movies are inconsequential.



Movies like transformers are needed for film industry to make money but the film industry should focus more on greenlighting movies like interstellar or dunkirk or inception or ford v ferrari or wolf of wall street etc...to spend the money they made from those movies and not movies like phantom thread or spotlight or boyhood or shape of water. These movies are inconsequential.
To who? Not to the millions of people who enjoy them. It's rather silly to say something is inconsequential because mere millions will enjoy it, as opposed to tens or hundreds of millions.

On top of that, I see two large problems with this posture:

First, it confuses short-term fame with "consequence." More people will see a crappy Transformers sequel in the first year than will see Spotlight...but how many people will keep thinking about it after they've seen it? How many will think about it years later? How many people will write a thematic analysis of it? How many film students will study it? Fame is not consequence: that's why they're different words. You are confusing breadth with depth.

Second, you're not even just measuring viewership, but viewership on initial release. A film deemed important by viewers and critics is seen over and over for decades after release, so it's not hard for a so-called "inconsequential" critical darling to end up being seen quite a bit more after release than some mindless blockbuster. Again, to say nothing of the amount of actual minutes people spend thinking about each film.

The real problem isn't that you make these assumptions, though, but that you don't seem to realize it's happening. Your decision to measure importance and success in raw (and short-term!) viewership totals is your prerogative, but you don't seem to register the fact that you've made a choice at all. You treat it as a default, as a null hypothesis. But it isn't. There is absolutely nothing empirical (or even especially compelling, to my mind, but definitely not empirical) about your decision to use this particular metric to measure importance. You can if you want, but you can't cite it as if it's some kind of objective marker others must honor. It's just the thing you've decided to care about most, for whatever reason.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
To who? Not to the millions of people who enjoy them. It's rather silly to say something is inconsequential because mere millions will enjoy it, as opposed to tens or hundreds of millions.

On top of that, I see two large problems with this posture:

First, it confuses short-term fame with "consequence." More people will see a crappy Transformers sequel in the first year than will see Spotlight...but how many people will keep thinking about it after they've seen it? How many will think about it years later? How many people will write a thematic analysis of it? How many film students will study it? Fame is not consequence: that's why they're different words. You are confusing breadth with depth.

Second, you're not even just measuring viewership, but viewership on initial release. A film deemed important by viewers and critics is seen over and over for decades after release, so it's not hard for a so-called "inconsequential" critical darling to end up being seen quite a bit more after release than some mindless blockbuster. Again, to say nothing of the amount of actual minutes people spend thinking about each film.

The real problem isn't that you make these assumptions, though, but that you don't seem to realize it's happening. Your decision to measure importance and success in raw (and short-term!) viewership totals is your prerogative, but you don't seem to register the fact that you've made a choice at all. You treat it as a default, as a null hypothesis. But it isn't. There is absolutely nothing empirical (or even especially compelling, to my mind, but definitely not empirical) about your decision to use this particular metric to measure importance. You can if you want, but you can't cite it as if it's some kind of objective marker others must honor. It's just the thing you've decided to care about most, for whatever reason.
You think phantom thread or there will be blood is seen by more people than blockbusters ? more people might have seen those crappy stallone action movies from 80s than these two.

You are again confusing transformers with movies like the dark knight or inception. Vast majority but not all film students are a bitter bunch of people with demigod complex. Most of them will not make it. I will be much happier if those who do make it end up making movies like inception or interstellar or apocalypse now or lawrence of arabia or 2001 space odyssey or titanic or hitchcock movies or ford v ferrari on a bigger scale than movies like annie hall or guess who is coming for dinner or sophie's choice or any of the pretentious PTA movies. I am not saying we only need movies like transformers but i can see why they are being made. But it is what they do with the money they make from those movies that matters. They can either make original prestige blockbusters or make movies about 2 people whose marriage dont work. Those movies should go to netflix and stay there. As much as i didnt like 1917, I think that movie is atleast a step in right direction.



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
Prolly something to do with all those movies meeting the arbitrary standards you originally posted that define your take on what makes a great movie. People asked you to clarify, to add a bit more evidence to support the post because it was too broad and most anything could fit that definition. Now, posters are citing other movies and they don't fit your definition. This seems to not be thought out past the impulse.


These movies, here, because. Not those movies, there, because - x.
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You think phantom thread or there will be blood is seen by more people than blockbusters ? more people might have seen those crappy stallone action movies from 80s than these two.
No, I don't think that. You can tell from quotes like these, which are specifically granting that premise in order to explain why it doesn't necessarily matter:

It's rather silly to say something is inconsequential because mere millions will enjoy it, as opposed to tens or hundreds of millions
More people will see a crappy Transformers sequel in the first year than will see Spotlight...but how many people will keep thinking about it after they've seen it? How many will think about it years later? How many people will write a thematic analysis of it? How many film students will study it? Fame is not consequence: that's why they're different words. You are confusing breadth with depth.
The only thing within a mile of what you just asked me is me noting that the difference is probably mitigated over time.

This seems to keep happening: I make a simple, straightforward argument, and you ask me a rhetorical question based on some totally inexplicable misreading of it (here's your really obviously misrepresenting the point about inflation, alongside my actual statement). Either it's deliberate, or you're not reading these posts very carefully. Either way, please knock it off.

You are again confusing transformers with movies like the dark knight or inception.
Nope. I'm using it as an example of why the premise is flawed.

Vast majority but not all film students are a bitter bunch of people with demigod complex.
I know it's standard practice on the Internet to make opinions sound stronger through sheer overstatement, but if you somehow hadn't noticed, that kinda stuff doesn't fly around here.

Your armchair psychoanalysis of film students isn't any more valuable or trenchant than your armchair psychoanalysis of actors and the choices they make. I don't see any indication there's real insight or knowledge behind either, and the only thing I do see is a consistent misunderstanding of human nature, based on taking your own preferences or metrics of significance and assuming they're universal.

Most of them will not make it. I will be much happier if those who do make it end up making movies like inception or interstellar or apocalypse now or lawrence of arabia or 2001 space odyssey or titanic or hitchcock movies or ford v ferrari on a bigger scale than movies like annie hall or guess who is coming for dinner or sophie's choice or any of the pretentious PTA movies.
Cool, so we're left with what all these threads end up being: you stating your personal preference for one type of film over another, but trying really really hard to make it sound like something more empirical or objective than a normal personal preference.



Also, you asked me to restate my question/point (which has happened three or four times now), and then didn't respond to it.

You also didn't explain your response on inflation, which as far as I can tell is just based on straight-up ignorance of how inflation works. Which is fine, you haven't professed to be an economist or anything and I'm not going to dunk on someone for not being familiar with it. What's troublesome about that is that it means you argued with what I said about inflation without having any idea what it meant. That's not good.

I dunno if you bothered to look up "overfitting" either, but you really should, because it perfectly describes what's happening in the OP.



Welcome to the human race...
Yeah, by aronisred's logic Ford v Ferrari should not have cost $97m to make a movie about racing in Le Mans when the Steve McQueen vehicle Le Mans is a movie about racing in Le Mans that only cost about $7m to make.

Neither dark knight nor inception is any less than any of the paul thomas anderson movies or any best picture winner in the last 2 decades. In fact in some cases the inverse is true. You can't expect a studio to spend 80 million to make a movie like phantom thread or boogie nights but Paul thomas anderson should be smart to be able to make a movie that should justify that budget. Otherwise his movies should be fit for an independent spirit awards and not oscars.

You are again making the same mistake of combining dumb movies like transformers or fast furious with movies like inception or terminator 2 or gladiator. Both are different. Movies like transformers are needed for film industry to make money but the film industry should focus more on greenlighting movies like interstellar or dunkirk or inception or ford v ferrari or wolf of wall street etc...to spend the money they made from those movies and not movies like phantom thread or spotlight or boyhood or shape of water. These movies are inconsequential.
And you are making the same mistake of combining financially successful movies with objectively great movies. Even if I do separate the "dumb" blockbusters like Transformers from the "smart" blockbusters like Inception, at the end of the day you're still arguing for blockbusters even though a lot of the most acclaimed movies tend to operate on much smaller budgets. I just checked the budgets on Paul Thomas Anderson's films and the highest is Phantom Thread at a whopping $35m. He seems like the kind of filmmaker who's smart enough to know that higher budgets cause greater interference from studios and executives so he works relatively cheap and is able to make his films his way, which ends up resulting in highly acclaimed films that earn awards, recognition, and their budgets back. Quite a few of the Best Picture winners have had similarly small budgets compared to the nine-figure blockbusters that tend to dominate the box office year after year - Moonlight only cost about $1m, for example. So no, I can't expect studios to spend $80m on movies like that because they literally do not cost that much in the first place. Saying that studios should simply focus on making good movies (or improving the quality of the most financially successful ones) is not a particularly insightful observation to build your topic around and listing the films that you do or do not think should be made isn't much of a defence.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Yeah, by aronisred's logic Ford v Ferrari should not have cost $97m to make a movie about racing in Le Mans when the Steve McQueen vehicle Le Mans is a movie about racing in Le Mans that only cost about $7m to make.



And you are making the same mistake of combining financially successful movies with objectively great movies. Even if I do separate the "dumb" blockbusters like Transformers from the "smart" blockbusters like Inception, at the end of the day you're still arguing for blockbusters even though a lot of the most acclaimed movies tend to operate on much smaller budgets. I just checked the budgets on Paul Thomas Anderson's films and the highest is Phantom Thread at a whopping $35m. He seems like the kind of filmmaker who's smart enough to know that higher budgets cause greater interference from studios and executives so he works relatively cheap and is able to make his films his way, which ends up resulting in highly acclaimed films that earn awards, recognition, and their budgets back. Quite a few of the Best Picture winners have had similarly small budgets compared to the nine-figure blockbusters that tend to dominate the box office year after year - Moonlight only cost about $1m, for example. So no, I can't expect studios to spend $80m on movies like that because they literally do not cost that much in the first place. Saying that studios should simply focus on making good movies (or improving the quality of the most financially successful ones) is not a particularly insightful observation to build your topic around and listing the films that you do or do not think should be made isn't much of a defence.
PTA movies are inconsequential. They don't have broad appeal. The people who like his movies think of themselves as sophisticated moviegoers and are insecure about their own tastes that they have to write about it all over social media.

To your point regarding budgets of those....yes those moves specifically dont deserve more budget but moreover they don't deserve theatrical release as well...they should be straight to VOD movies or movies made by netflix like roma. Those movies shouldn't ask audience to come to movie theaters and spend the same amount of money as an 80+ million $ to watch them. The rule is simple..any movie with budget less than 80 million should be a vod or streaming movie no matter the quality. That is when directors will aim to think bigger in scale make more epics.



PTA movies are inconsequential. They don't have broad appeal.
Are you honestly telling me that you've never liked a movie that isn't famous or popular?
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PTA movies are inconsequential. They don't have broad appeal.
Here's all the stuff I said in response to this last time, none of which was acknowledged or addressed. I've bolded the parts that act as summaries, just in case that actually helps me get a substantive response:

To who? Not to the millions of people who enjoy them. It's rather silly to say something is inconsequential because mere millions will enjoy it, as opposed to tens or hundreds of millions.

On top of that, I see two large problems with this posture:

First, it confuses short-term fame with "consequence." More people will see a crappy Transformers sequel in the first year than will see Spotlight...but how many people will keep thinking about it after they've seen it? How many will think about it years later? How many people will write a thematic analysis of it? How many film students will study it? Fame is not consequence: that's why they're different words. You are confusing breadth with depth.
You have decided broad appeal = consequence. You are free to decide this, but you don't seem to realize you've made that decision, and that it's an arbitrary one. It is not a law of the universe. It is not empirical. It is not a simple fact you can cite. None of your preferred metrics for importance or success are. They're just your preferred metrics.

The people who like his movies think of themselves as sophisticated moviegoers and are insecure about their own tastes that they have to write about it all over social media.
It would be just as valid to say people who say this kinda thing are unsophisticated and insecure about their film knowledge, and disparage other people's tastes to overcompensate for it. But that would be an unfair, cheap generalization, just like this is.

At what point do we get actual arguments, rather than disguised preferences? "I've decided this is what matters and I'm going to act like it's a fact, rather than my preference" isn't an argument. Neither is "here's my wildly uncharitable speculation about people's psychological motives for things, which I have no actual knowledge of or insight into." And that seems to be what every single one of these threads boils down to when we try to unpack them.



Welcome to the human race...
PTA movies are inconsequential. They don't have broad appeal. The people who like his movies think of themselves as sophisticated moviegoers and are insecure about their own tastes that they have to write about it all over social media.
Yeah, well, a hard-R $7m indie horror-comedy about a Wall Street executive who brutally murders people in his spare time doesn't exactly have broad appeal either, but I'm sure if I suggested that those qualities made American Psycho an inconsequential movie then you'd take umbrage with that.

To your point regarding budgets of those....yes those moves specifically dont deserve more budget but moreover they don't deserve theatrical release as well...they should be straight to VOD movies or movies made by netflix like roma. Those movies shouldn't ask audience to come to movie theaters and spend the same amount of money as an 80+ million $ to watch them. The rule is simple..any movie with budget less than 80 million should be a vod or streaming movie no matter the quality. That is when directors will aim to think bigger in scale make more epics.
The idea that a movie's worth is inherently tied to its budget (or lack thereof) is a fallacy. There are good cheap movies and bad expensive movies, so the idea that the latter automatically deserve theatrical release while the former does not would indicate a lack of concern for the actual quality of movies (or even just commercial success since cheaper movies are more likely to make their money back and turn a profit). This rule you suggest is not only extremely arbitrary (especially with an $80m cut-off, which seems like that would encourage a $70m movie to waste an extra $10m just to secure a theatrical release), but the idea that it would encourage directors and studios to make more epics would not be the solution you seem to think it is. I liked Inception and all, but I recognise that it (and Nolan's work in general) is an anomaly amidst the blockbuster landscape and that very few filmmakers could turn out work of that caliber if they were suddenly forced to work on that scale (and that's without accounting for how they may be compromised by studio interference anyway). Putting more money into bigger movies means that fewer movies get made and there's more pressure on those movies to succeed - we're already inundated with countless blockbusters whose success is meant to keep studios alive regardless of how good they actually are and your suggestion is that studios make more of them on the off chance that we end up getting the next Nolan out of it? To put it simply, bigger is not always better.