Archive for July, 2018

Box office 2018: A Year of No Flops?

July 19, 2018

Box office 2018: A Year of No Flops?

There have been some really big movie hits so far this year! We track the “most profitable” movies in this IMDb list:

2018 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies

That’s based on dogro (domestic gross) versus the production budget.

The most profitable movies by percentage don’t tend to be the most expensive to make…but this year, certainly, some expensive movies have been worth the investment.

  • Black Panther has an estimated production budget of $200 million…and has received our “Golden” award, for dogroing at least three times that. That’s not at all common for movies which cost over $100m to make, although it does happen (especially for Disney/Marvel movies)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, with an estimated production budget of $300 million, has profited over $300 million

Another category in the past few years has been relatively low budget movies which go on to break $100 million dogro. This year, A Quiet Place has a reported budget of $17 million, and has received our “Triple Golden” award (its dogro is more than 900 percent of its production budget).

However, something which has particularly stood out to me this year is the absence of what we call “Underperformers”: movies which dogro less than 50% of their production budgets.

After the Fourth of July weekend, there weren’t any.

While you might have guessed that A Wrinkle in Time, Rampage, or Ready Player One might have been on that list, they’ve all dogroed more than 50%.

Let’s compare that to other recent years.

2017: 2018 is continuing the trend of 2017, which had no underperformers at the end of the year.


Underperformer Sub-40s (budget at least $40.0m):

Gods of Egypt $31.1m (reported budget: $140.0m) | USA release date: 02/26/16 The Finest Hours $27.6m (reported budget: $80.0m) | USA release date 01/29/16 Ben-Hur $26.4m (reported budget: $100.0m) | USA release date 08/19/16 Free State of Jones $20.8m (reported budget: $50.0m) | USA release date 06/24/16 Keeping Up with the Joneses $14.9m (reported budget: $40.0m) | USA release date 10/21/16


Underachiever Sub-40s (prodbud at least $40.0m)

Seventh Son: $17.2m (reported budget: $95.0m) Blackhat: $7.9m (reported budget: $70.0m) Mortdecai: $7.7m (reported budget: $60.0m) The Last Witch Hunter $27.1m (reported budget: $90.0m) Pan $34.8m (reported budget: $150.0m) In the Heart of the Sea: $25.0m (reported budget: $100.0m) Point Break: $28.7m (reported budget: $105m)


Underachiever Sub-40s (budget at least $40.0m):

The Legend of Hercules: $18.8m= (reported budget: $70.0m) 27% I, Frankenstein: $19.1m (reported budget: $65.0m) 29% Transcendence: $23.0m (reported budget: $100.0m) 23% Pompeii $23.2m (reported budget: $100.0m) 23% Winter’s Tale $12.6m (reported budget: $60.0m) 21% Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return $8.5m (reported budget: $70.0m) 12%


We hadn’t by this point made the listing quite so easy to copy and paste, but there were severaL

  • Jack the Giant Slayer (34%)
  • After Earth (47%)
  • White House Down (49% when we last updated it….so it might have made it)
  • The Lone Ranger (42%)

It looks like 2018 proves that 2017 wasn’t a fluke…a flopless fluke, I suppose. ūüėČ

What’s the reason?

My guess is that there are a few factors:

  • Movie studios may have become more cautious about what they release…there is a lot of competition now, and a lot of post-release value in movies. You want something that people want to stream later: a middling box office movie likely will be seen as a reasonable choice to watch at home, but a giant flop might not be
  • There are more data available to use to predict success…and it wouldn’t surprise me if algorithms are part of the prediction process
  • The studios have started to expand the audience, in part by elevating the prominence of the portrayal and production participation of various minority groups (not just ethnic)

I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see years in the near future with very many underperformers.

One other factor to note: the power of the international box office for American releases has been growing. In 2017, we added a “Road Winner” award, for movies that have at least 67% of their box office (according to BoxOfficeMojo) from “foreign” box office. That doesn’t change the Underperformer award, which is based just on dogro…but similar to the post-release value I mentioned above, a movie may do better in foreign markets if it did reasonably well in the domestic market.

I don’t think the strategy of going for “in the ballpark base hits” rather than swinging for the home run and increasing your strikeout risk has reduced innovation. The success of those low budget horror movies is based solidly on innovation…Get Out and A Quiet Place are well-made, original stories.

It will be interesting to see what happens going forward. Oh, and of course, knock virtual wood! ūüėČ

See you in the movies!


Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Prime Geek (movies): July 1 2018

July 1, 2018

Prime Geek (movies): July 1 2018

You already have

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)


You’re a geek, right?

You’re a geek who watches movies, right?

If those three things are true, you are in luck!

There are thousands of geek-friendly movies included in your Prime membership at no additional cost.

There are so many, in fact, that as is often the case with content nowadays, the challenge is discovery, not availability. Well, The Measured Circle hopes to help you out with some recommendations…

Playing catchup (theatrical releases from the last two years)

  • Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (2017) (also available: The Nut Job…so you can watch from the beginning)
  • Nine Lives (Kevin Spacey becomes a cat)
  • Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
  • The Witch (2016)
  • Star Trek Beyond (2016)
  • Equals (2016): Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult resist in a repressed future
  • Tear Me Apart (2016)
  • Muse (2016)
  • Vamps (2016)
  • The Girl With All The Gifts (2017 (Glenn Close…and sort of zombies. BAFTA-nominated)

Mid-terms (not in the past two years, but in the past two decades)

  • Scooby-Doo: The Movie (live action series starter with Sarah Michelle Gellar) (also available: LEGO Scooby Doo: Knight Time Terror)
  • Zathura (sequel to Jumanji)
  • The Golden Compass (2007)
  • Star Trek (the first of the Chris Pine movies) (2009)
  • Beastly (2011)
  • Twilight (2008): the first of the blockbuster series (also available: New Moon)
  • Paranormal Activity (2009)
  • The Woman in Black (2012): Daniel Radcliffe
  • Them (2006): not the giant ant movie

Genre-busters/Award Nominees (popular with non-geeks, too)

  • The Wizard of Oz (1939…the Judy Garland movie)
  • Hugo (2011)
  • Arrival (2016)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Nostalgeek (remember when?)

  • The Care Bears Movie (1985)
  • The Devil Girl from Mars (1954)
  • Galaxy of Terror (1981)
  • Carrie (1976) (also available: The Rage – Carrie 2)
  • The Crow (1994)
  • Highlander (1986) (“There can be only one”) (also available: Highlander II: The Quickening)
  • Troll (1986)
  • Leprechaun (1993) (also available: Leprechaun 2; Leprechaun 3; Leprechaun 4: In Space; Leprechaun 5 AKA Leprechaun in the Hood)
  • Barbarian Queen (1985)
  • Prancer (1989)
  • Trilogy of Terror (1975): I recently re-watched this…even more disturbing than I remembered. If you remember anything about it, it’s likely to be Karen Black (who plays three parts in this) being chased around by a small exotic “doll”
  • Nosferatu (1922): unauthorized silent adaptation of Dracula in 1922, Bram Stoker’s widow one a case and all the prints were supposed to be destroyed…an undead movie in more than one way
  • House on Haunted Hill (1958) colorized
  • Stargate (1994),
  • Spaceballs (1987)
  • The Final Countdown (1980): More than the memorable theme song, this was time travel with a heavy dose of admiration for the military
  • The Running Man (1987): Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in a Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) adaptation. Falsely accused and put on a suicide mission Death Race 2000-esque game show, when Arnold says, “I’ll be back” it’s an existential threat to Richard Dawson’s game show character…and the status quo
  • Universal Soldier (1992): Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren (also available: Cyborg with JVD)
  • Humanoids from the Deep (1980): gory, exploitative monster movie from Roger Corman (uncredited EP), starring Doug McClure
  • The Last Man on Earth (1964): my favorite version of I Am Legend (although this version is colorized…that may not be an improvement over the original black and white)
  • Invaders from Mars (1953): deliberately dream-like, many of us are still haunted by the image of what happens in the sand
  • Missile to the Moon (1958) (colorized)
  • Mazes and Monsters (1982) (Tom Hanks)
  • Galaxina (1980)
  • The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) (also available: Creature from Black Lake from 1976)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1960) the original, not the musical…colorized
  • The Monster Club (1981)
  • Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
  • Behemoth The Sea Monster (1958)
  • The Angry Red Planet (1959)
  • The Addams Family (1991) (the first of the big-screen reboot series)
  • A Boy and His Dog (1976) (based on a Harlan Ellison story…not surprisingly, Ellison wasn’t satisfied with the adaptation)

Remakes, Revivals, and Reboots

  • Top Cat (2017)
  • The Invisible Man (2018)

Theme: You Bug Me!

  • The Ant Bully
  • Miniscule: Valley Of The Lost Ants


  • Coherence (2014): $50,000 budget dogroed close to $70m…
  • The Frame (2014): From Jamin Winans…
  • (Jerome Bixby’s) The Man from Earth (2007)
  • The Penitent Man (2013)
  • Shuffle (2011)

You Might Not Have Seen…

  • Evolution: Ivan Reitman-directed 2001 comedy with David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott…some really interesting aliens. $80m budget, dogro (domestic gross) under $40m
  • Event Horizon (1997): Lawrence Fishburne and Sam Neill for director Paul W.S. Anderson: $60m budget, under $30m dogro
  • Radio Free Albemuth (2014): a Philip K. Dick adaptation
  • Princess of Mars (2009): definitely not the recent Disney John Carter movie, this one has Traci Lords and Antonio Sabato Jr.

Need I Say More?

  • 5-Headed Shark Attack (2017)
  • The Last Lovecraft: The Relic of Cthulhu (2011)
  • Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (2010)

That’s just a sampling…if you have other suggestions, let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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