So I’ve just read an amazing piece of news. Apparently Brett Ratner thinks X-Men 3 is a better film than X-Men First Class because it made more money in it’s weekend. I think I have a few things to say about that after the jump
So I just read this little article here. The article talks about some tweets Ratner made this morning claiming that because his X-Men film (Which you can read my thoughts on here) grossed more money in it’s opening weekend than First Class did that meant his film was better. That may be true Brett but I think you need a few truth bombs thrown your way.
Truth bomb one: opening weekend drop offs.
Whilst Last Stand did have a very good opening weekend of around $102million, it also had one of the biggest opening weekend drop offs in cinema history of around 67% taking it’s second weekends earnings down to $34million. A films opening weekend drop off is usually a pretty good indicator of a films word of mouth quality. Good word of mouth will lead to a film not losing so much in the following week, bad word off mouth means people will not bother. Batman And Robin had a similar drop. X-Men First Class’ opening weekend drop off stats aren’t out yet but I’m sure they won’t be 67%.
Truth bomb two: The law of diminishing returns
A sequels opening weekend is largely decided by how popular the previous film in the series was. If the previous film was very well received, for example like X-Men 2 was, you can expect the opening weekend for it’s sequel to be good also. If a film sucks like, for example, X-Men 3 you can expect the next films opening weekend to not be so good, like X-Men Origins: Wolverines lower opening weekend of $86million. And if that film blows the following film can get an even lower opening weekend, like X-Men First Class. It takes a lot to change this flow and is generally referred to as the law of diminishing returns. One of the few similar franchise films to ever turn this rule around was the Batman series. Batman & Robin took $2million in it’s first weekend and then dropped off 63%, Batman Begins managed an opening weekend of $48million and a drop off of 43%. The following film, The Dark Knight took $158million in it’s opening weekend, it’s drop off was 52% but that was still leaving it taking more than Batman & Robin did in it’s first weekend. Hell The Dark Knight took more in it’s opening weekend than Batman & Robin did in it’s entire run.
Truth bomb three: Star powers activate.
Star power can determine how good a film will do initially. There’s a reason Hollywood studios don’t mind shelling out extra bucks for a bankable big name. You just have to look at Will Smith’s run of hit movies to see that the studios are willing to pay any amount to get a good start with a films release. So what star power did the two X-Men films in question have? X-Men 3 had Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellon, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Anna Paquin. All bankable, popular actors and actresses at the time. X-Men First Class has James McAvoy. That’s it. Now Michael Fassbender might one day be a big star but up until now he’s said one cool line in 300 and was in a Tarantino movie. So yeah, who had a head start here.
Truth bomb four: Free time
X-Men 3 opened on a holiday weekend, First Class did not. People had more time to spend at the cinema that weekend because they were largely off work. it makes a huge difference and that’s why you get a load of movies all around the summer because a lot of people start taking weeks off work right there. It also allows the dvd release to time up right along side the run up to Christmas. I’m willing to bet that First Class does very well on dvd this Christmas.
Truth bomb five: Opinions matter
X-Men 3 is sitting at 57% on Rotten Tomatoes. First Class is currently at 86%. If you’re making movies you should be making them because you want to produce a quality film that people will enjoy. Yes people like movies about things blowing up, but they also like something to discuss afterwards other than “Did you see that bit where the thing blew up?”, because the only answer to that is “yes” because that person was there also. If your film is a genuinely good film people discuss it’s finer points for years and many years down the line it will keep getting re-released because people still want to see it. If you make a big dumb film that sucks monkey anus then the only way people are gonna watch it again years down the line is because it was included in that boxed set they got for the good films in the series. I hope you’re satisfied with your body of work and the fact a lot of your work is only gonna be purchased because of other peoples films.
So yeah, I’ve had a rant here. All stats are from either BoxOfficeMojo or Rotten Tomatoes. It’s interesting to see that Brett Ratner has removed his tweets from his Twitter feed and is now saying he’s phoned Matthew Vaughn to laugh about their “Beef”, he’s also been quick to tell us he was first in line to see First Class and that he loved it. That’s either because it was a good film or because he’s been told to say something along those lines by an agent that’s tired of this crap. If you listen closely on his Twitter feed you can hear the sound of frantic back peddling. Anyway, I don’t do editorials like this often but I thought what the hell. People seemed to like and agree with my X-Men 3 review so i thought I should chime in.
Coming up later tonight I review a film that did poorly at the box office but is a genuinely good film in the form of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Living proof that box office does not equal quality.