‘She Said’ Bombs: Why Are Awards Season Movies Flopping?

Quentin Tarantino has spoken negatively about the state of the film industry. In a recent episode of the director’s “Video Archives Podcast,” the man who helped usher in the golden age of indie film with “Pulp Fiction” said it was “the worst time in Hollywood history” compared to other nadirs like the 1950s and ’80s.

“The good thing about the bad era of Hollywood cinema is that (the movies) are inconsistent. [are] things that stand out of the bag,” he added.

And maybe so. The problem is that this breed of non-conformists no longer has a price to live for, at least not according to the theater’s theories.

Get “She Said,” an intimate look at two of the New York Times reporters who helped expose Harvey Weinstein’s decades of abuse and assault. The film received strong reviews and awards, but Universal Pictures released it last weekend, opening $2.2 million from 2,022 theaters. It’s one of the best results for a major studio release in history.

Part of the problem, critics say, is that the film’s focus on the abuse of power may not be what people expect to see when the headlines are – let’s be honest – good. zero. From Ukraine to the economy, there is a lot to be angry about.

“It’s a tough sell,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst with Boxoffice Pro. “People are looking for escapism now. Even adults are looking for something to take them away from reality.

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“She Said” has many associations when it comes to well-made films that have fallen on the slopes of public indifference. One by one, the results of this year’s Oscar contenders have fallen or, better yet, they didn’t happen at all. There’s “Tár,” a drama about abuse in the world of classical music that earned $4.9 million in seven weeks of release; “Armageddon Time,” an upcoming movie that managed to gross $1.8 million after a month in theaters; and “Triangle of Sadness,” a comedy that has grossed $3.8 million since opening in mid-October. “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “Till” did better, earning $7.1 million and $8.5 million, but their results did not light up the box office; Both of them may have a hard time making money on their shows.

“Around the board, it’s a terrible time for prestige films,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “We may be seeing a sea change in cinema. Finally, people decide what happened now that people don’t choose to watch these movies in theaters.

Privately, studio executives point to some wrongdoings. They say that this year’s movies are too smart, too sad, too lacking in A-list talent to convince the public to show up. And they knew there were success stories earlier in the year — including “Elvis,” which was aimed at adults and earned $286 million worldwide, and “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a crowdfunding trip that earned $103. million around the world despite being seen as a bit daring. But those films do not have to compete with many other prestigious prices, which can further hurt a public fund, which may be wary of hitting theaters during the COVID.

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“There are a lot of movies that are chasing audiences that may be slowing coming back to theaters,” said Paul Dergarabedian, chief media analyst for Comscore. “That might be a good thing.”

It’s not all gloom and doom. “,” is a horror comedy based on the world of haute cuisine, which opened last weekend to a $ 9 million. But he’s fortunate to stick with a genre that’s doing well at the box office (just look at recent horror movies like “Smile” and “Barbarian”), and has an audience that’s raving about it. to the youth. The majority of ticket buyers to “The Menu” are under 35 years of age, while the majority of people seen for ‘She Said’ are over 45 years of age.

There are other films that brave this kind of challenge for a respectable fee. Among those hoping to defy the odds are “Bones and All,” a cannibal romance with Timothée Chalamet that opened in limited release; “The Fabelmans,” Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical exploration of his childhood; and “Babylon,” a sweeping examination of Hollywood’s silent era starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. The “Fabelmans,” for example, can prove heartwarming to be a must-see for families during the holidays, but that movie, from one of the most successful filmmakers, faces now the big heads. As for “Bones and All,” it may be idiosyncratic to draw crowds, while “Babylon” may suffer from the divisive effect that previous shows had.

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Movie theaters aren’t in trouble, but they’ve become less willing to take big swings in recent years. First, streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon have entered the game, providing homes for projects by the likes of Martin Scorsese and Alfonso Cuarón as well as arranging for customers. watch these movies in their homes. Then, a wave of mergers, some of which was fueled by traditional media players eager to expand in the streaming wars, resulted in fewer independent studios to operate. in theatrical releases. Their corporate parents are left with a lot of debt, which makes them shy to light the next historical drama or esoteric Bildungsroman when they need to clear their balance sheets. All this was combined with an epidemic that closed the theaters for almost a year and refused to die, as well as the expansion and downsizing that left people make difficult choices about what to do with their dwindling discretionary resources.

So if films like “She Said” don’t start doing better at the box office, the entire sector of the film industry may be in trouble. Something needs to change soon.


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