Monday, June 9, 2014

Box Office Analysis: A Rose By Any Other Name...Might Have Made Some Money

Tom Cruise stars in Generic Sci-Fi Time Travel Movie We Don't Have
 Confidence In But We Sure Hope It Makes A Lot Of Money In China!!

I haven't seen Tom Cruises latest action movie, Edge of Tomorrow, yet (hopefully I'll catch it tonight so I can have a review up tomorrow). However, I do know plenty about it's production history, including the notable fact that it went under the title All You Need Is Kill for a long period of time until it was switched to its more generic current name. In a recent interview, I believe it was one of the producers who explained that the change was because of the sensitive atmosphere nowadays to violence.

That might make sense if it was an eye-catching title to a drama that wasn't very violent, but, uh, sorry for the spoilers guys, but this is a summer blockbuster starring Tom freaking Cruise. There's bound to be a body count, guns fired, tons of violence, typical summer moviegoing stuff. The trailers and commercials alone for Edge of Tomorrow depict a lot of grisly action, so really what's the problem with having the word kill in the title if it's keeping in with the tone of the advertising? After all, that title is probably gonna catch more eyeballs than what sounds like a rejected pop song from the 90's.

A similar dilemma faced one of the most underrated features of recent years, John Carter. The movie was originally supposed to take a cue from the books that inspired it and be called John Carter of Mars, but Disney's 2011 flop Mars Needs Moms! convinced them that they had to drop the planets name from the title. This idiotic change meant moviegoers were confused as all out in the marketing as to where exactly all of the sci-fi action was taking place. And all it would have taken to avoid that confusion was two simple words.

A title is so integral to a film that it's very rare for it change so dramatically like this, but whenever it does, it has a ripple effect of sorts on the film. It says the studio is nervous of the film and is taking every precaution necessary to make sure it's as appealing to as many people as possible. That's not a bad action to take in and of itself, but doing so in this manner just robs a movie of its distinctiveness. And it isn't just original sci-fi properties like the two movies highlighted; the last Hobbit feature had it's name changed from The Hobbit: There And Back Again to the generic The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. What a stupid change, especially since the original name was derived from the book itself for Gods sake.

Have some confidence studios! There's a lot of factors in play that prevented Edge of Tomorrow from reaching box office glory this weekend (Tom Cruise is almost a joke on the internet at this point, The Fault In Our Stars stole the female audience, looked too similar to Source Code and Elysium  in promotional materials), but perhaps if it had a title that made it stand out more, it would have shown the studio at least respected the movie itself.

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