Summer Movie Scoreboard – Part 3

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by Gabriel Storment (@SeaStorm24)

According to the calendar, it’s time once again to check in on the Summer Movie Scoreboard. As we all know by now, the SMS is calibrated precisely each month to determine who is having a good or bad summer based on the movies that have been released in theaters this season.

July was a busy month but we didn’t see too many surprises; definitely more good than bad. A couple of underwhelming performances by known properties notwithstanding, July seemed to be a solid month for movie-goers. Let’s get on with the scoreboard…

THE GOOD

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Amy Schumer

Amy’s path to success seems so simple, anyone could do it! All you have to do is become a popular stand-up comic, parlay that into an even more popular sketch comedy show on Comedy Central, then use that to catapult yourself onto the silver screen. Boom, movie career. It’s so easy! Just make sure you’re really, really funny though, otherwise it probably won’t work. The Apatow/Schumer Accord, which sounds like a Cold War arms treaty, seems like a natural fit. Hopefully they get together on more projects in the future.

So far, female driven comedies have accounted for three out of the top four grossing comedies of the Summer: Pitch Perfect 2, Spy, and Trainwreck with Ted 2 as the stuffed-animal-driven outlier. (It’s actually four out of the top five if you include Hot Pursuit, but that’s reaching down the list a ways and I don’t think many people would put that one on the mantle with the first three.)

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Ant Man

Paul Rudd is 46 years old and looks exactly the same as when he was in Clueless 20 years ago. This shouldn’t be possible for anyone who isn’t a Level 7 Operating Thetan or a vampire. If he wasn’t so damn likeable I’d probably be jealous of him. “Getting tagged to star in a Marvel movie” is the new “Getting recruited to be in a boy band.” It’s not going to last forever, but for the next few years, you’re going to become insanely wealthy and insanely popular with young people and not so young people who should go outside more.

[Read the Summer Movie Scoreboard – Part 1 & Summer Movie Scoreboard – Part 2]

Ant Man had a modest opening weekend of $58 million. Modest is obviously a relative term in this case. That number is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s a bit lower than the other, more well-known Marvel properties. The only complaint I have about my Ant Man experience is that I had to pee so bad by the end of the movie, I missed what was apparently a pretty decent end credits scene. *shuffles through lobby, hands in pockets, kicking spilled popcorn*

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Minions Marketers

How easy is their job? Minions don’t even talk. They just spout jibberish and act like idiots. They’re basically just animated three year olds in that way. Plastering pictures of Kevin, Bob and Stuart on lunchboxes, cereal boxes, snack boxes and anything else placed at eye level  where a toddler will see it and grab it and throw a fit over it in the middle of the store if he can’t have it RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND!!! doesn’t seem too tough. The Minions craze can end anytime now, thanks.

[Read the scripts for Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2]

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Magic Mike XXL

I’ll admit, I was a little surprised this one had such a flaccid opening weekend. Given the hype surrounding it leading up to the premiere and the success of the original, I thought it would take in a lot more than $12 million. That’s less than a third of the original’s opening take, but it still qualifies as having a GOOD summer because it’s proven to have the stamina at the box office to surpass $100 million worldwide. That’s on a $14 million budget. Any studio would take those numbers.

And there is no denying Mike is still a hit with the ladies. Per Variety’s Box Office Report from July 5th, the audiences from XXL’s opening weekend were an astonishing 96% female. Women were not dragging their men to watch C-Tates get his swerve on. Fool them once, I guess. However, I saw it with my wife and, while it wasn’t as good as the first one, it’s worth mentioning that the gas station/quickie mart scene is one of the best scenes in any movie this summer. Safe to say the target audience left the theater satisfied… actually, it’s probably more accurate just to say they got their money’s worth.

THE BAD

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Adam Sandler

Opera Man is taking a lot of hits for Pixels’ underwhelming performance, and deservedly so. The consensus among audiences and critics is that the movie is incredibly lazy. But I don’t know why anyone expects anything else from Sandler anymore. His last five movies, including Pixels, have been Blended, Grown Ups 2, That’s My Boy and Jack and Jill. Gahhhd. It isn’t old video games being transmitted into deep space that will bring the wrath of alien worlds. It’s Adam Sandler in drag.

He’s not going to have some kind of career comeback because this is the same stuff he’s always delivered. There have been the outliers like Punch Drunk Love, Reign On Me, and Spanglish, which all did… okay, I guess. But anything that flies the Happy Madison flag is going to be exactly what you’d expect it to be.

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Terminator: Genisys

For a highly anticipated reboot/sequel of one of the better known franchises of the last 30 years, this has to be the biggest dud of the summer. It limped out of the gate with a $27 million opening weekend, immediately raising questions about whether it will make back the $155 million production budget.

I’m not sure where to even begin with this movie. I really wanted to like it. I was rooting for it to be good. Terminator and T2 are both incredible movies I grew up with and have watched more times than I can count. They both introduced groundbreaking effects and T2 is one of the best action movies of the 90’s. So the bar was set pretty high by James Cameron for any sequels that came along after them. Unfortunately, Rise of the Machines tried too hard to emulate T2 and Salvation was just a pile of steaming McG-arbage. (See what I did there?)

Genisys had almost none of what made the first movies so special. I have a laundry list of complaints about it, but I’ll just lay out my #1 gripe: Convoluted storylines and time paradoxes aside, the purpose of the villain in the Terminator movies is to find a specific person and kill them, as quickly and efficiently as possible. In Genisys, the John Connor Terminator spends more time bloviating about taking over the world instead of doing what he was programmed to do. On more than one occasion, he monologues right in front of the people he’s supposed to snuff out! Daenerys and Vanilla Michael Biehn just stand there, weapons drawn, listening. They don’t run away. They don’t shoot him. There was zero sense of urgency and by the end of the movie I was rooting for Judgment Day to wipe them all out. Remember before Genisys came out, when James Cameron said this was the real sequel to T2?

James Cameron is a damn dirty liar.

Only one month to go in the summer movie season, and August is typically the slowest of the four. Most of the bigger releases have already come and gone. August is also positioned at the bridge between summer and fall, when studios tend to dump some of the properties they’re not quite as proud of. It’s a good time to release them without much fanfare before the fall awards season begins.

But there are still a couple movies out there making some waves. I’m talking about MI5 an F4. That’s industry jargon; I won’t bore you with the details.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

~

Gabriel Storment is an aspiring screenwriter, husband and father of two little hellraisers. He is based in Seattle and can be found on Stage 32, Twitter, and Facebook.

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