A Summer of Bombs (and not the sake kind)

by Tim Barley

Thank God that 2017 Summer of movies is over!

CocktailsandMovies.com Summer 2017 Box office flops

Hi, everyone! Let me start by saying that I love the movies. I always have and I always will. Something about the two to three hours of time that I can spend alone (as I do on a weekday when I go to the movies) or with 100 to 200 others who love the spectacle on the big screen (as do with our events) lets me forget about the rest of the world and the problems in it. Onscreen, I can see problems set up and resolved within the time it takes me to drink a couple of cocktails and eat a big bucket of popcorn with peanut M&M’s mixed in. (then figure out how much gym time I am going to need to balance that out). That being said, I played more golf this summer than I saw movies, which is sad. So, let’s take a look at the summer 2017 box office, hand out a few Cristal mimosas and quite a few bloody mary awards.

First, the good news: there were a few good movies out there that I enjoyed. So, I want to hand out a few Cristal Mimosa awards to the following:

Wonder Woman – Solid script, solid acting, solid directing, fun and entertaining. EXACTLY what a summer movie should be.

Dunkirk – An epic historical movie from an epic director who usually gives us something to try and wrap our head around for a few weeks after.

Spiderman: Homecoming – Another super-hero movie that had heart, humor and lots of smarts woven well with action.

War For the Planet of the Apes –
after further consideration, this was one of my favorites of the year; dark yet very interesting.

— C&M —

But, there is a reason why the Summer 2017 box office was the worst in 25 years. Actually, more than on. And depending on whom you ask, it’s either audiences’ or studios’ faults. Surely, a lot of factors go into what constitutes a “bomb.” But, one bomb does not a bad summer make. Overall, the box office was down 15% compared to last year and 30% less August over August. Was it Game of Thrones? Was it the serious state of horrible affairs in our world? Was it good summer TV? Was it the fact that prices were too high? Or that people would rather stay at home and watch streaming because they can’t sit still for 2 hours? Was it the fact that Summer box office season begins in early May now and burns everyone out by July? Or is it the fact that audiences are just more discerning as they can find explosions, sexiness and language at home now?

OR, is it because Hollywood put out so much crap? (like emoji crap). My feeling is that this is the primary reason. At the end, I’ll offer up a solution. And so, here they are, in no order:

King Arthur – high hopes for this one from director Guy Ritchie. I hope to see it, but it may have just hit the theaters at the wrong time

Transformer: Last Knight – um, supposedly, there won’t be any more of these and that’s a good thing. Unless… you return to a trimmed down, character driven Transformers

Baywatch –
big cast, big name, bigger flop. Of all the old TV shows that Hollywood thinks that everyone wants to see, only 21 Jump Street has been any good. It may be the writing or… (see next movie)

CHiPs –
…be the fact that no one care about these shows anymore without a descent script that can make fun of them while saluting them at the same time!!!

The Mummy – the Mummy movies of Brendan Frasier were funny and a bit tongue-in-cheek. This were not that.

The House –
I really, really wanted this to work. It looked funny and had great talent. But, it just wasn’t good. 

Valerian and the City of a 1000 Planets – I really would like to know how the remaining 1:47 went in this film because I walked out. This was the first movie I have walked out of in 20 years. 

The Dark Tower – high hopes, but other than some good acting in this film, the whole thing was disjointed as if the studio asked, “Can we make these all, or should we just jumble shit together and say we did the Dark Tower series?”

And the coup de grace, the movie that actually deserves a damn tequila sunrise, extra shot on the side?

The Emoji Movie – seriously, Hollywood, fuck you! Fuck you and your “the public will buy anything” bullshit. Sony Pictures is culpable for making this piece of shit, and America is culpable for buying $160.4 million in tickets, thus assuring us that another is being worked on.

So, the studios are fretting that their box office has shrunk, that people aren’t coming to the movies anymore. They blame TV. They blame theaters. They blame a lot of things. But, not a lot of studio execs get up in the a.m. and look into the mirror and say to themselves, “we are putting out a lot of shit.” But, there is no originality anymore. Sure, a few good movies come out here and there. Look at Get Out earlier this year. It was turned down several times because no one wanted to take a chance. Well, Hollywood, take a chance. I have four screen plays that I can pitch to you right now: a family comedy with animals, a great spectacle with amazing music woven into the story, and two psychological dramas that had my mom asked me if I needed to come back home for a while… They won’t cost you much, and I have a brilliant friend named Alicia that could produce the shit out of these four for small budgets. They could turn a profit and they could win you awards. And that’s what it’s really about, isn’t it?