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I guess I just like liking things

I like a lot of different kinds of movies, just like you do. We might not like the same kinds, and that’s fine. If you don’t like Grosse Pointe Blank it’s okay that you’re wrong, and I can still like you as a person (if I work at it). You probably think I’m weird for not liking Land of the Lost or something (and, just so you know, I threw up a little in my mouth just typing the name of that one). It’s okay! It’s fine that there are different kinds of movies for different tastes. It’s just like the song says: “It takes diff’rent strokes to move the world, yes, it does.” I think Aristotle said that, and it’s just as true today as it was in Ancient Greece and in 1978.

Here’s what I need explained, though: how do some of these movies get made?

Last night, for instance. I watched This Is Where I Leave You, a family drama/comedy (does anyone else dislike the word “dramedy” as much as I do?) about a dysfunctional family (recent research shows that 98.72% of families in movies are “dysfunctional”) spending a week together after the death of the father. Wackiness and sadness abound. This movie had a wonderful cast, including Tine Fey, Jason Bateman, Connie Britton, Rose Byrne, Jane Fonda, and Timothy Olyphant. A cast like that is going to cost some big dollars, I think. Not Will Smith dollars (accepted everywhere!), certainly, but add them all together and the payroll is not insubstantial.

But the thing is, this movie was never going to be a big, big hit. Box Office Mojo says it made a little over $32 million. Not chump change, but considering its $19.8 million production costs, not a lot. Once you start factoring in advertising and all the other little extras, a movie has to make a lot of money to be considered profitable. While I wouldn’t mind making $13 million on something, a movie studio gets all depressed and cries into its gold flake ice cream about it (I’m sure there is gold flake ice cream somewhere).

Here’s a better example of what I’m trying to say:

Now, to me, that looks like an interesting, amusing, and very, very weird movie. I will probably enjoy it some day. But if this thing ever makes more than $10 million I will be very, very surprised. So how does something like this get made? It’s got some name recognition, sure, but not any mega stars.

It’s easy to see why something like Transformers 4 gets made: the prequels made a boatload. They’re quite terrible, those Transformers movies, but they make a ton of cash (probably literally tonS, if you were put it all into one big stack and weigh it). I don’t see why/how The Voices gets made, though. I’m thankful stuff like it does get made, I just don’t understand why it does.

Anyone? Anyone?


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