July 26 - Hollywood is delivering mega-budget flops this summer- and may need to be rethinking its box office strategy Bobbi Rebell reports.
They put up a good fight- but fell fast and fell hard this summer. The movie misfires - led by the $225 million budget Lone Ranger - starring Johnny Depp - making just over $29 million its opening weekend. R.I.P.D. died a quick death - the $130 million dollar debacle earning a paltry $12.8 million its first weekend out. Then there is Will Smith's sci-fi drama After Earth with his son Jaden got ripped apart - making $27.5 million on a $130 budget. And Turbo was instant roadkill - making back just $21.3 million of its $135 million budget on its first weekend. Someone greenlit these movies - what were they thinking? Hollywood.com's Paul Dergarabedian: SOUNDBITE: PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, HEAD OF BOX OFFICE, HOLLYWOOD.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think that in some cases movies that are green lit by these committees or whoever is putting these ideas together and they are not thinking about necessarily what the audience really wants... you have a $200 million dollar budget, and that's just on your production cost you have to add $50 to $100 million on top of that for marketing and advertising and those kinds of things and that really adds up - how do you make that back?" So what can Hollywood do to prevent a sequel to this summer's flops? REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "For one thing- make more sequels. Yes, those retreads with digits at the end of their title's - like Despicable Me 2 - Iron Man 3 and even Fast and Furious 6 have been the stars of the summer. Like it or not - done well - sequels work." Industry watchers add that while spending less money and actually having a great script is a given - stars need to be in the right vehicle. Bloated budget aside - Johnny Depp in a western did not work for the Lone Ranger. Also - float ideas to audiences ahead of time via social media. Its instant feedback on what the audience is thinking. And think about the release date- maybe get out of the summer traffic jam: SOUNDBITE: PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, HEAD OF BOX OFFICE, HOLLYWOOD.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: " I would tell the studios collectively you are trying to smash all these films into this 18 week period of the summer which accounts for 40% of the total year box office so you can see why they are all clamoring to get in on that. I would also say pick a release date that might be a little different. as we saw with hunger games which could have easily gone in summer but it was a March release and was hugely successful so get creative about releases as well." And a footnote: For all the high profile expensive flops - the overall box office is still up 10 percent this summer from last.