Box Office “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”

Earlier today The Hollywood Reporter detailed the box office reports for India; or at least, as close to the box office reports as one can get when concerning India due to their film commission not being responsible for officially reporting box office numbers. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, the sequel to 2015’s Lord of the Rings style epic, has become the highest grossing Indian film of all time.

“The film reportedly has crossed $131 million (over 8 billion rupees) worldwide, easily beating the estimated $123 million global haul collected by previous record-holder, 2014’s PK…The films are produced by Shobu Yarlagadda’s Arka Mediaworks. The sequel continues the story of warring royal cousins in an ancient mythical kingdom and again features top South Indian stars Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah and Anushka Shetty”

The Indian film market, which has not really been considered, at least to Hollywood, as profitable as China (mostly to due to the historical prevalence of Bollywood) but the market is something to be considered especially in terms of films like Baahubali 2 and its predecessor. From an international business perspective, access to Indian films would open the United States market to the international market (obviously) allowing for a possible exchange (provided that India actually wants Hollywood films that are made, which is unlikely). More importantly however, if the Indian film market were accessible to Americans it would open people up to international film studies, a topic that is worth exploring in order to understand culture. One of the first things that would undoubtedly go away with this scenario would be the idea that Indian films, all Indian films, are Bollywood musicals. Time will tell if Baahubali 2 gets a proper US release, in case, it is something that should be sought out, if only to experience a different side of a well known culture, which may not be so well-known after all.


Logan and the R-Rated Movie, What the Box Office Tells Us

The Hollywood Reporter issued the weekend box office report this morning with good news for Fox: Logan, the final installment of the “Wolverine” franchise and the last Hugh Jackman led X-Men film, grossing a grand total of $85.3 million at the weekend box office, with a global turnout of $237.8 million (an additional $152.5 million). Pamela McClintock notes:

“Overseas, Logan opened No. 1 in 80 markets and is the third-biggest debut for Fox International behind X-Men: Days of Future Past ($172 million) and Avatar ($164 million). After China, the next biggest market was the U.K. ($11.4 million), followed by South Korea ($8.2 million), Brazil ($8.17 million) and Russia ($7.1 million).”

Continuing what hopes to be a trend thanks to the success of last year’s Deadpool, Fox seems to be telling others that superhero movies do not have to restricted to the PG-13 demographic; that an R-rated film can be profitable if it is made under the right circumstances and has the right elements. The proof of this can be found by looking at the exact opposite spectrum in The Lego Batman Movie, which in its fourth week has a cumulative box office of $148.6 million, its weekend box office for the week giving it $11.7 million according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It should be noted that both Logan and The Lego Batman Movie are superhero films, which brings into question why they are so successful to begin with. Part of the answer, may lay in Deadline’s observation earlier this week:

“The studio {Fox} has truly changed the game on the gravitas of superhero movies by making the characters edgy and rooting them in reality. Some rival studios out there aren’t swallowing this well, because they can’t do this with their superhero properties; more precisely they can’t have their comic book feature adaptations rated R for the sake of their brand or the superheros themselves” (D’Alessandro, updated March 5th).

The superhero genre is a genre in which the fans have immense power and control through audience response; this is because the characters in the films are well-established and, especially in the case of the X-Men which focuses heavily on the outsider trope, easy to relate to. Because of this power that fans possess it makes sense to market to the strongest pool of fans, those who have grown up with the X-Men films (and in some cases comic books, and the 1980’s TV show, but more-so the early 2000 films) who predominately seem to watch R-rated movies if they watch movies at all.

In the coming months, we as an audience may see a shift in the R-rated movie, one that focuses less on gore, violence, and sex, and focuses on the character; or at the very least, presents a framework for the gore, violence and sex to exist instead of existing for the sake of a rating. When that day comes, it will be a day of change in Hollywood, one that may force studios to re-brand their concepts about what an R-rated actually is and if there is one thing to reflect that it is the box office numbers of Logan.

The Chinese Box Office: “The Great Wall”

In the wake of the Oscars, it can sometimes be incredibly easy to get swept up in the mayhem. So, to offer a small reprieve, let’s talk about China, specifically it’s box office and why it matters to film companies.

“After 10 days, Xandar Cage, has earned $134 million in China, more than triple its $44 million North American total”

Why is this the case?  ScreenRant’s Kayleigh Donaldson, while by no means possessing the answer to this question, which is both ideological and on some level layered in economics, makes the point that the Chinese like to see themselves in films. This might explain The Great Wall‘s success:

“Like any nation, Chinese audiences enjoy seeing themselves and their culture on screen”

Contrast The Great Wall to The Mermaid, the current highest grossing film in China, and a different perspective comes to the forefront- the domestic Chinese market. While Hollywood films recently have been doing well in China, in no small part due to Disney with the opening of its Shanghai resort, the international grosses do not come anywhere near China’s domestic films.

“…audiences flock to blockbusters by home-grown talents like Stephen Chow, whose film The Mermaid is the highest grossing film in China, and made half a billion dollars without even having to come to America”

This kind of response is telling, especially for Hollywood. If film producers and studio executives want a film to succeed beyond the US, make sure it is accessible to the Chinese market. Such tactics have saved films like Warcraft and Transformers: Age of Extinction from becoming complete box office bombs, ultimately allowing for the studios to reap some reward and mitigate some of their initial loss in revenue.


A New Dark Knight: Matt Reeves, Batman, and Lego

This week, the Hollywood Reporter states that Matt Reeves, the director of War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), and Cloverfield (2008), is slated for the next Batman film. Given his resume, this could mean a new direction for The Caped Crusader, who since Nolan took over in 2005, has been “grounded” in reality. The Hollywood Reporter had this to say: “It only makes sense to have a more fantastic big screen Batman now; as part of the expanded Justice League universe…wouldn’t going back to fighting non-super-powered psychopaths, no matter how ambitious they might be, feel just a little bit too much like a downgrade?”

The Hollywood Reporter, on Matt Reeves’ direction: “The addition of Reeves to the franchise… can be seen, then, as a positive sign at widening the idea of what a Batman movie can be once again.”

In terms of what this ultimately means, one only needs to look at this weekend’s box-office, specifically, the success of The Lego Batman Movie. It serves as evidence that people do not necessarily want, or even need, the gritty world of Nolan’s The Dark Knight; that what they crave are good stories peppered with the right amounts of humor, action, and the fantastical. Does it mean that grit and grim are no longer welcome? Of course not. But there is a time and a place for such things; sometimes, it’s nice to kick back, relax and delve into a fantasy- not be reminded of the world and its problems.