Monday, February 15, 2016

The 2015 Movie Showdown That Didn't Happen

Once upon a time in 2013, it seemed like every big franchise was planning a movie to be released in 2015.  There were over twenty-five potential blockbusters in the queue, including the next "Avatar," "Batman," "Bourne," and "Die Hard" movies.  I amassed and posted a list based on reports from a couple of sources, and marveled at the possibility of so many of these movies coming out in the same year.  But of course, they didn't.  And I think we could all get some benefit from looking back at those early, hazy predictions of a franchise movie showdown to end all showdowns, and comparing them to how things actually turned out.

From the initial list of twenty-seven potential 2015 blockbusters, only twelve were actually released in 2015.  Seven of those, however, ended up among the top ten global box office earners of the year: "Avengers : Age of Ultron," "Jurassic World," "Mockingjay, Part 2," "Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Spectre," and "Inside Out."  The other three were "Minions" and Furious 7," which were delayed from 2014, plus "The Martian," which had only just been optioned by Fox in 2013.  Of the other five 2015 releases, three more were in the top twenty: "Hotel Transyvania 2," "Terminator Genisys," and "Ant-Man."  Only two were flops: "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" and the "Fantastic Four" reboot.  When it comes to the biggest franchise earners, it looks like the studios are pretty prescient about their hits long in advance.

Of the fifteen movies on the initial list that didn't open in 2015, three have no release date at all, including the planned "Avatar" and "Die Hard" sequels, eight were moved to 2016, three to 2017, and one was bumped up to a 2014 release date.  That was "The Penguins of Madagascar," which underperformed significantly, and was the beginning of a whole raft of troubles for DreamWorks Animation.  Keep in mind that the later 2016 and 2017 releases could be delayed again.  These are the weaker titles from the original batch - smaller and fading franchises like the fifth Jason Bourne film and the third Robert Langdon film.  My guess is that only two or three films that were delayed to 2016 will be among the top ten grossers:  "Finding Dory," "Independence Day: Resurgence," and "Batman v. Superman."  I wouldn't bet on anything that was pushed to 2017.

I made a couple of predictions about some of these titles three years ago, some of which were right on, and some of which were completely wrong.  It looks like "Terminator: Genisys" was indeed the end of the line for the "Terminator" franchise for the foreseeable future.  The proposed sequel has been pulled from the schedule, and all further plans are on hold.  And keep in mind that the film rights revert to James Cameron in 2019.  On the other hard, because so many films were moved around on the schedule and delayed, pretty much all the big head-to-heads were avoided.  The studios seem determined to avoid competition wherever they can, so the big films were actually pretty evenly spread out.  No blockbuster apocalypses either.  Sure, there were a few bombs, but there's been no sign of any major anti-franchise sentiment yet.  A couple of the older franchises like "Jurassic Park," "Mad Max," and "Rocky" even came roaring back to life, delivering surprise hits.

As we look ahead to the quickly filling schedules for 2017 and beyond, though, I'm finding it hard to work up much enthusiasm.  There's not much coming up that can match the thrill of a new "Star Wars" movie or a Batman v. Superman throwdown.  The biggest franchise event coming up is the two-part "Avengers" movie, and after "Age of Ultron" came out so half-baked, I'm quickly cooling on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  However, there are plenty of other films that I'm happily tracking the development of, and hope to see onscreen in 2017.  Darren Aronofsky's got one in the works with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem.  Alex Garland's has something that sounds like a distaff "Stalker" remake.

But it's far too early to say anything yet.  Below, find the full list of the 27 would-be 2015 blockbusters I originally discussed in 2013, and where they actually ended up.


The Penguins of Madagascar


The Avengers 2
Hotel Transylvania 2
Alvin & the Chipmunks 4
Mockingjay Part 2
Jurassic Park 4
Mission: Impossible 5
Star Wars Episode 7
James Bond 24
Fantastic Four reboot
Terminator reboot
Inside Out


Independence Day 2
Finding Dory
The Batman and Superman Movie
Snow White and the Huntsman 2
Inferno (The Da Vinci Code 3)
Kung-Fu Panda 3
Bourne 5
Assassin's Creed


Get Smurfy
Pirates of the Caribbean 5
Alien Covenant (Prometheus 2)

No release date

Avatar 2
The Adventures of Tintin 2
Die Hard 6


No comments:

Post a Comment