My name is Mario-Francisco Robles. I’m a writer/critic here at Latino-Review, but offline I’m someone who’s dedicated my life to entertainment. I’ve been entertaining audiences professionally over 15 years. Entertainment, in all its forms, is my life. Some of my … Continue reading

Why Movie Studios Don’t Care About You. Yes, You.

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My name is Mario-Francisco Robles. I’m a writer/critic here at Latino-Review, but offline I’m someone who’s dedicated my life to entertainment. I’ve been entertaining audiences professionally over 15 years. Entertainment, in all its forms, is my life. Some of my favorite moments have been up on stage, giving my all to a sold out crowd, but I’ve also had some equally life-altering moments being in the audience. In this ongoing column, I’ll bring my passion, experience, and perspective to a number of topics that move me as someone whose life revolves around arts and entertainment.

Entry #1: Why Movie Studios Don’t Care About You. Yes, You.

If you’re reading this, then you’re part of the online fan community that frequents film sites. You like to stay up-to-date on upcoming movies. You likely have a love of superheroes and/or comic books. You enjoy hearing the latest Hollywood rumors and rumblings. You probably appreciate hearing about the behind-the-scenes machinations that lead to the movies you love. You may, in fact, be a nerd.

And, guess what, studios don’t care what you think about their blockbusters. Namely ones featuring comic book characters, or that are huge effects-driven spectacles.

Why? It’s simple, really. Because they’re going to get your money anyway.

Let’s take Thursday, for example. The first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit the web. All over the internet, you could heard the rumble of fan response. Of course, it was very passionate on both sides. Many hated it. Many loved it. Tons of folks thought it looked too busy with too many characters while others thought it looked like an epic comic book action-adventure. But at the end of the day, all these people that are bickering? They’re going to see it anyway!

For better or worse, properties involving The X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, or any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe characters are bulletproof.

manyelling

Whether it’s out of morbid curiosity, or “getting dragged” by friends, or because they want to see “how bad” it is, or because their opinion is going to soften in the weeks leading up to the premiere so they want to “give it a chance,” all the haters are going to see it. And that’s all the studio cares about. They want your $12. Period. They don’t need you to be excited about the movie. They don’t need you to approve of the tone, or to agree with the creative liberties they’ve taken. They just need you to pay $12 to see it at your local multiplex.

It’s the funniest thing, really. It’s also very unique to this cross section of fans and type of movies. Would this happen during an election? If you spent months following two candidates, and you believed 100% in one and wished to support them, would you then go on election day to the booth and vote for the other candidate? In essence, that’s what you do whenever you purchase a ticket for a movie that you’ve been protesting. You’re giving them your vote. The way you vote for the other guy, the one you supposedly want (i.e. a movie that fits your criteria in terms of its tone/source material/or, in Spider-Man’s case you want the character to revert to Marvel Studios) is by simply not going.

Money talks. Hit them in the wallet, where it hurts. Don’t buy a ticket, don’t get the t-shirt, or the action figures, or the tie-in books. If you really want to get the movie you’ve dreamed of, don’t give your vote to the one you don’t.

Problem is, can you really resist? It’s hard, isn’t it? Personally, when it comes to Amazing Spider-Man, I sat out the first one. Caught it for free via an On-Demand service two or three months ago. However, there is one upcoming comic book movie that I know, no matter how repulsed I am by practically every aspect of it, I’m going to go see on July 17, 2015. There’s pretty much nothing about it that I agree with or am excited about, but it contains a few characters, and is based on a mythology, that I just can’t ignore. So despite my protests, my scathing review of the first movie, and the countless hours I’ve spent arguing with others about it…they’re gonna get my vote. They’re getting my money; My indirect endorsement of a direction that I have no desire to support.

There lies the rub.

greengoblin

So I want you to think about that next time you find yourself embroiled in a flame war in the comment section of a movie site. Next time you’re fighting someone tooth and nail about how terrible a movie looks, and how much you despise what the studio/director is doing with it, ask yourself: “Am I going to end up seeing it?” If the answer is “Yes,” then maybe it’s time to zip it and just go with the flow. You’re going to indirectly tell the filmmakers, “More please!” anyway. If you want Spider-Man to go to Marvel, stop filling Sony’s coffers and he just might.

Lastly, earlier in this column I referenced non-comic book properties- just general “effects-driven spectacles.” That touches on an issue that’s all the more troubling. In the last two years, a disturbing trend has taken hold. International audiences are eating up our blockbusters, more than ever. More and more, Hollywood is shrugging off what North American audiences think of a movie because they know certain types of films will do insane numbers elsewhere.

PacificRimSDCCPoster

Let’s take Pacific Rim as an example. During the first few weeks of its release, it was doom and gloom. It had a fairly soft opening, and didn’t appear to be the fire-starter that Warner Bros had hoped it would be. It ended up making only $102 million here in the states- pretty lousy for a film that cost $190 million to make. But then it went on to make $305 million internationally- bringing it to $407 million. Now director Guillermo del Toro has reason to believe that he could get a green light for a sequel- for a film that got 75% of its total gross from overseas.

Even other famous bombs, like the 2012 Taylor Kitsch one-two punch of John Carter and Battleship made hundreds of millions of dollars overseas. While those films ultimately underperformed and won’t be getting sequels, they definitely showed Hollywood that there’s a massive market out there for CGI-heavy, spectacle-driven, action-first movies.

In short, Hollywood’s disconnect from its most passionate fans is likely to only get worse. The one positive to come from the last two examples I cited, though, is that those films didn’t get sequels. Here in the states, we voted. We voted by not going. So while Hollywood continues to think, “Let’s cram as many explosions in there as possible cause those foreigners love them,” they at least know that they have to try a little harder.

Which brings us back to the question, Can you resist the movies that you wish they’d stop making? Can you put your money where your mouth is? If not, and you keep giving them your $12, then the studios have zero reason to listen to our section of their fan base.

Who knows? Maybe resistance is futile. Maybe we, the passionate, vocal minority are only a drop in the bucket. Perhaps even if every single one of us stayed home, there’d be enough casual, mainstream fans to keep certain franchises afloat. But it’s something worth thinking about, isn’t it? Next time a studio does something that pisses you off, defiles your childhood, or spits in the face of what you hold near and dear, try saying “No thanks.” Could be a step in the right direction.

Thanks for your time.

MFR

You can follow Mario on Twitter: @LatinoReviewMFR
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  • Tey

    I won’t be watching Transformers: Age of Extinction!

  • Mario-Francisco Robles

    Atta boy! Me neither.

  • Vegas82

    I don’t see Michael Bay movies in general. When your answer to everything is EXPLOSION, you aren’t making a very good film.

  • Madcap2112

    I skipped Wolverine twice, only saw First Class after it got an overwhelmingly positive reaction from people i know that are like myself (And i’m glad i went to see it, i can support that direction to use the author’s terminology), I’ll see Spiderman 2 because i loved the first one, and i’ll support BvS because i loved Man of Steel. I’ll probably wait a week to see Xmen:DOFP because i haven’t really been over the moon about ANY Xmen movie other than first class, but if the reaction is anything like first class: i’ll see it on weekend 2.

  • Leroy

    First off id like to say i really enjoy this ongoing column thing you guys at Latino have started doing, so far youve sucked me in pretty good. as far as comic related movies, as a fan of comics, i will always give them a chance. Comics reboot and change things all the time just like the movies do, and just like the movies comics can sometimes get lost in the shiny golden light of multi format marketing and frankly suck. As much as i hate the hollywood machine sometimes, to give up on certain properties completely isnt necessarily the best way to go about it. I personally would rather keep a franchise alive to have it slowly retooled into a more positive outcome, than have it fizzle away completely because everyone decided to put their foot down

  • Madcap2112

    I skipped both ROTF and DOTM. The first one had ONE good thing about it: Peter Cullen. I know people who pirate movies that haven’t bothered to download either of those two movies.

  • Madcap2112

    Yeah, i’m BUMMED we will probably never get a REAL John Carter of Mars movie now.

  • The Gold Standard

    I hate the new “Superman Movie” coming out, but i will see it. Cause i am the sucker you mention. I am that guy. I will watch it, as I watched Meteor Man when that movie came out (I was also like 5, so whatever). Point is, you’re right. However, not every comic franchise is bullet proof, case and point The Fantastic Four, DareDevil, Ghost Rider. Studios struggled to get sequels for these and audiences either didn’t go, or simply went once and bashed the movie. I think its more the Iconic Characters are safe as simply the name now of “Avengers” “Superman” “Batman” will bring in tons of money from casual none-comic book fans who could care less about mythos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.jensen.982 Brad Jensen

    Yes good points that a lot of dumb people just don’t get. Every time you pay to see a bad movie, you are rewarding the filmmakers and funding more future crappy films. So you are to blame if you pay to see them.

  • Bilal Khan

    Pacific Rim was Awesome!

  • Dakkar

    As excited as I was at the idea of Paul Giamatti playing the Rhino, I was that disappointed to learn it was going to be a mech-version of the character. I won’t be seeing it now.

    And it is possible for studios to screw the pooch on this big ticket items. “The Incredible Hulk” suffered greatly at the box office not because it was a bad film (it wasn’t), but because it inherited the bad joss of the original “Hulk” movie.

  • Madcap2112

    TIH was also swamped by both Iron Man and the Dark Knight.

  • Madcap2112

    And the Mech Rhino is the Ultimate Version.

  • Madcap2112

    +1

  • Dakkar

    Doesn’t change the fact that it’s reason enough (for me) not to see the film. There are certain comic book tropes I’ve been waiting my whole life to see, and when they jettison them in favor of something else, they jettison my interest as well.

  • Steve-O

    But even in the comics it doesn’t look like the Transformers reject it does in the trailer

  • mike payton

    I’ll watch for the Dinobots

  • mike payton

    Haven’t seen an X-Men movie since first Wolverine. Not even worth it to pirate. Disney quickly ruining their Avengers brand movies as well with terrible solo movies. Less said about Spiderman the better.

  • Madcap2112

    Dark world was cool. Not too thrilled about IM3

  • Madcap2112

    Fair enough, but it’s not something they cooked up for this movie. It’s in USM.

  • Madcap2112

    I’d like to see more than a flash of it in motion.

  • Madcap2112

    If i can tell who is who, i’ll rent it.

  • Esthersbarelycold

    One of the few advantages to working at a movie theater is that, by seeing films for free, I get to pick and choose what I deem is worthy of a second viewing (and my money). I was very excited for Man Of Steel (those are still some of the greatest film trailers ever edited in history), and I got to see it two days early at an employee screening. Let’s just say the final product was a MAJOR disappointment. Not only would I never go back and watch it again, but I convinced my friends who have similar movie taste to stay home and not support it.

    On the other hand, I got to see Gravity at my theater for free, and I was so utterly blown away that the very next day I took my girlfriend to the nearest IMAX and happily paid $34 for two tickets. Yes, that is an exorbitant rate, but I knew the movie was worth it, and worth supporting.

  • Bilal Khan

    Fuck the studios!!

    Just plan an outing with friends which involves spending some time together at the cinema with some popcorn, drink and nachos! Come out of the hall, discussing and chatting about how fucked up or amazing or mediocre the movie was. Look around, stare at chicks, pee in the multiplex bathroom, stare at some chicks some more, talk some more, have a good time with friends, go home and go to fucking bed!

    OR
    You can go to a bar and drink your ass off with an awesome hangover the next day!

    OR

    You can keep bitching about me bitching about you bitching! :D

  • disqus_DQsEjNW0wZ

    Not a very imformative essay; everything is hearsay. There aren’t any facts in it to back it up.

  • B.S. Bernanke

    Sorkin + Leashed Michael Bay + Bruckheimer + Actors (Harris, Cage, Connery) = The Rock
    Bay can direct – he can’t tells stories
    If S#*t Sells – They Will Sell S#*t
    *exception: THE INTOUCHABLES (French blockbuster – 450 million)
    *Communist China-pandering will rule in the next few years…until military-industrial-banker-government starts another war to distract from failing private fed reserve note.

  • Mario-Francisco Robles

    I understand your confusion, but this actually isn’t a news item. If it were a news article, you could expect information and facts. This is an editorial, which is where you should expect the personal opinions and observations of the writer.

  • Mario-Francisco Robles

    Sounds like an awesome system you have there. And, in regard to your opinions, I couldn’t agree more. Across the board. Those MOS trailers…Wow. If the movie had turned out as good as Trailer #3, it would be on my on my all-time classic list.

  • cg

    IMO Dark world was a bore. Malekeith (check spelling) didn’t seem very villainous at all, he seemed to walk from scene to scene doing not much of anything really. The CGI seemed a bit off putting. IM3 is an entirely different topic. Wish I could get those 2+ hours back.

  • rsixsmith

    i go to matinees for comic book movies. if i like it, i’ll see it again full price. that way i can also vote for what i did like instead of ignoring something out of hand. i made that decision when i went to see the first wolverine. it was the finial straw after x3 and superman stalks lois and her family and lifts heavy things. and i’m glad i decided that, because it prevented me from paying full price for green lantern, something i went into fully expecting it to be cosmic and awesome. i voted for no more thor by not going to see it, even thoughi’m going to rent it. he’s lame. where’s doctor strange?

  • KoreyTM

    Me neither.

  • David Scott King

    Superhero flicks I intentionally skipped in the theatres:
    Elektra, X-Men 3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Catwoman, Fantastic Four, The Green Hornet,
    Kick-Ass 2, The Wolverine.

    Now, as to the reason I have seen MANY superhero flicks that I have issues with, it’s pretty simple: If we DON’T see it, they won’t make another one in an attempt either to “get it right”, or at least improve. Case(s) in point – Not seeing “Batman & Robin” $$$ meant no “Batman Begins”, not seeing “X-Men 3″ meant no “First Class”.

    So in many ways, we’re “damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”

  • rsixsmith

    for me, there was absolutely nothing surprising about the incredible hulk. it was mildly interesting in parts, but it was serviceable at best. and liv tyler and ed norton have zero chemistry. the tim blake nelson scenes were cool. but come on, predictable from start to middle to finish. and i hope they make another hulk movie. i get why they would choose thor (again) before hulk since they have to further the avengers cosmic stuff that’s going on, but come on, get on it marvel. actually, i’m really happy and excited for guardians of the galaxy. way to push ahead.

  • rsixsmith

    which is one of the better series for my money.

  • LazerTron

    This is easy. If you don’t enjoy the movies, don’t reward them with your money.

    After seeing the trailer for GI Joe…I knew the film would be an insult to the property that I cared more about than any other as a kid. I still haven’t watched the movie.

    After hating the Transformers movie, I haven’t bothered to watch any of the sequels.

    After getting disrespected by X-3 and Origins: Wolverine, I decided that X-Men would have to release 2 quality films in a row before I would go see another in theaters. I watched First Class on Netflix and enjoyed it. The Wolverine has not yet come out on Netflix, so the jury is still out on whether I’ll enjoy it and go see the next one in theaters.

    After the crappy Spider-Man 3, and then a needless reboot, I gave up on the Spider-Man franchise. I have not seen The Amazing Spider-Man and there is ZERO chance that I will see the sequel in theaters, especially considering that I haven’t seen the first one.

    After Green Lantern, Jonah Hex, The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, I have finally learned my lesson with DC. I will NOT be seeing Superman vs Batman in theaters.

  • Dorkuswinkus

    Back in my youth i’d see anything – yes I saw Batman & Robin in the theater – but now if the trailer isn’t good, or i’ve decided it’s not what I want to pay $$ for – I don’t go. Unless it’s really awful, Glitter and Pacific Rim, so I can rip it to shreds.

  • KeroT

    You are wrong. The haters download the movie from the net. Sure, they want to see if its any good, but they download a crapy version of it, and saves the money. And to be fare, thats the right thing to do. Think about it. The studios create thru commercials and viral strategies a demand and need for the product. If the product is lousy, and cynically created just to make a buck, downloading the movie is the right thing to do. If the studios treat their audience like a flock of sheep, they deserve to loose money. Im not going to see Spiderman II, and Im not gonna see Transformers. I did not see Wolverine, but I saw Man Of Steel, because I love Superman, and I liked the trailers. Im not waisting my time on something that looks awful. And the Spiderman trailer looked awful.

  • Phantom DJ

    I’m skipping the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie when it comes out.

  • etsjedi

    It is not just epic or comic book movies that get this kind of talk. The problem really is totally crap films like The Heat or Grown-Ups 2 that make money that continues the unfunny comedies we seem to keep getting. Same with those fictional documentery films. American audience even made the PLANES film a hit. So, we have a general audience that will go see some movies no matter how bad they are-and ignore better made films. And we will still have the online movie critic/fanboys/nerds that think they know everything that is cool and are hell-bent to get the word out of how bad something they personally don’t like is. But, you are right they will still pay to go see said movie and as long as that happens we will get Grown-ups 3.

  • jazzyjules63

    This needs a humungous “duh!”. Was anyone really in any illusion that all the movie producers care about is the green stuff? There’s a reason the industry is overrun with a certain kind of people.

  • samjacksonswig

    I would rather piss into my own mouth and gargle for 6 years than give that hack fucker Bay ONE fucking cent of my hard earned $$$$…

  • KaiChen

    Except numbers show they don’t. Plenty of people actually go watch in theaters the movies they criticize online.

  • KeroT

    Give me a source, and I give you that one.

  • KaiChen

    Right after you give me yours.

    But, for once, just go to any talkback and see how all people criticizing it actually mention going to the movies.

  • Matineer

    Mostly agree. Star Trek 2 didn’t do as well in North America as 1. I think fans went to see it, but I don’t think they got tons of repeat business here. I doubt I would choose to see 3 unless it looks really good. Will not buy the 2 DVD, but I have 1. But there are fewer good movies to see each week and more that resemble homogenized CGI spectacles. Last thing: too many movies appear to be random scenes strung around action set pieces. No cause and effect.

  • Dingo

    STFU moron

  • Nicolas Diaz Saavedra

    batman or anything of marvel`s MCU? batman is from DC

  • Onyx

    I like comicbook movies (Batman mostly) but I’ve watched the Iron Man and Avengers and so on in the theater. I go with what I know. And I don’t know anything about ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. I got tore up for saying in another article that I thought it looked stupid. Funny everybody gets an opinion and everybody is right unless that opinion goes against the flow of posts in said article (then I’m an asshole) all of a sudden and I need to show respect and I’m a fanboy etc.
    What I think is really funny about this site is that everything we say is typed out for anyone to read. But there are always a couple of guys or girls that will put words in someone’s mouth,”well you said” and I’ll go back through and meticulously scroll to see what was said and I never find it. This place is terrible on that aspect.
    As far as movies go that don’t appeal to me? I keep it simple,I just don’t go see them and thats not rocket science at work people. Its human intuition.. among other things.
    Overall I like LR and I don’t have a problem with anyone here but those guys that are willing to fight to the death just so you will agree with them,I can do without.

  • Mario-Francisco Robles

    That is correct, sir.
    In other news, commas are awesome and can completely transform the meaning of a sentence.

  • Mario-Francisco Robles

    I hear you, Onyx. But I don’t think this issue is specific to LR. You get all kinds of “colorful personalities” with their “factual opinions” all over the web.

    When entering the comment section of a movie site, it’s always important to remember Obi-Wan’s warning upon entering the cantina in Mos Eisley:

    “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

  • Onyx

    No you’re right.LOL It’s all over the net,not just here. Most of the time I just pay no attention and carry on. Don’t get wrong though.There are very intelligent rebuttals between members here and it’s interesting to read when they are passionately discussing a movie. It usually ends with both sides agreeing to disagree and just moving on and that’s respectable imo.
    I didn’t mean to sound as if I was lumping everyone together. That would be totally wrong of me to say.

  • Onechi

    What a racist and stupid article. So international audiences are dumb while Americans are smart? It’s actually the other way round, lad! The joke is really on so called geeks. You actually thought anybody cared about your opinions?

  • Lane Meyer

    Doesn’t make him any less wrong though, does it? He can back up everything he’s saying with hard numbers. Put your race card away, no one cares.

  • Lane Meyer

    I wish fans in general could just resist the urge to go to the movies on opening day. That would be great. Until then, I’m just going to keep assuming the only reason they go is so they’ll have something to bitch about over the weekend.

  • FassbendersRazzieSpeech

    I call bullshit. I didn’t see X-Men 3 ,X-Men first class, Spiderman, Wolverine , Transformer 2-3 , The Hobbit ( list goes on ) at the cinema. I wait for the dvdrips, screeners etc to come online. Not that it matters to the bottom line, but these fucks are not getting another dime out of me. That goes triple for FOX !!!

    Just downloaded the GRAVITY dvdscreener today. Its Hollywood Silly Season , and now the studios begin sending out screeners to the acadamy members . Thank you for that.

    Back to the topic : The actors don’t give a fuck about the fans either. Robert $$$$$ jr, Hugh “Its gonna be epic” Jackman, Christian Bale etc . None of them give a shit. And that’s worse because those dicks ACT like they do, and say they care during interviews.

  • Mario-Francisco Robles

    Actually, I never addressed the “Why” regarding why international audiences seem to be eating these big spectacles lately. So I’m sorry you’ve assumed that I think it has anything to do with anyone’s intelligence.

    If I were to guess why this has become the case, aside from improved marketing strategies, I would think this is the reason:

    These big blockbusters, with their emphasis on visuals and larger-than-life stories, are sort of universal. You don’t have to have a great grasp of the english language, or any language really, to understand the storylines and themes. I bet you could hit the mute button on a lot of the CGI-heavy tentpoles lately, and know almost exactly what’s going on. Since there’s less emphasis on groundbreaking dialogue, or multi-layered characters, and more on being a live-action cartoon…it broadens the appeal of the films.

    I know, from experience, that my great-grandmother, who could hardly speak a lick of english, loved going to the movies to see big silly action movies. To her, they were an escape, and they were easy to follow (“That’s the good guy. That’s the bad guy. That’s the love interest. Villain does something bad. Hero saves the day.”). And so I imagine a variation of that is happening, but on a global scale.

    But that’s just a guess :) Thanks for reading, lad.

    Also, I’ll just go ahead and ignore your ACTUAL racist remark, just cause that level of hypocrisy cracks me up.

  • Dakkar

    We’re getting a little off topic, but personally, I think you’re being too hard on “The Incredible Hulk”. Granted, I haven’t seen the first movie since it originally came out, and the second time only once a few weeks back, but I thought it a laudable attempt at a mid-course correction. It’s a difficult balancing act, keeping the “Hulk smash!” portions of the audience happy at the same time as those looking for the more thoughtful, man-on-the-run-helping-others elements of the Bixby series. And it did the one thing that a lot of critics gripe about with any reboot – it kept the origin story aspects to almost an afterthought instead of telling the same story again. In pulling out some of my original Hulk comics, I was surprised at how closely Ed Norton resembled Bruce Banner, particularly when he wore glasses. And I was very pleased with William Hurt given the chance to play someone forceful for a change, since I almost always see him playing more ineffectual characters. In fact, my only real disappointment was Tim Roth, and it wasn’t his acting so much as it was his grooming; he needed a shave and a good military haircut to make his parade dress uniform scenes more convincing.
    I am cautiously hopeful for “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s such an off-kilter project I can’t help but wish them well, but the tag scene in “Thor 2” was not reassuring.

  • Onechi

    My friend, it appears you have interpreted the international appreciation of ‘summer tent poles’ to some sort of diminished mental capacity. However, the standards of education worldwide are not as low as you think. The English language is universally understood I assure you. What the studios have merely realized is, rather than pandering to a holier than thou (albeit minor) market segment, that only brings in a small fraction of income, let’s nuance our efforts to accommodate the greater world.

    It’s the sheer pomposity and flagrant self indulgence your words portray that is baffling It’s clearly no longer just about American audiences first. In case you didn’t notice we live in a global community now. The studios have figured this out and moved with the times. Therefore your relevance is questionable. Perhaps there is a ‘China-Review’ or ‘Africa-Review’ site we should all be logging into?

  • cg

    oh hey dingo how are you doing today?