6 Harsh Truths The Movie Business Needs To Face

Thanks to the wide array of viewing options, from 4D IMAX to VR to using your smartphone to dick off with Netflix under your bed sheets, it's never been a crazier and cooler time to be a movie fan ... and a more terrifying time to be a movie studio. Due to the oversaturation of blockbusters and audience unpredictability, every box office projection for 2015 wheezed to a halt faster than Immortan Joe on a stair stepper.

And so, in the interest of helping 2016 Hollywood thrive, it's time to learn from sifting through the wreckage of 2015's failures like they're the victims of a mediocre hurricane. So if any Hollywood big shots are reading this, then please take note.

#6. '80s Nostalgia Is Officially Dead

Paramount Pictures

The Jem And The Holograms movie (yep, there was a Jem And The Holograms movie last year) was a glittery turd. Just a big ol' bowl of sparkle-dung wafting in the hot sun like Satan's ice cream. The Poltergeist remake was the cinematic equivalent of fucking dirt, and Terminator Genisys was like spending Easter in an infirmary. Just the saddest of failures, like watching a baby deer drown in a lake.

I'm never hyperbolic; Jem was so bad that on its BEST weekend, it made $1.3 million on 2,500 screens. The weekend after, it averaged $160 per theater, or 16 people per viewing. All across America. It took two weeks to be pulled from the public eye by the studio. No one wanted to see that movie. But are we surprised? The original cartoon came out 30 goddamn years ago and vomited the '80s.

Hasbro
The original title/premise was Ziggy Stardust Bastard Child Attack Force.

And that's what I'm getting at here: '80s nostalgia is dead. It's official. I'm calling it right now. No, don't try to object, you old freak. It's dead. It's on the floor and it's blue in the face. Like a Smurf ... that's dead.

The effect can be seen in every '80s nostalgia film this year, from the successful to the terrible. Pixels did shit numbers that were sadly similar to Mad Max: Fury Road's box office draw. Both films were leaning on an era that the kids just don't give a shit about these days. After all, most of the audience for Fury Road was over 35 -- otherwise known as the people not going to a lot of movies.

So what did make a lot of money? Oh, right ...

Variety
Apparently that Phantom Menace sequel is doing pretty well, too.

It was that film series about dinosaurs from the '90s, along with Goosebumps, Straight Outta Compton, and the new Spongebob movie. It's almost as if the people who lived through the '90s are suddenly the ones living in the sweet spot for nostalgia. Like ... if I were a movie executive, I might think that it's time to shift the focus to be less on the '80s and more ...

Warner Bros.
Shit.

Fine. Forget I said anything.

#5. Celebrities Don't Mean Shit Anymore

Columbia Pictures

Question: When was the last time you were excited for an Adam Sandler movie? And I don't mean a movie with Adam Sandler in it; I mean an "Adam Sandler movie," where the whole piece is crafted around the famously comedic talents of one man.

OK, maybe Sandler isn't the best example.

Columbia Pictures
The correct answer was this, of course.

But what I'm getting at is that even if you're some twisted imbecile who enjoyed Grown Ups, Pixels, and/or The Ridiculous Six, those are all ensemble films, and not centered around one performance. On his own, Sandler hasn't made a successful comedy in ten years. To expand our search: Ask yourself the same questions about actors like Vin Diesel or Chris Pratt. Are they ever your deciding factor for seeing a new film?

I'm guessing not. I'm guessing that there wasn't a blockbuster this year that you saw because of a single celebrity in it -- because most blockbusters are now bigger than their stars. George Clooney might be an international hunk, but his Newman-esque musk can't mask the stank of Tomorrowland. Bill Murray is generally considered a walking God, but hasn't made a worthwhile non-Wes-Anderson film in a decade. This includes Rock The Kasbah, which has topped many lists of the biggest bombs of last year, despite also featuring recognizable faces like Bruce Willis and Zooey Deschanel.

Open Road Films
The fact that you can see her full forehead for two seconds doomed the movie.

Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Hugh Jackman, Sean Penn, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, and Johnny Depp all headlined horrific box office shitslides during 2015. And as The Washington Post points out, this has been a long time coming. Ridley Scott caught shit for hiring nothing but white A-listers as Egyptian characters to give Exodus more mainstream appeal, only to have that film bomb anyway. In 2014, Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meryl Streep, Aaron Eckhart, and Jeff Bridges each took one to the face and chest with star-studded flops. Meanwhile, the biggest hits that year were Transformers, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and The Hobbit -- films featuring ensemble casts, and are in no way reliant on a single star to carry them.

Summit Entertainment
This would have caused riots in 1993, but it was "Eh, wait for Netflix" in 2013.

Look: Diesel, Pratt, and Murray are badass no matter how many of their films bomb. But when you're acting beside a 70-foot CGI water monster doing Shamu tricks, it doesn't really matter what your talent level is. After all, Jurassic World was destined to murder the box office before a single detail about it was released. Which is why ...

#4. Modern Blockbusters Either Make All The Money Or Fail Spectacularly

20th Century Fox

Movie budgets have swelled so much over the years that $60 million, which once fully-funded a visually groundbreaking Steven Spielberg adaptation of Jurassic Park, is now barely sustaining Johnny Depp's mustachioed tomfuckery in Mortdecai. In fact, despite making close to the same bank, Jurassic World cost nearly three times as much as its way-better predecessor, thanks to the series gradually growing in budget. Not to mention how the average cost of marketing has gone from $4 million in the 1980s to a ball-sploding $200 million today. That's three Jurassic Parks -- or, according to his salary at the time, 200 million shirtless Jeff Goldblums.

Universal Studios
He's partially covered because he charges a million per visible nipple.

This is why Pan ate shit like a drunk toddler in a pasture. Adding that marketing cost to a $150 million budget means that the film has to clear $350 million just to break even (which it did not). Compare that to another Peter Pan film: Hook, which back in the '90s cost only $70 million to make, despite having A-list stars and a top-notch director. It ended up making a "mere" $300 million -- which, while disappointing, isn't the tragic disaster of Pan. Because much like in America itself, the "middle class" of movies is slowly going away.

TriStar Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros.
Or like Captain Hook, who will be a fetus in the next installment.

No, really. We're hitting Occupy Wall Street disparity when it comes to the box office, as 55 percent of the earnings from the top 15 films of 2015 were made by only five of those films. Everything else is either breaking even or bombing. This is because, while movie and marketing budgets might be getting larger, the average American still only sees about five movies per year ... and it's apparently the same five for everyone.

The result is a series of chart-topping gems sandwiched between slabs of record-shattering fart nuggets. If you look at the bottom six worst wide-openings of films in the last 30 years, three of them are from 2015 (and two of those are from the same damn weekend).

Box Office Mojo
We've always said that Delgo was ahead of its time.

Movies like Jem And The Holograms and Victor Frankenstein made history for opening weekend losses. Films from this year topped multiple "worst box office performance" charts for wide releases which ranged from 2,500 to 3,000 theaters. Like the ultimate Hot Pocket, the colds are getting colder and the hots are getting hotter, with nothing in between. Also like Hot Pockets, movies are now a bummer to consume during a certain time of the year ...

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David Christopher Bell

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