This is especially weird when we look at the reviews that came out around Spider-Man 3's release. There are some harsh ones, but for the most part, they all seem to think it was just ... whatever. And "just whatever" is definitely a little better than "The movie is so bad that it literally shot my uncle." Does Spider-Man 3 deserve the all-too-common "It's been a few years now. Is this movie SECRETLY a MASTERPIECE?" treatment? No. God, no. But it's weird how badly we want the numbers to conform to our opinions.
The Pirates Of The Caribbean Movies Outperform Most Pixar Releases
If there was a festival for "Why Is This Still Happening?", the emcee would be The Walking Dead, and The Big Bang Theory would be the opening act. The headliner, though, would be the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, which has seemed to retroactively last too long. I remember seeing the second one, Dead Man's Chest, in 2006, hearing about the third one coming out in 2007, and thinking "Oh. That sounds like a lot." Fast-forward less than a year, and At World's End had made nearly a billion dollars worldwide. Ten years after that, the fifth movie (Dead Men Tell No Tales) still cranked out nearly $800 million worldwide. If you're wondering why Hollywood spends most of its waking hours attempting to build franchises around Johnny Depp, it's because of that.
But so what, right? It's a big action series, so of course it would make a lot of money. However, in the process, it's also outdoing most of the other non-Marvel/Star Wars stuff that Disney is producing. Ya know, the films that are supposed to be enchanting children all over the Earth?
If we're counting worldwide numbers, since 2007, only two movies from Walt Disney Animation Studios have managed to outperform the worst-performing Pirates movie (the last one). If you're wondering about how bad POTC 5 is, when I saw it in theaters, a little kid sitting in front me told her dad, "I wish I wasn't here." Not "I don't like this movie" or "Can we go?", but hoping to be wiped from existence out loud.
But everybody KNOWS that Walt Disney Animation is for GRANDPAS and LAME-O'S. When it comes to carefully run subsidiaries of Walt Disney Studios, PIXAR is THE SHIT. Yet, if Dead Men Tell No Tales was a Pixar movie, it would be the sixth-highest-grossing one, beating out Up, WALL-E, and the first two Toy Story films. And if Dead Man's Chest was a Pixar movie? It would earn the silver medal behind Toy Story 3's gold. I wish I wasn't here.
The Hobbit Movies Have Stomped All Over The MCU
The Hobbit film trilogy did everything wrong that the The Lord Of The Rings trilogy did right. Overlong, full of CGI that weirdly removed any stakes from the action, bursting with forced references to the original films, as well as awful subplots that seemed designed only to extend the runtime. Entire character arcs get dropped, entire effects sequences seem unfinished ...
... and the second film ends with a cliffhanger that is resolved almost with a shrug in the third. They're a cautionary tale for how not to do an adaptation, and also they've whipped the pants off of the current king of the adaptations, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The domestic grosses for The Hobbit are pretty standard for the "giant blockbuster based on characters that everyone knows" genre -- around $300 million. But their worldwide grosses are massive, outranking the first two Lord Of The Rings films, and only falling short of Return Of The King. The Battle Of The Five Armies, a weird, sad blend of CGI and copious winks at people who know what happens in Fellowship Of The Ring, earned $956 million worldwide. It did the worst of the Hobbit films, and yet it would rank around seventh when compared to the MCU.
An Unexpected Journey, despite having a second act that's around four days too long, made over a billion dollars, and it would also be in that seventh place ... meaning it beat Spider-Man: Homecoming, both Guardians Of The Galaxy flicks, and Thor: Ragnarok. Before I looked at the numbers, I figured that there was no way that more people passed away from old age in the middle of Desolation Of Smaug than enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier around the globe. But those poor souls still count, and meandering Tolkien adaptations are still one of the only forces on Earth that can beat Thor.
So if you're wondering why Amazon is spending half a billion dollars on a LOTR prequel series, that's why.
Daniel Dockery has a Twitter that is mostly about Spider-Man and Pokemon. So that's something.
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