Monday, June 27, 2011

Strong Box Office Despite Weak Reviews

The L.A. Times notes:

... After this weekend, it turns out that not only can Pixar create something middling, but we'll come out to see it anyway, if not for ourselves then for our children. Which kind of throws into question, at least in more cynical moments, whether the quality was as much of a reason for the earlier films' popularity as we previously thought. ...

I haven't seen either of the Cars, so I won't comment on quality or lack thereof.

Except to observe that no studio turns out flawless entertainment every time at bat. I think that Pixar is allowed to have a feature or two that doesn't measure up to their own benchmarks, it's the nature of filmmaking. (Anybody want to guess what the creators of Casablanca turned out next? The answer is, Passage to Marseille, nobody's idea of an immortal classic.)

Pixar might suffer some collateral damage from this, but only if the next two or three movies suffer the same critical brickbats, the same negative word of mouth. Top-quality motion pictures are difficult to make under the best of circumstances. If this time the elements didn't magically blend together, perhaps the next one will knock everybody out of their seats.

The danger lies in having several under-powered pieces of feature-making in a row. It happened to Disney Feature Animation after the release of The Lion King and the departure of Jeffrey Katzenberg. Big box office continued for a time, but the huge opening weekends, critical hossanas and enthusiastic audiences began to dissipate. Whether the same thing happens to the Mouse's newer animation unit, I don't know. But time will reveal if history repeats itself.


Anonymous said...

Nicely put Steve

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course Quality was the reason. Great storytelling, great stories, and great characters. Cars 2 was noisy and bland, but better than rango, astroboy, kungfupanda 2, and space chimps. Not saying much, I know, but at least Cars 2 and KungfuPanda are raking it in. rango didn't even cover it's cost.

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