Hollywood can’t wait to turn the calendar page to 2018.
The new year must be better for the film industry than the previous 12 months. Here are just a few reasons why 2017 proved so painful to Hollywood:
- A very sad summer box office season
- Streaming’s increasing stranglehold on our attention spans
- Some very high-profile movies that did more than underachieve. They flat out flopped
Here are five 2017 releases that epitomize the latter. Each hit theaters with reasons for optimism. They all slunk away from view with their cinematic tails between their legs.
Dwayne Johnson’s pecs can only do so much. This tired retread of the guilty pleasure series flopped with a tepid $58 million haul. What happened? We can start with the strained R-rated gags that fizzled before our eyes. Add the fact that the TV show lacks the kind of cult following to fuel a franchise. Finally, audiences are burned out on bawdy humor. The occasional “Hangover” is a treat. Seeing 4-8 variations on the theme per year? Way too much. See the “Rough Night” and “Fist Fight” box office performances as Exhibits B and C.
4. Live by Night
Ben Affleck isn’t just Batman (for now). He’s an actor who resurrected his career by directing terrific movies like “The Town” and “Argo.” His latest directorial effort was meant to rock the 2016 Oscar season slate. Instead, it went wide in January and got virtually ignored. Lucky moviegoers!
Why? Affleck cast himself in a role that demanded the kind of movie star charisma he lacks. The story itself is a bore, and the lack of awards season buzz gave audiences a heads up to avoid it at all costs.
Call it “Baywatch II.” This “update” on a “classic” TV show discarded the source material’s G-rated spirit for a hard-R mojo. Bad move. The trailers were painful to watch, and comedies without hilarious trailers suffer at the box office. Just ask those lady Ghostbusters.
Director/star/co-writer Dax Shepard may love the ’70s TV series of the same name. He still did the show, and its fan base, a disservice with this dud.
2. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Al Gore caught the zeitgeist wave with his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Yes, the media gave him plenty of help, but people were understandably worried that global warming could have severe, if not dire, consequences.
Eleven years later, many of the doom and gloom predictions of Gore acolytes haven’t come to pass. It’s no wonder that the sequel, which blends alarmism with hopeful news about green energy advancements, drew a far smaller crowd.
Why did this disaster film flop? Let’s count the reasons.
- The early buzz wasn’t just bad. It was atrocious.
- Gerard Butler can’t carry a movie on his own.
- More climate change alarmism? Pass.
- A lousy trailer.
- Insanely bad reviews.