Friday, August 23, 2013

<i>You're Next</i>: Can a Well-Reviewed Horror Movie Make Money?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 2:37 PM

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Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: Early box office numbers for this YA fantasy adaptation have only been slightly stronger than the likes of Beautiful Creatures and The Host, which surprises me only because I had thought the Screen Gems route might make financial sense for a low-rent-looking would-be franchise-starter. Its slate is typically a mix of Underworld, Resident Evil, Nicholas Sparks or Sparks-like romances, African-American ensembles, teen comedies and/or dance movies, and genre movies that look like Underworld and Resident Evil fucked and had an aggro baby; that is to say, Screen Gems does lucrative, mid-level genre movies that a lot of the big studios toss aside in pursuit of four-quadrant megahits (you know, like RIPD) and the occasional awards bait. But Screen Gems has been quiet this year; Mortal Instruments is their first release in 11 months. I hope they're not tying all of their resources up in this movie, promotion for which began ridiculously early for something coming out on August 23 (probably the weirdest choice for a long-lead campaign since The Odd Life of Timothy Green), not least because it's looking like City of Bones will perform more like Screen Gems nonstarters like Priest or Legion than the Twilight or Hunger Games numbers movie executives clearly and explicably had in mind. Then again, no Screen Gems movies ever cost more than $70 million, so I don't know that they've ever really taken a bath on any of their B or C-movies.

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