Friday, September 8, 2017

SUMMER FILM CHALLENGE 2017 - Final Results


Alright, my fellow Mercs, the Summer film season has officially come to a close, and with it come the end of the SUMMER FILM CHALLENGE!!  It's been a crazy ride, full of ups and downs, but we finally have the results.  Check out the Top 10 Domestic Box Office earners and the point standings below along with some words from the challengers.




TOP 10 DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE EARNERS - SUMMER 2017


1 Wonder Woman $408,939,021 6/2/2017
2 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $389,639,205 5/5/2017
3 Spider-Man: Homecoming $324,051,546 7/7/2017
4 Despicable Me 3 $257,895,405 6/30/2017
5 Dunkirk $178,754,545 7/21/2017
6 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales $172,293,066 5/26/2017
7 Cars 3 $150,846,869 6/17/2017
8 War for the Planet of the Apes $144,254,763 7/14/2017
9 Transformers: The Last Knight $130,168,683 6/23/2017
10 Girls Trip $111,581,945 7/21/2017



POINT STANDINGS

Joshua "The Merc" Raynor:  58 points

Jonathan Youngblood:  49 points

Ryan McKenna:  44 points





Josh: 58 Jonathan: 49 Ryan: 44
Rank GUESS POINTS GUESS POINTS GUESS POINTS
1 4 3 3 5 5 3
2 1 7 1 7 1 7
3 3 10 4 7 3 10
4 2 5 2 5 2 5
5 10 3 9 3 DH 1
6 6 10 8 5 8 5
7 7 10 6 7 4 3
8 5 3 7 7 6 5
9 8 7 5 3 7 5
10 - - - - - -



THE MERC'S THOUGHTS

So the Summer is over.  There were some great films, and some not so great films.  And there were plenty of surprises to go around.  When I was first trying to figure out what my Top 10 predictions would be, I tried to go about it in the most clinical, logical way possible.  So I looked at previous installments of the various franchise films that came out, I looked at films from the same director, and films in similar genres, and from there I made my picks.  I think this is what helped me to actually hit three of my pics right on the dot.

Even though the top 4 weren't in the exact order I had predicted, it is nice to see that the four that I chose all made it to the Top 4.  The biggest reason for this mix up was the surprise smash hit from DC/Warner Bros., Wonder Woman.  I don't know anyone who actually thought Wonder Woman would crack the Top 3, but to become the biggest film of the Summer...that's incredible, and made me really hopeful for the future of DC Films.

This Summer also saw three other big surprises.  The first is Christopher Nolan's latest endeavor, the war epic, Dunkirk.  This film managed to come in at #5 for the Summer, but none of us thought it would get that high.  The closest any of us came was Jonathan who predicted it hitting the 9th spot.  The next surprise was the new comedy, Girls Trip, a films that none of us had anywhere near our lists, which managed to grab the 10th spot.  This is a film that most people didn't have high expectations for and it soared past.  The final surprise isn't actually on the Top 10 list, but I felt it deserved a mention.  In the #11 spot sits the latest film from director Edgar Wright, Baby Driver.  This is a film that absolutely no one would have thought would reach the levels it did, and for me, it became my favorite film of the entire year.



JONATHAN'S THOUGHTS

This summer was a mess. Occasionally, it was a beautiful mess. However, for someone like me who bet strongly on the “conventional” picks of the summer and failed to take any real risks with his rankings, I am still dumbstruck by the power of so many films. It comes as a moderate shock that Marvel Studios was unseated by DC’s Wonder Woman, which catapulted past both Guardians of the Galaxy:Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, in the end, the Top 4 of the year did shake out to be right around what everyone expected, just in a slightly different order. It also comes as little surprise that Cars 3, Transformers: The Last Knight, and War for the Planet of the Apes stayed in the Top 10 of the Summer. However, what should (and did) shock pundits is that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales¸ which rightfully was considered to be a dead franchise by so many, resoundingly beat its competition, locking in the #6 spot. Franchise fatigue might be kicking in for some, but Disney properties seem to be largely immune.

The greatest surprise, to me, of the summer is just how well two niche films performed. Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s most divisive and controversial effort, absolutely demolished its opponents, finishing a very strong #5 behind the franchise behemoths of Marvel, DC, and Minions. I bet the highest of the three of us for Dunkirk and, even then, I considered it to be my least logical placement and only put it at a weak #9, swapping it repeatedly with The Emoji Movie, which I thought stood a chance of raking in the lowest-common-denominator money in theaters. Taking the #10 place is a movie I never in my wildest dreams foresaw making over $100mil. Girls Trip wasn’t even mentioned by any of the three of us, despite all of us expecting an R-rated comedy to finish fairly well (following the pattern set by Bad Moms). Rough Night and Baywatch faded into obscurity, and this niche-comedy with fairly horrid marketing proved to be the underdog story of the summer. I couldn’t be happier. Girls Trip is an outstanding comedy.

In the end, I am most proud that, of the movies I dreaded writing about at this point at the end of the summer, almost none ended up performing well. The Emoji Movie, The Mummy, and The Dark Tower all received their due failure. Even mediocre projects like yet-another-Transformers flopped domestically, hopefully cementing the truth that American audiences have finally seen through Michael Bay’s uncreative, uninspired shtick. And, in the end, the best blockbuster of the summer finished in its rightful spot. Now, we prepare for Oscar season, and begin to place our bets for Best Picture. This year is far from over, Mercs and Geeks and Gamers.




RYAN'S THOUGHTS

Summer 2017 was an interesting venture. On the one hand, I think we saw many quality films, some of which are early contenders to be in the awards discussion. On the other, we saw a lot of big misses and some of the lowest box office returns in many years. There are many things to be hopeful for yet, at the same time, the business of what we saw this summer reveals some highly worrying trends for the future of this industry that we all love.

It sort of comes as no surprise that this summer was dominated by superhero fare with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Wonder Woman occupying the top 3 positions. Although none of these have broken that $1 billion worldwide mark, they have all performed incredibly respectfully at the domestic box office and offer evidence that that craze is far from over. On the flip side, neither major animated film (Cars 3 or Despicable Me 3) managed to break into those top 3 spots. With the wild success of Finding Dory last year it was easy to see why the predictions for those films were so high. It looks like kids might have gone outside instead.

In addition to the animated fare, major franchise films outside of the superhero bubble struggled this summer. The early summer entry Alien: Covenant made a fraction of what its reviled earlier entry, Prometheus, did. The Mummy was a failure almost as soon as it began. Even the three major franchise films that did find their way into the top 10 (War for the Planet of the Apes, Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Transformers: The Last Knight) all distinctly underperformed in a year that we could rightly call sluggish. It’s clear that conventional wisdom with these films is starting to go out the window and the audiences that are making their way to cinemas as finding other avenues to get their entertainment.

What I am happy to see are the two films that shocked everyone. Dunkirk (my favorite movie of 2017) and Girls Trip both took pundits by surprise as they found audiences and ended up reaping huge rewards as a result. Quality marketing, filmmaking, and word of mouth seems to have contributed to these smash successes that have prevailed where other good films have failed in this competitive movie season. Overall, I’m happy with how things shook up, but there is no question I am worried about what the poor returns mean for the future. Good game gentlemen!




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