Monday, July 15, 2013

Some views on Sharknado and Pacific Rim

Bet you never expected to see those two movies mentioned in the same sentence, did you?  But everyone is chiming in on the public responded to these features, and well, I have to say a few things as well.  After all, this is the Internet.

First up, people were amazed at the amount of Tweets generated by Sharknado, until they looked at the ratings.  Then everyone started calling the Asylum film a ratings flop.  But the rating system hasn't kept up with technology and isn't a real representation of how many people were watching Syfy at 9 pm Thursday night.

And if you need any other reason to watch this film, well, damn, you don't see this every day!

First off, the single night ratings don't take into account DVR viewings.  Sure, people are able to fast forward through the commercial breaks, but they are watching the program.  Such delayed viewing, which it appears can be tracked, was enough to give Dollhouse a partial season to wrap things up, and I suspect gives Sharknado a decent bump in views for the week.

But another component must be added into the equation, how many people viewed Sharknado at a party.  A household with three people might have tuned into Sharknado, but if that house hosted a party attended by 25 people, the ratings won't reflect the total viewership of that single household.  Add in the people watching it at a bar (I've seen pictures on line of such events), and the viewership will get a significant bump, not reflected by the number of households tuned in to the show.

Still, that doesn't mean the public wants Sharknado 2: The Sharkening.  I can only hope all the talk about sequels will die down and everyone will be happy with a film that hit the right nerve at the right time.  But try to hit that nerve again, and the cute little tickle might feel like a lightening bolt of pain.

Okay, if you watched Sharknado but not Pacific Rim, I don't want to hear you complain 
about CGI effects EVER!

Onto Pacific Rim.  Yes, it was rather disappointing that the film was beaten by Grown Ups 2, but I think the outcome was never in doubt.  First off, the trailer for Pacific Rim was hard to find in theaters.  Counting nothing but theatrical trailers, I wouldn't have known about del Toro's giant monsters vs. giant robot film, as I ONLY SAW A TRAILER IN THE THEATER ONCE!  Okay, maybe twice, but still, I saw the trailers for The Lone Ranger far too many times, and everyone knew the masked man was going to tank at the box office.

Granted, I've cut back on my trips to the cinema for several reasons, but given my exposure to the trailer, I suspect it wasn't placed in front of too many films.  And that really hamstrung the film, as it's not a sequel and has a title that really doesn't sum up the plot very well.  Had the film been entitled Giant Robots! Giant Monsters!!  RON PERLMAN!!, I suspect it would have done better this weekend.

Let's face it, genre fans might bring in some money, but it's not enough for a blockbuster.  It wasn't fanboys that made the Dark Knight series, or the current Marvel Movie Universe such a success.  The studios made the films appeal to both mainstream audiences and fans of the material, promoted it well and let EVERYONE know the type of movie they should expect.  The studio didn't really do that with Pacific Rim, and the opening weekend returns show that.

But we can still turn things around, to a point.  Fans who saw the film could generate enough word of mouth to others, and those of you I mentioned earlier could get your butts into a theater seat, and we might keep this in theaters for a while.  Add in the strong opening overseas (the film has yet to hit China and Japan), and we might get a sequel.

Still, even though I don't believe genre fans alone can make a film a success, I am going to give a special shout out to the fans of all things horror/sci fi/ giant monster films who decided to wait for a home video release or (even worse) plan to see it online through some nefarious means.  Thanks in part to your desire not to spend a few bucks, control of the giant robot genre has been conceded to Michael Bay.  And Pacific Rim's third place opening has likely sealed the fate of Hellboy 3 and At the Mountain of Madness for good, as del Toro will be viewed by the studios as a director that can not open a big budget film.  Hope you're happy, because that's what you get when you won't be troubled to visit the multiplexes.

Sure, we can blame the system for being out to get us, as the recent, and rather irrational, uproar about the ratings for Sharknado shows.  But, looking at the numbers for Pacific Rim, we nerds might be our worse enemy.

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