Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Do poor reviews lead to poor box office?

Driving home this evening there was a report about the poor performance of the latest Johnny Depp movie "Transcendence" at the box office.  Poor reviews were cited as the reason.  Do reviewers have that much power or do we only ever hear about bad reviews after a poor box office?

Unscientific Test

List 1 Top Ten Box Office 2013
1. Catching Fire
2.  Iron Man 3
3.  Frozen
4.  Despicable Me 2
5.  Man Of Steel
6.  Gravity
7.  Monsters University
8.  Hobbit 2
9. Fast and Furious 6
10.  Oz, The Great and Powerful

List 2 Top Ten Box Office Flops 2013 (Forbes)
1.  The Fifth Estate
2.  Bullet to the Head
3.  Paranoia
4.  Parker
5.  Broken City
6.  Battle of the Year
7.  Getaway
8.  Peeples
9.  R.I.P.D
10.  The Big Wedding

Now look at the lists again with their Rotten Tomatoes score.

List 1 Top Ten Box Office 2013
1. Catching Fire 89%
2.  Iron Man 3 78%
3.  Frozen 89%
4.  Despicable Me 2 74%
5.  Man Of Steel 56%
6.  Gravity 97%
7.  Monsters University 78%
8.  Hobbit 2 74%
9. Fast and Furious 6 68%
10.  Oz, The Great and Powerful 59%

List 2 Top Ten Box Office Flops 2013 (Forbes)
1.  The Fifth Estate 37%
2.  Bullet to the Head 46%
3.  Paranoia 5%
4.  Parker 41%
5.  Broken City 28%
6.  Battle of the Year 6%
7.  Getaway 2%
8.  Peeples 35%
9.  R.I.P.D 13%
10.  The Big Wedding 7%
Average Score Top Ten = 76%
Average Score Top Flops = 22%

These results, as unscientific as they are, do seem to suggest a simple conclusion - Bad Reviews = Bad Box Office. However, if you look at the previous Forbes list from 2012 you will find Dredd 78%, Big Miracle 73% and Premium Rush 76%.  Clearly, it is not as simple as some journalists seem to think it is.

Friday, 18 April 2014

How Long Is Too Long?

How long is too long?

When compiling the book “Worst Movie Ever”, I read through an enormous amount of 1* film reviews.  Films are loved and loathed for many different reasons – acting, story, look, message etc.
One of the most common reasons for disliking a film was length.  Some reviewers complain about length and its relationship with boredom, others bemoan about how the time spent watching could have been spent doing something more worthwhile. 
Let's have a question.  Without looking, answer this question – Which Star Wars movie is the longest?

I would guess that you chose a movie from the prequels.

I was asked this question in a pub quiz once and I chose The Phantom Menace.  The answer is Attack of the Clones (142 minutes).  I was so sure I was right, I checked as soon as got home from the pub.  What surprised me most was that Return of the Jedi is only two minutes shorter than The Phantom Menace. I would have thought that there was at least half an hour between the two.

Unscientific test

Aim: To find out the answer to the question “How Long is too long?”

Method: I will only use films listed in the IMDb Top 250.  Starting with number one “The Shawshank Redemption” at 142 minutes.  I will look at the user reviews that “Hated” the movie.  Using the first ten listed, I will record any complaints about the length of the movie.  After that, I will continue through the list until I find a film which is about ten minutes shorter (132 minutes).  Each film will be scored as a percentage and I will carry on until a film scores 0%.

The Shawshank Redemption 142mins – 20% mentions length

One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest 133mins – 10%

Star Wars: A New Hope 121mins – 0%

As you can see by my completely unscientific research, two hours is the magic time.  Any longer and you risk the wrath of the 1* reviewer. 

Fact File
Longest film in the top 20 – Seven Samurai (207mins) – 80% 1* Reviews mention length
Shortest film in the top 20 – 12 Angry Men (96mins) – 0% 1* Reviews mention length
Average length (156minutes 45seconds)

Unfortunately, I was unable to include any movies about “length” in the trial.  However, for those who are interested.  Boogie Nights (155mins) was slightly shorter than the average length although Hedwig and the Angry Inch (95mins) was much shorter.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Now available in the Kindle store. A short, fun read! Read an alternative view of the World's Most Popular Movies.

The aim, when writing this book, was to search the Internet for bad reviews.  Not bad reviews of bad films but bad reviews of popular films.  Starting with the most popular film on IMDb.com - The Shawshank Redemption.

I didn't have to look too far!

"This movie is average at best. just saw the expendables 2. 10 times better than this boring shit"
JamesbURGY YouTube

If you find or have some amusing reviews of any movie in the IMDb Top 250, please post them in the comment section.  They may find there way into the next edition of the book.