A Hybrid Mutant
Join Date: Aug 2004
Re: 'Days Of Future Past' BOX-OFFICE worldwide prediction
Trailer Talk: 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Sells X-Nostalgia
Despite its reputation as a top-tier franchise, no X-Men film has ever made more than the $574 million earned by Night at the Museum or the $480m grossed by Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The biggest grossing entry of the series, X-Men: The Last Stand, earned “just” $459m in 2006, or about what Thor earned ($449m) back in 2011. After that, we’re looking at $407m (X2: X-Men United) and The Wolverine, which is quickly catching up with $405m and counting worldwide this year. Fox is attempting to change that next summer with a page out of the Fast & Furious playbook.
Those numbers quoted above are solid, but for a franchise that more-or-less started the modern comic book era, they are somewhat small potatoes compared to Iron Man or Spider-Man. What Fox is attempting next summer, on May 24th, 2014 to be exact, is tantamount to what Universal brilliantly pulled off back in April 2011 with Fast Five. Now, to be clear, this is different than the even more impressive coup that Universal pulled with Fast & Furious in April 2009 (“new model, old parts”), but I’ll be discussing that marketing masterstroke in detail next year for the film’s fifth anniversary. Fast & Furious brought back the original team, but Fast Five brought back everyone.
What Universal did with Fast Five is basically “franchise all-stars to the rescue”, bringing back not just the original cast members from The Fast & the Furious but nearly every major character from every previous Fast/Furious installment for a glorious team-up adventure. It was The Avengers a year prior to The Avengers. That Fast Five was a shockingly terrific caper was of course a nice bonus, but the marketing was able to sell “everyone you loved in the previous four films, back for more!”, with added-value element Dwayne Johnson tossed in for good measure. The result was a $626 million worldwide haul, nearly double the $363m gross of Fast & Furious.
That’s the trick that Fox is trying for this, the seventh (!) X-Men picture released since 2000. This is technically a sequel to 2011′s prequel X-Men: First Class, but Fox is bringing the whole band back together. As most of you know, the time-travel story isn’t just bringing back James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence from the last prequel entry, but also Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart from X-Men alongside Ellen Page (from X-Men: The Last Stand), and Daniel Cudmore (from X2) among others. To top it off, Bryan Singer, helmer of X-Men and X2, is returning to direct.
What Fox is banking on is the combination of everything you loved about the X-Men franchise being a strong enough pull to push the franchise well above its $450m+ worldwide ceiling. Will it work? I can’t say, although X-Men: Days of Future Past is primed to be among the summer’s biggest entries by default of summer 2014 lacking an out-and-out preordained champion (more on that in a week or so). What is interesting is that 20th Century Fox is playing a cinematic equivalent of the fourth season of its successful ‘real-time’ television thriller, 24.
Most of the series regulars were scrapped for the fourth year of the Jack Bauer “power hour”, as sort of a “newbies who’ve heard their friends talking about it can join up this year” clean slate. It worked ratings-wise, but what makes this germane to this discussion is that Joel Surnow and company were able to create viewer excitement over old friends returning throughout the season (“Hey, it’s Tony to the rescue! “Look, President Palmer’s back!”) merely by taking them away as series regulars and offering them in unexpected places. Seeing Carlos Bernard saving Kiefer Sutherland would have been a normal event in season three, but Fox turned it into an event by virtue of Bernard’s absence.
20th Century Fox is banking on the notion that fans will be uber-excited and audiences will be more curious, to record-level box office for the X-Men series, to see actors returning to play their iconic characters, which would have been merely taken for granted when this series was in full swing back in the early 2000′s. Obviously it’s quite possible that the old gang is relegated to glorified cameos, save for Wolverine because god forbid we have an X-Men movie that doesn’t star Logan, while the bulk of screen time goes to First Class cast. But from a marketing standpoint, this is all about selling a reunion tour, eight years after the band broke up and fourteen years after they scored their first big record.
There isn’t a lot of precedent for this because there aren’t that many franchises that survived this long and evolved in the way the X-Men franchise did. For that reason if no other, X-Men: Days of Future Past will be among the more fascinating summer tent poles to watch in summer 2014. If this works like Fox hopes it does, expect fewer reboots and more attempts and franchise revivals via cast reunions. Expect, for example, to see Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean 6 alongside Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush and possibly helmed again by Gore Verbinski. Expect an eventual Star Trek film that uses time travel to have the surviving original cast interacting with their younger alternate-universe selves.
The Fast/Furious franchise shows the value of not rebooting. Because this trick is only possible because Fox kept the franchise going rather than merely doing the Amazing Spider-Man thing and just starting over. We’ll see in May if it was worth the effort and it will lead to more of its ilk.
Thats right! The Fast/Furious model would work very well for the X-Men just like I said before!
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