I spared no expense on my header as you can see.
Another year has come and gone and as I look at the numerous ideas and goals I wrote on a piece of paper December 31st, 2011, I can’t help but think…”Well, that didn’t work.”
But enough about me! This is an end of the year list! These type of lists are well known as the least common thing to find on any website, blog, or stone tablet in the month of December.
But enough about poorly put together punchlines, let’s point out the stigmas of Direct to DVD. It’s a place where throwaway sequels go to grasp at cash. Where films that have lost all momentum and trust from studios are left to die. Where really cool ideas are shoved to the side because it doesn’t fit a in the right section of a report. Where cheap budgeted films hope to trick you with really awesome cover art. All these things put together are pretty much Direct to DVD’s reputation…which is mostly true. Oh well.
But enough about me getting to the list, let’s get to the actual list! These are films that fit stigma, bombed so badly the cost of shipping it to theaters and desperately advertising it only added to the cost, or just seem baffling to see in theaters. Either way, I’m at no real position to judge, but I’m going to do it anyway!
One last stalling note: I did not include films that were limited release (less than 500 was my cutoff).
And now…THE LIST!
10. Red Dawn — Starring Chris Hemsworth
After sitting on a shelf for a couple years for significant editing (including a change in the country of the villains) this remake finally roared into theaters led by Thor-himself, Chris Hemsworth. If you’re keeping score, that would be the third Hemsworth movie theatrically released following his work in Thor (Cabin in the Woods being the other). Either way, the movie’s budget inflated to $65 million and as of today has only recouped $37,265,000. Of course, the movie still has a foreign release, but if the Wolverines aren’t succeeding in the US, they’ll need a lot of help.
9. One For the Money — Starring Katherine Heigl
It seems as if Katherine Heigl’s star is starting to fade. While she might have some box office draw left, the idea of combining her with a project that has been in development hell for over a decade is probably not smart. Of course, that could be the hindsight talking since I’m referring to One for the Money which cost $40 million and failed to recoup its price. It is included on the list because, at the very least, a stripped out budget could have provided a decent direct to DVD comedy. Also, I just wanted to point out how fading Heigl has become because I’m a jerk.
8. The Raven — Starring John Cusack
Perhaps my favorite movie that ends up on this list. Edgar Allen Poe working to stop someone from committing murders inspired by his stories is an intriguing idea to me, but apparently not the majority of the viewing public. Although, it does hold the honor of being the last movie that my aunt and uncle saw before she went into labor, leaving from the theater to immediately go to the hospital. The Raven cost an estimated $26 million and managed to bring in a worldwide total of $26,059,817. While the information makes it seem like a good old fashioned ‘draw’ if you consider the other costs, including advertisement, it is still a disappointment. There is a hesitance to include it, due to an enjoyment bias, but I personally feel the film could have broke even direct to DVD. No, I don’t have the numbers to back up my claim.
7. Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance — Starring Nicolas Cage
An insanely cut budget is usually a good sign that the sequel is going direct to DVD, but somehow the surprise success Ghost Rider managed to hit a jump into theaters for its psychotic sequel. Considering Nicolas Cage has had no problem whatsoever dipping into the direct to DVD pool lately (Stolen, Trespass), it’s not as if star power got it a theatrical run. Either way, the movie bombed despite a lower cost, making it just another title in a bad year for Nicolas Cage.
Also, the Twinkie joke it uses is now dated.
6. Gone — Starring Amanda Seyfried.
When the advertisements for this film ran, I seriously believed it was a direct to DVD movie until they listed the release date. I wasn’t sure why it was in theaters and, to be quite honest, am still unsure today. This “Find my sister” thriller was not screened for critics and when they did get to see it, they tore it apart. Gone currently holds a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It may seem odd to randomly give critic information but there is a reason…lack of data. There are many various sites to find movie information such as budget. I searched the majority of them including the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Box Office Mojo, and even Wikipedia and not ONE of them had this movie’s budget listed. Why is that a secret? Why is this information…Gone? Dear goodness.
5. Atlas Shrugged: Part II — Starring Samantha Mathis
Last year, Part I of this series made my list. This year, the sequel arrived. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Released in more than twice the amount of theaters of Part I, Atlas Shrugged: Part II managed to make even less than its predecessor. So, again, I’d think it would’ve been better off to take the Direct to DVD path. Plus, it will most likely not have the amusing DVD cover mistake of hyping the opposite of the movie’s philosophy.
4. Silent House — Starring Elizabeth Olsen.
Do you know how hard it is for a cheap horror movie to not make a profit? I mean, The Devil Inside is an abominable film of absolute horribleness and it made nearly $30 million in theaters. However, Silent House, and its $14 million dollar budget just flat out failed to find profitability by coming in at $13 million in worldwide gross. Considering the nearly infinite amount of direct to DVD horror movies per year, this remake could have easily been a candidate to take that route.
3. Fun Size — starring Victoria Justice Featuring Chelsea Handler & Johnny Knoxville
A slew of Nickelodeon actors and a few semi-recognizable comedic faces that ensured a PG-13 rating star in this randomly appearing comedy, released near the end of October. Perhaps Fun Size was poised to pick up movie viewers who wanted to avoid horror films for Halloween. However, things did not go as planned as the film could not recoup its $14 million budget. In fact, it couldn’t even break $10 million. In my mind, it would have fared just as well Direct to DVD.
2. A Thousand Words — Starring Eddie Murphy.
Poor Eddie Murphy. Whenever people think he may be having a resurgence something dreadful happens to derail the comeback train. This movie finished filming back in 2008 and sat on a shelf until March 2012 where it escaped in route to meeting a horrific doom at the box office. Only half of the $40 million budget was recouped in theaters, not including what was dished out in a desperate attempt to advertise it. At least England had the right idea as they cancelled the theatrical runs and the movie was released direct-to-DVD on July 16, 2012.
1. Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure
Good golly. A $20 million budget combined with a release of over 2,000 theaters and only a $1,065,907 return. In fact, Oogieloves managed to dethrone last year’s #1 Creature for the much more infamous title of “Worst Opening Ever.” Hindsight being completely 20/20, I’d say that dropping this thing to Direct to DVD would have most likely made it more money than theatrical release. Heck, releasing the thing direct to VHS would have probably been more profitable. And in case you’re wondering…no, I haven’t watched it. If you have, I wish you congratulations.
So, did I miss something? Did I snub something? Did I put something on the list that didn’t belong there? Well, I say no…but I’m the one who wrote it. Feel free to comment. Thank you for taking the time to read such an odd idea for a year-end list.
So, until next time…Give me $20 million and I could get you back more than $1 million. Just saying.