TOP TEN SHOULD HAVE BEEN: DIRECT-TO-DVD OR VOD

Another year has come and gone because time is an unstoppable force that drags us along for the ride until we inevitably jump off to an unforeseen plane of existence like supernatural hobos…No, I’m not certain what I’m saying either.

This pile of year did not allow me to watch nearly as many movies as I wanted, but I did keep track of the films that managed to charge into theaters and…I kind of had a hard time figuring out what to say shouldn’t have been there this year. One thing I would like to say before starting is that a film being on this list does not mean it is a bad movie. Just a more financially disappointing one that could have perhaps been better off with a push towards DVD, Blu-Ray, and VOD services instead of theaters.

As an honorable mention, THE INTERVIEW  made the absolute right decision to end up limited release combined with Direct-to-VOD. Good to see that occur instead of a complete elimination of the film.

Okay, then…ONWARD!

My rules:
— The film must be wide released (at least 500 theaters)
— I make up everything from there.
It’s not the most official of lists, but it’s not Buzzfeed either. It’s the ever name changing

2015 TOP TEN SHOULD HAVE BEEN
FILMS RELEASED DIRECTLY TO DVD
(OR VOD)

SABOTAGE
10. SABOTAGE — 2,486 theaters — Domestic Gross: $10,508,518 — Budget: Approx. 35 million

Plot:
A SWAT group for the DEA decides they’d like to ‘accidentally’ blow up drug money after skimming from the top, but are betrayed when one of them gets the money before the rest of the group arrives to divide it. Everyone somehow knows they stole it and the evil drug dealing group sends super effective murdering squads after the group, so it’s suffice to say the plan really, really failed.

Reasoning:
Ever since his run as Governor ended, Arnold Schwarzenegger has had issues finding his footing in theaters in non-collective films. Sabotage, written by the director David Ayer (who commercials constantly reminded viewers, also wrote Training Day) and Skip Woods, one of the five cited writers of THE A-TEAM (2010), tries to reign on reality despite a flaw that most viewers will ask immediately (“How do they know the money was taken if they blew up the rest of it?”) and other questions that constantly pop up (probably because the film’s first cut was over three hours long and the final product is only an hour and forty minutes).
23BLAST
9. 23 BLAST –617 theaters– Total Gross: $549,185 — Budget: …I don’t know.

Plot:
When a high school football star goes totally blind, he is faced with either living a safe life as a handicapped man or return to the field and prove he can overcome his adversities.

Reasoning:
WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL was a successful Christian film at the box office this year, so it makes sense that other films might make the leap (of faith?) and hope for a rally from true believers. The True Story aspect is heart warming, but the overall performance of the film was not. Either way, a word of mouth rally would have worked just as well for DVD or VOD and saved the makers on theatrical release costs.

Oh, and it was made last year, but wide released this year, two months ago WTGST, so I stand by that first sentence.
ROVER
8. THE ROVER — 608 theaters– Total Gross: $$2,295,423 — Budget: $12 million

Plot:

Post apocalyptic movie with post apocalyptic stuff. A former soldier’s car is stolen and he goes to get it. Guns become involved.

 

Reasoning:
It’s a shame this film couldn’t get much momentum (I’d like to throw down a little money on a Guy Pearce comeback), but being it seems like for the amount of advertising they did for it (read: not much), they might as well saved on a theatrical run and went straight to the world of Redbox, Netflix, and VOD services.
RAID2
7. THE RAID 2 — 954 theaters — Total Gross: $2,627,209 — Budget: “[Around] 4.5 million.” *

Plot:
Not long after the events of the first film, main character Rama is undercover with a bunch of people that he will later battle in amazingly entertaining fight scenes in the process of bringing down a syndicate and uncovering police force corruption. Also, a half decent car chase. Take what you can, I suppose.

Reasoning:
While it is nice to take a risk and put this in theaters, that doesn’t always work out. Perhaps hindsight is 20/20 but a sequel to a foreign film that made a little over $4 million in its initial release and had most theaters pull it after the first week is probably not destined for a profitable run. Indeed with a bit of foreshadowing, THE RAID 2 was taken out of theaters after the first week and it was left with the performance listed here.
TUSK
6. TUSK — 602 theaters — Total Gross: $1,826,705 — Budget: $3 million

Plot:
From the rich bounty that is a Kevin Smith podcast, Tusk follows a…well…podcaster who goes to interview a man who put an awkward listing on Craigslist and soon finds himself in a horrific horrible horror situation that goes…horribly.

Reasoning:
Kevin Smith’s last few attempts to break from the traditional movie release formula have been interesting attempts with little success. RED STATE was an awkward collection of promotional ideas that didn’t really work out and, this time, TUSK is a unique film that Smith tried to garner word-of-mouth for with his bountiful podcast network. It didn’t really work out, in the end as it bombed despite the minuscule budget. Good try, Kev. Good luck next time…Just don’t be surprised that regular studios don’t want to help you.
BIGTS
5. BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP — 1,902 theaters — Domestic Gross: $3,242,457 — Budget: Napping

Plot:
In a decidedly not romantic comedy, a woman wakes up every day with absolutely no memory of the day before due to an accident from her past. Instead of being courted by Adam Sandler she instead deals with a different terror, finding out whether her doctor or husband is telling her the truth and other horrible things that would probably more sense if you read the book this film is based on.

Reasoning:
After a brief five to ten minute searching session on my internet box, I could not find a proper budget for BIGTS (A film I’m glad didn’t put “Off” between “Go” and “To”), so I’m literally basing this on the hindsight of nearly 2,000 theaters and only the abysmal performance. It’s cheating, pure and simple.
Although, in seriousness, a lowly advertised film trying to rely on the the reputation and popularity of the book feel victim to seeming cheapness. If they weren’t willing to budget out a proper advertising spree, they shoudn’t have been wasteful enough to throw it into so many theaters.
MWC
4. MEN, WOMEN, & CHILDREN — 608 theaters — Total Gross: 1,705,908 — Budget: $16 million

Plot:
Speaking of Adam Sandler, he stars in a film following a group of people, young and old, mostly releated deal with a bunch of stuff like relationships, self-esteem, and other exciting things that you can expect the director of JUNO to feel is a good concept for dramedy.

Reasoning:
I kind of just want Adam Sandler to get to the Direct-to-DVD part of his career. I mean, he’ll probably just retire with the ridiculous amount of money he’s made over the years, but his style feels waining…and just do some crappy film with Larry the Cable Guy already so that Bad Movie Podcasts can collectively lose their daggone minds.
IDENT
3. THE IDENTICAL — 1956 theaters — Total Gross: $2,827,666 — Budget: $16 Million

Plot:
Twins end up seperated, one becoming a music star, the other only enjoying music. The enjoyer of music goes against the grain of his foster parents and starts performing music, too before eventually finding out that he’s a twin of the guy whose songs he sings. Then there is some sort of faith issues. I don’t know. I didn’t watch the movie. I never will.

Reasoning:
GOD’S NOT DEAD was a successful Christian film at the box office this year, so it makes sense that other films might make the leap (of faith?) and hope for a rally from true believers. However, this film’s rhetoric is a bluntly applied thickness that reduced any enjoyment or candor. Or maybe people want to watch uplifting Christian films instead of awkwardly built dramas. Either way, a word of mouth rally would have worked just as well for DVD or VOD and saved the makers on theatrical release costs.
SAW
2. SAW 10TH ANNIVERSARY — 2,063 theaters — Total Gross: $650,051 — Budget: Redeemed a long time ago

Plot:
It’s SAW. You know the plot. You saw like eight of them…well, you know they made a bunch of them and probably had at least one fan spoil the major moments within them.

Reasoning:
Perhaps inspired by the mildly successful re-release of GHOSTBUSTERS in honor of it’s 30th anniversary, SAW made its theatrical return for Halloween, hoping to reclaim it’s past glory of owning that weekend. And…for the amount of theaters involved, the Saw re-release was a tremondous flop. Although, it seems predictable in a hindsight kind of way since it’s a horror movie that originally gained momentum on word-of-mouth “You’ll never see the ending coming!” hype. If they wanted to make a big deal about the 10th year, a special Blu-Ray would’ve probably been more productive. The only reason it isn’t the top of the list is because it’s a re-release and not a first time try.
PERSEC
1. PERSECUTED — 1,157 theaters — Total Gross: $1,558,836 — Budget: I have no legitimate clue

Plot :
A recovered drug addict turned evangelist John Luther protests the implicably named Faith and Fairness Act that states Christians cannot claim their faith to be the right answer. Looking to push the bill forward, Senator Donald Harrison feels his best option is to frame Luther for a rape and murder. No, not something drug related, but rape and murder.

Reasoning:
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL was a successful Christian film at the box office this year, so it makes sense that other films might make the leap (of faith?) and hope for a rally from true believers. However, this film’s rhetoric is a bluntly applied thickness that reduced any enjoyment or candor. Or maybe people want to watch uplifting Christian films instead of awkwardly built dramas. Either way, a word of mouth rally would have worked just as well for DVD or VOD and saved the makers on theatrical release costs.

Wait. Deja Vu…weird.
Also, I’m totally Persecuting this film. Happy Holidays.

 

Seriously, though. Thank you for reading and, if you think I missed something, feel free to tell me in the comments.