This past weekend, Ridley Scott’s much-hyped spiritual successor to the Alien franchise, Prometheus, raked in an impressive $50 million, despite its “R” rating.
Of course, there are many reasons for Madagascar 3‘s smashing success, starting with the “3″ — that is, it is a sequel in a popular children’s film franchise. And with every sequel come scores of fans, eager for the latest entry in their beloved series.
And speaking of kids’ movies, Madagascar 3 also has a far wider audience than Prometheus. Literally anyone can see a children’s film, but a Restricted rating means mandatory parental supervision — and far fewer families full of loud, raucous urchins attending. (Not that I’m bitter about the little bastards ruining my theatre experience.)
Nothing I have said thus far is anything that hasn’t been said already. Both films had a fair amount of hype, but both also cater to decidedly different audiences. Additionally, both were made with comparable budgets, and critics’ reviews were almost equally positive.
So, what leaves me wondering (perhaps with an obvious answer) is this: As with other media, is financial success in film almost entirely the result of mass appeal or even attracting the lowest common denominator? Is it possible for a truly artsy or risky film endeavour to beat a mass-marketed movie? For that matter, does opening at #1 really matter if a film ultimately sees long-run success, such as a sleeper hit?
I know that’s a lot of questions to answer, so I’ll be more brief in my closing queries:
Are there any films that you don’t believe deserved to be wildly successful? Are there any films the general public largely ignored that you believe did deserve greater attention? As always, sound off in the comments below!