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UNDERWATER (2020) - Kristen Stewart
No, it's my way or the highway!

See, here's my issue. I want there to be more movies like "Underwater," in that I want studios to make more non-IP films that are in the vein of high-concept, mid-budget genre films of the '80s and '90s. Yes, I unabashedly love comic book movies and enjoy the backlash surrounding them because they annoy all the joyless film snobs. But I also like rolling the dice on something original, "original" meaning something that has only existed as a screenplay, not as something else beforehand.

So when a movie like "Underwater" comes out and tanks, earning shitty reviews and half its budget back at the B.O., it makes studios antsy about greenlighting anything that isn't an established IP. The movie's failure makes it *harder* for more non-IP movies to get made, unless it's DTV shit with Bruce Willis that nobody's watching.

It's fine if you think it's still a great movie and don't mind that it bombed. Box office doesn't reflect quality and should never be a metric used to evaluate artistic merit. Box office does, however, provide data to studios about what audiences Will See and Won't See. A studio isn't going to do a full autopsy on the film's structural issues and weigh those creative risks against its tepid results. They're going to see a non-IP mid-budget genre movie shit the bed and stop greenlighting those.

That's why I've been assailing the script because I believe that's the reason the movie tanked. Films in this genre aren't star-driven or director-driven. They're driven by the concept alone, but this film as we've discussed is not fully-baked, so its audience is limited to people that don't really want much more than what it provides. It turns out, that's not enough people to make it a hit.

I'm not worried about TROS' script being a grab bag of nostalgia and nonsense because I honestly couldn't care less if they never made another SW movie, and I honestly hope they never make one again. I get more perturbed when original scripts -- an endangered species -- get made and then become just more fodder for the January dump month because the filmmakers made a creative decision that was artistic but not justified.
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It didn't get dumped in January because of the script, it got dumped in January because it was a Fox picture that Disney was obligated to release post-acquisition and they did the bare minimum in the way of marketing.

WoM was actually pretty good for it when it came out, but it was also in the period where people were starting to get afraid of COVID before official lockdowns started happening.
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Yes, the lockdowns in mid-March 2020 retroactively impacted a film released and January 2020.

WoM isn't "good" if a movie bombs. And anyway, it got a C on CinemaScore. For contrast, the excoriated TROS got a B+. WoM is a qualitative metric at best, but this movie was doomed to fail, regardless of the merger or the marketing.
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See perversely the idea to structure the trailer in the more traditional manner makes sense, this is the true introduction of the film to the audience after all. So cynically you can set the trailer up to establish your Act 1 bonafides then strip that out of the actual film because a) you've already got the audience's money so who cares, and b) shorter running time means more sessions per evening.


Sphere is awesome, I love that film. Terrific cast.
There are weapons in my hands, my hands are weapons.
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It's pretty great when marketing people have a better sense of storytelling. Woof.
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(05-13-2021, 03:23 PM)bradito Wrote: No, it's my way or the highway!

See, here's my issue. I want there to be more movies like "Underwater," in that I want studios to make more non-IP films that are in the vein of high-concept, mid-budget genre films of the '80s and '90s. Yes, I unabashedly love comic book movies and enjoy the backlash surrounding them because they annoy all the joyless film snobs. But I also like rolling the dice on something original, "original" meaning something that has only existed as a screenplay, not as something else beforehand.

So when a movie like "Underwater" comes out and tanks, earning shitty reviews and half its budget back at the B.O., it makes studios antsy about greenlighting anything that isn't an established IP. The movie's failure makes it *harder* for more non-IP movies to get made, unless it's DTV shit with Bruce Willis that nobody's watching.

It's fine if you think it's still a great movie and don't mind that it bombed. Box office doesn't reflect quality and should never be a metric used to evaluate artistic merit. Box office does, however, provide data to studios about what audiences Will See and Won't See. A studio isn't going to do a full autopsy on the film's structural issues and weigh those creative risks against its tepid results. They're going to see a non-IP mid-budget genre movie shit the bed and stop greenlighting those.

That's why I've been assailing the script because I believe that's the reason the movie tanked. Films in this genre aren't star-driven or director-driven. They're driven by the concept alone, but this film as we've discussed is not fully-baked, so its audience is limited to people that don't really want much more than what it provides. It turns out, that's not enough people to make it a hit.

I'm not worried about TROS' script being a grab bag of nostalgia and nonsense because I honestly couldn't care less if they never made another SW movie, and I honestly hope they never make one again. I get more perturbed when original scripts -- an endangered species -- get made and then become just more fodder for the January dump month because the filmmakers made a creative decision that was artistic but not justified.

This is a thoughtful post and I appreciate your taking the time to type it all out.

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(05-13-2021, 05:36 PM)bradito Wrote: Yes, the lockdowns in mid-March 2020 retroactively impacted a film released and January 2020.

I know a lot of people who were starting to be a lot more careful about going out and physical contact due to COVID fears in January and February.
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Yeah, by the time lockdown was official, our business was already practically nil.

But at least Phil Tippett came to see Underwater. Someone must have clued him in to the finale.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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(05-13-2021, 06:09 PM)Overlord Wrote:
(05-13-2021, 03:23 PM)bradito Wrote: No, it's my way or the highway!

See, here's my issue. I want there to be more movies like "Underwater," in that I want studios to make more non-IP films that are in the vein of high-concept, mid-budget genre films of the '80s and '90s. Yes, I unabashedly love comic book movies and enjoy the backlash surrounding them because they annoy all the joyless film snobs. But I also like rolling the dice on something original, "original" meaning something that has only existed as a screenplay, not as something else beforehand.

So when a movie like "Underwater" comes out and tanks, earning shitty reviews and half its budget back at the B.O., it makes studios antsy about greenlighting anything that isn't an established IP. The movie's failure makes it *harder* for more non-IP movies to get made, unless it's DTV shit with Bruce Willis that nobody's watching.

It's fine if you think it's still a great movie and don't mind that it bombed. Box office doesn't reflect quality and should never be a metric used to evaluate artistic merit. Box office does, however, provide data to studios about what audiences Will See and Won't See. A studio isn't going to do a full autopsy on the film's structural issues and weigh those creative risks against its tepid results. They're going to see a non-IP mid-budget genre movie shit the bed and stop greenlighting those.

That's why I've been assailing the script because I believe that's the reason the movie tanked. Films in this genre aren't star-driven or director-driven. They're driven by the concept alone, but this film as we've discussed is not fully-baked, so its audience is limited to people that don't really want much more than what it provides. It turns out, that's not enough people to make it a hit.

I'm not worried about TROS' script being a grab bag of nostalgia and nonsense because I honestly couldn't care less if they never made another SW movie, and I honestly hope they never make one again. I get more perturbed when original scripts -- an endangered species -- get made and then become just more fodder for the January dump month because the filmmakers made a creative decision that was artistic but not justified.

This is a thoughtful post and I appreciate your taking the time to type it all out.

Word of mouth on my post is positive.
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To be clear Underwater has a setup period. It’s a little non traditional but it’s there. This movies problem and ultimate failure doesn’t wind up being the setup period.

This movies failure is the characters stink with the exception of a token funny character. It’s a nothing happening “seen it all before” disaster plot and boring monsters with lame uninteresting kills.

It’s a movie that’s “fine”. Of course a movie that is fine didn’t get good WoM and light the BO on fire why would it?
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Obviously this is very hard to be reductive about, but isn't it also a thing that a downer ending nearly always costs you a whole letter grade in CinemaScore. (Except maybe if you're some weepy true-ish war movie)
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I'm sure it doesn't tend to help.
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I think you get more latitude with horror. Unless you're Ari Aster.
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(05-13-2021, 03:23 PM)bradito Wrote: No, it's my way or the highway!

See, here's my issue. I want there to be more movies like "Underwater," in that I want studios to make more non-IP films that are in the vein of high-concept, mid-budget genre films of the '80s and '90s. Yes, I unabashedly love comic book movies and enjoy the backlash surrounding them because they annoy all the joyless film snobs. But I also like rolling the dice on something original, "original" meaning something that has only existed as a screenplay, not as something else beforehand.

So when a movie like "Underwater" comes out and tanks, earning shitty reviews and half its budget back at the B.O., it makes studios antsy about greenlighting anything that isn't an established IP. The movie's failure makes it *harder* for more non-IP movies to get made, unless it's DTV shit with Bruce Willis that nobody's watching.

It's fine if you think it's still a great movie and don't mind that it bombed. Box office doesn't reflect quality and should never be a metric used to evaluate artistic merit. Box office does, however, provide data to studios about what audiences Will See and Won't See. A studio isn't going to do a full autopsy on the film's structural issues and weigh those creative risks against its tepid results. They're going to see a non-IP mid-budget genre movie shit the bed and stop greenlighting those.

That's why I've been assailing the script because I believe that's the reason the movie tanked. Films in this genre aren't star-driven or director-driven. They're driven by the concept alone, but this film as we've discussed is not fully-baked, so its audience is limited to people that don't really want much more than what it provides. It turns out, that's not enough people to make it a hit.

I'm not worried about TROS' script being a grab bag of nostalgia and nonsense because I honestly couldn't care less if they never made another SW movie, and I honestly hope they never make one again. I get more perturbed when original scripts -- an endangered species -- get made and then become just more fodder for the January dump month because the filmmakers made a creative decision that was artistic but not justified.

Don't say I don't ever do anything for you, Brad.

(I know I don't do anything for you, I just don't want you to say it.)

Before I started watching this film, I thought that I wouldn't care (or at least not be totally broken up about it) even if this film turned out to be an unmitigated disaster because at least they were trying to do something outside the box so to speak.

ha ha

ha

ha

Anyway as it turned, I thought it was quite well done with some quite stunning shots in there too.

(Despite being set in a box!)

I recommend it!

(I hope it meets requirements for what you're after as well!)



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Going "I think the reason I didn't like the movie is why it bombed! That's all the proof you need that I'm right!" is so silly.

Kristen Stewart hasn't been in a hit since Twilight ended. It only stands to reason that the film bombed because she was cursed by a voodoo priestess.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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The reasons I gave why the movie bombed are the reasons the movie bombed.
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Kristen Stewart! Voodoo Priestess!
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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The problem with the point you’re trying to make is you’re trying to imply the reasons a movie doesn’t become a hit are entirely unknowable factors.

That’s stupid.
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No I'm implying it's stupid to stack the deck in your favour by saying the reason you disliked a movie is why it failed unless you actually know those are the reasons. Like, no jokes, you could GENUINELY make an argument for it doing badly because it starred a lead actress that people don't appear to like.

Or Covid.

Or it looking like a million other movies.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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There is no actor who can open a movie anymore it doesn’t exist.

There’s reasons why people might stay away from a movie. Then there’s things like CinemaScore that tell us more. It doesn’t sound like people wanted to tell their friends about this movie? Why do you think that would be if it wasn’t because of the content of the movie itself?

The gypsy woman made them all not tell their friends to see it and give it a low cinema score did she?
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Of course actors matter, just because the Will Smiths don't exist anymore doesn't mean that it's all flattened out.

And I'm not actually arguing with you about the quality of the movie. People didn't like it on the whole but getting as to WHY they didn't like it is a different story, especially when we're talking vague things like "no setup". Awful fucking movies getting super high Cinemascores all the time, I don't think Transformers films have ever gone lower than a B+, so I'm not going to be looking at that and assuming people rate them badly for the same reason any film critic might.

And it's voodoo priestess, not gypsy woman!
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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And I’m identifying many of the plausible reasons people might have rejected the movie, even though it was fairly well received here.

Most prominent of which is the boring fucking monsters. In the words of Pacino, boring monsters “wasting my motherfucking time!!!”
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I thought the monsters were rad :'(

I love the film, but for the very specific way it's made. There isn't much there to grab onto beyond that, since it's about as far from an original or exciting concept as you can get. So I put its failure up there with something like DEEP RISING's where it clicks with some genre fans but general audiences are all "I don't care about any of this bullshit"

I mean Cthulhu? That's not exactly a wide target.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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We’ve covered that, but come on man. This is a Cthulhu Lovecraft movie like Dora the Explorer is torture porn.
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Sure, it's there in a READY PLAYER ONE-ish sort of way, just fun to see since you basically never see the Old Ones portrayed in movies.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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Which is weird. Surely it’s all public domain. You’d think a Blu house type studio would have a business model churning those out by now.
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I'm kinda with Evi here. UNDERWATER is a fairly niche film. For good or ill, it throws the viewer right in. That's polarizing in itself, as this thread testifies. It's a subgenre that has not, by and large, been super popular....ever? We keep throwing out THE ABYSS here but that's the anomaly. BELOW, which is a terrific thriller, also did poorly. Even U571, which features no monsters or supernatural elements, wasn't a breakout hit, despite also being quite solid (and having a phenom cast).

But given its choice of going right into the action, having a lean story, and ultimately featuring monsters that are themselves sort of niche...no, it's not surprising it wasn't a hit. Plus the January release date did it no favors; people just assume most stuff released in January and February isn't good, as they're traditional dumping grounds for studios.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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I don’t think Joe average who makes up the bulk of ticket sales knows what dumping month is.
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It's the month Joe ate too much fried food.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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It’s the month Joe sees the animals in this movie and says “well that’s the shits.”
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It's the month Joe looks at his physical media collection and realizes he owns a copy of AGE OF ULTRON.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
(05-14-2021, 09:17 AM)MichaelM Wrote: I'm kinda with Evi here. UNDERWATER is a fairly niche film. For good or ill, it throws the viewer right in. That's polarizing in itself, as this thread testifies. It's a subgenre that has not, by and large, been super popular....ever?  We keep throwing out THE ABYSS here but that's the anomaly. BELOW, which is a terrific thriller, also did poorly. Even U571, which features no monsters or supernatural elements, wasn't a breakout hit, despite also being quite solid (and having a phenom cast).

But given its choice of going right into the action, having a lean story, and ultimately featuring monsters that are themselves sort of niche...no, it's not surprising it wasn't a hit. Plus the January release date did it no favors; people just assume most stuff released in January and February isn't good, as they're traditional dumping grounds for studios.

Only *kinda* with me? GODDAMMIT MICHAEL! Just kidding... I'm also only kinda with me at most times.

Anyway yeah, its earning are on par with a decent Blumhouse success, but the budget probably makes it a bomb.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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(05-14-2021, 06:16 AM)Evi Wrote: Kristen Stewart! Voodoo Priestess!

Sir, I would like to option your idea!
Get me a script in three weeks and I can get us 20 million.
Here's a book to get you started.  We open in March
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