Friday, March 13, 2015

Do Jupiter Ascending and Chappie hurt other science fiction movies?

No reviews this time. I reviewed Jupiter Ascending (2015) and Chappie (2015) earlier. Movies are biggest science fiction movies so far this year and both have performed badly at the box office. Jupiter Ascending could be called disaster. Chappie was not as expensive and it might make its money back. This made me wonder if these movies hurt other science fiction movies.

Superheroes are doing well on big and small screen but I don't call them science fiction even if some do. Guardians of The Galaxy (2014) is close, but I still wouldn't call it science fiction. For me science fiction is more than going to space or having some science related happening. Stories have to study our current world or possible future somehow. Or at least movie's subject on some intelligent level. I can't give you good answer why I consider Invisible Man as science fiction and Hulk as something else than science fiction. To be clear I like superhero movies as you have seen from my reviews. I only think that they are not science fiction.

Back to the subject. Two biggest science fiction movies of first three months have done badly. Studios are in this business to make money. Cinemas are in this business to make money. If something doesn't make money, we don't get to see it in future. It is not about art or quality of the movie. Bottom line is what matters. If two biggest genre movies do badly people start to think if they should put money into genre in future. Not everyone in this business is in it for the money but at the end of the day they have to justify what they are doing based on money they make doing it.

For example it is quite common understanding that Jupiter Ascending will be last big budget movie from The Wachovskis. At least until they make next big hit with lesser money. After Matrix people were willing to finance their movies in hopes they will do as good as Matrix. So far The Wachowskis haven't been able to deliver similar success. Another question is will financial constraints help them make better movies. But that is totally different matter. Point is, you have to make money to get money to make more movies.

In Helsinki Jupiter Ascending premiered on biggest screens. Chappie premiered on smallest screens. Both probably had same number of viewers. At least on screenings I were on. I don't know if Chappie premiered on smallest screens because cinema don't believe in science fiction or because they don't believe in Chappie. If it is the former, it is  bad news for my favorite genre.

Jupiter Ascending and Chappie were bad movies. Problem is that good movies doesn't seem to get change. The Machine (2013) never got proper release. Moon (2009) got few screening at one movie festival in Finland. I am waiting for Ex Machina to get theatrical release but at the moment it doesn't look good. On January I was told in Twitter it will be released in Finland on April but I have not seen anything since. The Machine and Moon were really good science fiction movies that never got real change. Are bigger and worse science fiction movies ruining it for smaller but actually good genre movies?

Interstellar seem to do well, so there is still hope. It is still running in Helsinki.

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