Ticket sales prove audiences prefer reality-based films
By Cesar G. Soriano
So far this summer, moviegoers have been wowed by computer-animated mummies, Japanese fighter planes and a talking ogre. But signs point to audiences yearning for something closer to real life.
Maybe that's why several high-profile, special-effects-heavy films have failed to catch on:
- "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within," the first film to feature photorealistic "actors" at a cost of about $137 million, had a dismal No. 4 opening after grossing only $11.4 million its first weekend. It was trounced by the low-budget teen film "Legally Blonde," which grossed $20.4 million in three days.
- Steven Spielberg's $90-million-budgeted "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" also hasn't lived up to expectations. The sci-fi film had a solid No. 1 opening ($29.4 million) but fell fast. (It's expected to gross $85 million.)
- The drag-racing film "The Fast and the Furious" unexpectedly opened at No. 1 with $40.1 million. The weekend favorite "Dr. Dolittle 2," featuring CGI (computer-graphic imaging) talking animals, came in way behind with $25 million.
"If anything, these past few weeks have been a message that moviegoers like a balance in the mix," says Tom Borys, an analyst with box office tracking firm ACNielsen EDI. "They don't like to see the same thing they saw last week or last month. They want something different, they want variety."
And after months of high-tech action, moviegoers flocked to the lighthearted "Legally Blonde" yarn last weekend.