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Two comedies popular opinions couldn't save
There's a lot of money in cinema. In fact, there's so much money in making movies that producers and directors are willing to tirelessly review scene after scene with test audiences to gauge what jokes get the most laughs and what dramatic scenes the most gasps.
Much like test screenings, paid surveys are meant to collect consumer opinions to guide business decisions, but online survey results usually give reliable and genuine results. In the movie industry, that's not always the case. Unfortunately, no amount of audience testing could save these movies, and the ratings stand as proof.
'Pixels' collected tremendous predictions and terrible results
A sci-fi romping video game comedy chock full of impressive CGI and laughs supplied by comedy legend Adam Sandler - what could go wrong with "Pixels"? Analysts certainly believed it was a recipe for success when The Guardian ran with a headline claiming "Pixels to challenge Avengers 2 at box office after studio says trailer smashes records" back in March.
Sony revealed that the movie's trailer collected over 34 million views in one day. It was just a few hundred thousand views short of the record set by "Avengers: Age of Ultron" earlier in the month. If all those people were interested in the trailer, they'd have to be interested in the movie, right?
Trailer popularity doesn't translate to money in the box office apparently. "Pixels" had a $24 million U.S. box office opening. In comparison, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" generated just shy of $188 million on its opening weekend. To call the Adam Sandler film a failure judging by its predicted success wouldn't sum the situation up well enough. "Pixels" was an $88 million budget box office disaster.
Can 'Vacation' coast on 'National Lampoon' success?
Ed Helms stars as Rusty, the grown-up son of Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold from the 1983 hit comedy "National Lampoon's Vacation" in this sequel/reboot/remake on a cinema classic. It starts playing in theaters July 29, and The Hollywood Reporter noted that movie tracking suggests the comedy will bring in roughly $33 million during its U.S. box office opening - a pretty hefty sum as far as comedies are concerned.
Do the critics at Roger Ebert agree? Not a chance.
In one of the most scathing one-star reviews, critic Glenn Kenny called the film "minute to minute, one of the most repellent, mean-spirited gross-out comedies it's ever been [his] squirmy displeasure to sit through."
Oddly enough, Kenny revealed that one of the movie's only redeeming laugh-worthy moments are championed by its cheapest character. The youngest son of the Griswold family, Kevin, is painted as a sailor-talking fiend that bullies his older brother, providing no shortage of shocking and mortifying commentary. The punchline is that, yes, a child can be a foul-mouthed terror. It's an easy gag but still one of the only entertaining qualities of the film, according to the critic.
Casting judgment on this film will have to wait, though. The New York Times gave "Vacation" surprisingly positive reviews. Viewers might have to see it to form an opinion for themselves.
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