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Record-Breaking Box-Office Disappointment

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The Reuters News Service reported on Memorial Day that the batch of summer movies thus far has underperformed.

Seriously. I have proof. You can read the article here.

Spider-Man 3, arguably the best of a batch of movies that were just 'okay' or worse, broke box office records earlier in the month of May, taking in a whopping $151 million dollars in just three days. The third Shrek picture followed suit with $121 million dollars in three days to start with. Then the third installment in the poorly written, poorly executed Pirates of the Caribbean saga pulled in an amazing $115 million.

That's $400 million dollars in a single month divided up over three weekends to three different companies.

When you take into account the quality of these films you'll see that these movies brought in much more cash than they deserved. Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean were rushed sequels of rushed sequels to movies that weren't all that good in the first place in order to milk money out of people who wouldn't know a good movie if it bit them on the ass. Spider-Man seemed like the studio forced every bad idea they had ( i.e., Venom) on a good director and made him flush his wonderful series down the toilet. (Similar to what happened with last years X-Men sequel, sans director.)

The problem with the film business (among dozens of others) is that studios put all of their eggs into blockbuster baskets. Yeah, they make a ton of money sometimes, but I think they'd make a lot more money if they made 20 smaller films for the price-tag they attached to one of these. If only three of those are runaway hits, they've made all their money back, plus some. And then the paying audience is rewarded by a much wider array of movies to see by a more eclectic sea of directors.

I just hate to see these giant studios break box-office records and bring cash in hand over fist and then complain about market over-saturation and underperformance. With this batch of movies, they should count themselves fortunate if they go beyond breaking even.

(Bryan blogs daily about film and politics at the official blog for This Divided State.)