The Mortal Flop

“Oh, Oh, there’s trouble looming in those empty cinemas..!”

Hey, I’m hardly qualified to comment here as I’ve not seen it but apparently The Mortal Engines has failed to connect with audiences and has resulted in a box-office failure of some magnitude. The irony of me wishing for less reboots/sequels and more original projects and then one gets made and it flops as spectacularly as BR2049 did (perhaps worse) doesn’t escape me, especially as I didn’t see it either (at least with BR2049 I did my bit, going to the cinema three times).

Unfortunately, real-world problems made missing this (and the new Spiderman animated movie) inevitable. Claire’s uncle has passed away and as she is next of kin, we’ve been so busy registering his death and struggling through all the bureaucracy that entails, Claire contacting people and organising his funeral etc that Christmas itself  seems quite irrelevant this year (it’s coming up, right? Hard to tell with everything going on). On top of that, work is always busier this time of year, making other demands, so I’ve struggled to post much of anything at all on here lately.

So watching films is way in the distant background noise of life and The Mortal Engines, a film that looked intriguing from the teasers I saw months ago, has apparently come and gone and nobody else seemed to pay much attention to it either. I don’t know, maybe it was a lousy movie anyway (reviews seem tepid), but it does seem a pity that what appeared to be at least something new seems to have failed so badly at the box-office (albeit I guess it’s more company for BR2049 and other financial follies… follies seems a poor term though, it’s not as if some of these films are terrible). Like BR2049, I suspect part of it is a crowded marketplace. Seems every studio spotted there was no Star Wars movie this Christmas and thought there was an opportunity for success and like a 1982 summer in Autumn/Winter, something had to give. I’ll catch up with it in the Spring no doubt (and Spidey, too) on eventual disc releases or rental.

Does make me rather nervous for the prospects for Dune though… perhaps they should have cast Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as the Baron Harkonnen or something- a wise ploy or selling out? I’m not so sure right now…

2 thoughts on “The Mortal Flop

  1. Matthew Mckinnon

    I’m a little wary about Dune’s chances as well, but for different reasons. It’s obviously being made as it’s a recognisable ‘brand’, a thing that people remember by name even if they’ve not read or seen any version of it.

    But my question is: who is the target audience? Not contemporary audiences, who don’t exactly flock to either esoteric, mystical SF, or to Denis Villeneuve movies.

    And who are Dune fans now? The original generation who read the book in the 60s and 70s – like my father – are now thin on the ground, or at least quite old. Are we looking at a BR2049 mishap in the making, where you think an enduring cult appeal will equal a contemporary mass appeal?

    Obviously Villeneuve is the absolute best choice to make it, but who’s it for?

    1. Its a tantalising and disturbing prospect, though, isn’t it? One of the things I am looking forward to next year is the first teases as the shoot progresses (I presume the secrecy won’t be as high as it was with BR2049). I’m just so curious about the art direction- the costumes, the sets – and where they go with it. It can’t possibly have that gothic feel of the Lynch film, but I’m wondering if it will go in some hardcore 2001 way or… I don’t know, I always read the book and thought of it like Ben Hur, some kind of retro biblical epic feel.

      Regards its box office prospects, I absolutely agree it’s so worrying. Whatever Villeneuve may think, Dune isn’t Star Wars and it’s definitely of its 1960s era, but you never know, as climate change and the environment becomes an increasingly political thing now, and religious intolerance/extremism continues to exist, maybe the time for a new Dune is right. I do worry about the intention of shooting two films separately. It seems to have been enforced due to the budget constraints but it just makes such sense to shoot both together. Lynch’s Dune was spoiled by trying to fit too much in to one film and Villeneuve’s might be spoiled by only being half the story.

      Alcon definitely over-estimated both the size of the Blade Runner core fanbase and the interest of the mass audience in something so intensely faithful to such an old property (Blade Runner = ‘old’, I always roll my eyes at that one, but these days modern audiences seem to think pre-Millenium flicks are so oldschool). I sincerely hope Dune is a good enough story to get fans of child wizards and giant robots interested but yeah… I almost wish it could be done at a smaller scale for Netflix, sincere towards the book and less dependant on being a smash success..

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