Coming partially from Happy Madison Productions—the camp responsible for Adam Sandler's films since his glory days of Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison (hence the namesake)—the film features Sandler and a handful of other names battling it out with old video games sent to destroy the human race from aliens.
Yeah, it sounds either absolutely dumb or absolutely awesome. Unfortunately, it seems to be the former, and those glory days where Sandler used to be a cash cow are not carrying over.
This film has been panned by critics and even if that were to have happened, but it would have been met with roaring success at the ticket booths, it would have been somewhat justified to make. However, that is not the case, as the film cost $88 million to produce and after another $20 million spent on distribution, marketing and so forth, the opening worldwide total of $49.4 million could prove problematic. It wasn't even able to take the top spot in its first week, so how can it be expected to make up ground now?
|Pictured: the 4 people who went to go see Pixels this weekend|
Much of the reasoning as to why this is happening no doubt stems from the perception that this looks like a terrible film to a lot of people. I continually keep hearing from people that the premise sounds interesting, but knowing Adam Sandler and Kevin James are involved is an immediate turn off and the previews did nothing but convince them to not spend their $15 for a ticket.
Outside of a bad overall image, another one of the biggest reasons for why Pixels is struggling to find an audience is because its audience is already busy watching other movies. This film was booked in perhaps the worst possible time that it could ever open up.
Right now, at the end of July, people are panicking that the summer is almost over and want to get in as many outdoor activities as possible. Some are also getting ready for school, while others have burned through their cash after partying and going on vacation in June and July. Even if they wanted to go to the movies, though, there are alternatives out there that are coming off as much more appealing.
The overall theme for this movie season seems to be comedy—not necessarily 100% in the laugh department, but also in terms of having fun and feeling happy when leaving the theater.
As far as pure comedy goes, if you're into dopey humor, you might have spent your money on Spy (oddly enough, that movie is not an action thriller, while Dope is not out there for laughs...go figure). You damn sure most likely didn't see Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 back in April, but that could have soured you on wanting to see another Kevin James movie, as you could associate his one bad film for being an overall portrait of "he is not funny" and extend it to this.
Maybe you want to laugh, but you also want to go on a date. Right now, you're probably going to be watching Trainwreck if you're not one of the stragglers who will go see Pitch Perfect 2 or Ted 2 or if you're a teenager, Paper Towns.
If this was supposed to market toward kids, too late, as they've seen Inside Out and Minions and some other movies, such as Jurassic World and Ant-Man. Those latter two also have the added element of nostalgia, which Terminator Genisys does as well, so there goes any hope of tapping into the people that have felt a longing for their childhood being brought to life on screen.
Things aren't going to get any better for Pixels anytime soon, either. Coming up next week is Vacation, which will cut into both the nostalgic and comedic audience. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is an action film with a much more serious tone, so if you were interested in seeing this movie for the action, you'll be more attracted to that. Despite how it is probably going to run into the same problems that Pixels is facing right now, Fantastic 4 comes out at the beginning of August, so that will help push Pixels down even further because it will at least have the comic book audience.
Then, it will be hit with The Man from U.N.C.L.E.—which I'm also assuming won't do too well, but it looks fun and it will click with the action audience. American Ultra is sure to get in the way, similarly, and then bam, Hitman: Agent 47 brings all that action and the video game element as well.
With an overload of pretty much every type of movie element out there that Pixels would like to be, it seems like the only thing is truly is happens to be underwhelming.
Having not seen the film, I can't say whether or not this is all justified, but that in itself speaks volumes, as I won't be paying money to see it in theaters, either. I've spent enough money at the movies so far this year and I already know that I'll be seeing SPECTRE, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and several other movies, so I don't have it in me to gamble $15 on something that looks bad, sounds bad according to critics, and has no positive word of mouth...and I know full well that I'll eventually watch this movie down the line, too.
Had this film come out earlier in the year in the months of February or March before Avengers: Age of Ultron swept April, it would have had the jump on all of these movies and been there first with little to no competition. Now, it's a small fish in the big pond of summer blockbuster time and unlike the video games in the film, there aren't any cheat codes or extra lives to make up for failing level 1—the opening week box office.