The media continues to misdiagnose the box office success of family films

Posted: May 9, 2023

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The media continues to misdiagnose the box office success of family films

By Movieguide® Contributor

While films with strong moral and Christian content have outperformed immoral content at the box office, mainstream media continues to find other reasons for their success.

In “The Simple Secret to the ‘Super Mario’ Animation Studio’s Success”, published by The Wall Street Journal, Illumination Studios’ success is explained as stemming from its reliance on proven franchises and IPs, creating movies that people of all ages want to see, and the decline of Disney’s Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“[An] The explanation for Illumination’s success is that the studio relies on proven intellectual property as the foundation of its stories,” the article States. “The first film to feature minions – now an indelible part of pop culture – came out in 2012 and spawned four sequels and spinoffs.”

“‘Super Mario Bros.’ is based on the 1985 Nintendo game created by Shiguro Miyamoto, who is a producer on the film and worked closely with Mr. Meledandri throughout its creative process,” the article continues. from many of the early “Mario” games, including how Mario and Luigi travel through green sewer pipes and end up in the Magical Mushroom Kingdom, battling the evil turtle King Bowser to help save Princess Peach and her legions of mushrooms -shaped subjects.

While the emphasis on the power of established IP addresses is compelling and could account for a number of sales when a movie opens, the argument is ultimately insufficient because audiences care more about the content of a movie than anything else. For example, Disney’s LIGHTYEAR lost $100 million despite having established intellectual property.

ILooking at video game franchises alone, dozens of movies have been made with established IPs, and the majority of them are received with lukewarm praise, if they manage to turn a box office profit. Nintendo, for example, released a Mario movie in 1993 which was a massive flop and is considered one of the worst movies ever made. Therefore, using a well-known IP address can help a movie, but the movie still needs content to stand on its own.

The Wall Street Journal article claims that Illumination Studios movie content is content that all ages want to see. SUPER MARIO BROS. FILM, for example, is popular with adults because they are nostalgic for the games they played growing up.

“One of the biggest success factors of any family animated film is that you’ll want parents to want to see it with their kids,” said Mr Broughton, of UK market research film Ampere, which focuses on the media. said.

What the article and Mr. Broughton do not mention is that parents must be delighted to take their children to see these films too. Parents are more likely to take their children to the movies when the content teaches strong morals. A family film cannot succeed if it is not suitable for children.

Another explanation given by the Wall Street Journal article is that recent Disney movies have largely been failures, leaving Illumination Studios with little competition.

“It doesn’t hurt that some [THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE’s] Major competitors, including Walt Disney’s two main animation divisions, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, are struggling a bit. Last year, Disney released back-to-back theatrical flops in LIGHTYEAR and STRANGE WORLD, with the latter posting Disney Animation’s lowest opening weekend gross in about a decade, other than RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, a 2021 title whose opening was hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the article said.

While focusing on the success of Illumination Studio, the article offers no explanation for why Disney films fail. A common thread between LIGHTYEAR, STRANGE WORLD and RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON is their promotion of non-Christian worldviews, LIGHTYEAR and STRANGE WORLD including exclusively politically correct morals. Illumination Studios, on the other hand, includes some level of strong moral content in each of its films, distinguishing its films from Disney blockbusters.

Ultimately, the mainstream media is afraid to admit that strong Christian or moral content is an important factor in a film’s success.

Time and time again, Christian and morality-focused films outperform their amoral and anti-Christian counterparts. Much of the box office recovery after the pandemic shutdowns can be attributed to morally strong films pulling people into theaters. The world is hungry for Christian and moral content and that is why movies that provide this kind of content succeed.

Movieguide®’s annual report to the entertainment industry highlights that films with immoral content (excessive foul language, violence and sex) consistently underperform at the box office.

Additionally, films with moral worldview elements, family content, and other Christian themes are successful.

Movieguide® previously reported:

In its second week at the box office, SUPER MARIO BROS. FILM comfortably maintains its number one spot.

The animated hit grossed $92.5 million domestically over Easter weekend. Including Monday’s issues, the SUPER MARIO BROS. FILM has grossed over $700 million worldwide and is on track to be the first film this year to cross the $1 billion mark.

This weekend’s horror films THE POPE’S EXORCIST and RENFIELD were largely overshadowed by MARIO BROS. MOVIE. POPE’S EXORCIST was number 2 at the box office, grossing $9.2 million, while RENFIELD was number 4 with $8 million.

The success of SUPER MARIO BROS. FILM continues the trend of uplifting, positive, family films that do well at the box office while horror and violent films do poorly.

The continued success of family films is encouraging, as filmmakers focus on making films that audiences love. The success of SUPER MARIO BROS. FILM tells producers that audiences want more movies like this. Due to the success of the Mario movie, many fans are excited to see if Nintendo will allow more of their IPs to appear on the big screen.

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