Pre-order Your Box Office Blockbuster or Bomb!

I’m looking through the Sunday bundle of advertisements and I see that you could order The Smurfs 2 for DVD right now. I’ve also seen boxes for other films that were not necessarily bombs but were up for pre-order like Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Lone Ranger, and Despicable Me 2. Call me pessimistic but does it seem that some studios are so sure of themselves that they have a hit, despite of the fact that a film hasn’t even been released? Sure, some films that can be pre-ordered have proven themselves to be successful, like Despicable Me 2 and Star Trek: Into Darkness. That’s because that they come from a successful franchise, one where the studios were confident enough that they would bring in enough money to warrant a pre-order.

Back in the day, a pre-order would just be a copy of the movie and an extra disc of exclusive¬†bonus features, a plush toy or figurine, a lithograph, or even a coupon for $5 off a certain food product, depending on where you pre-ordered. Now, a pre-order kit seems to consist of a physical copy, a digital code for the digital copy, a free ticket to the film you pre-ordered, and/or something else starting days before the official theatrical release. I go the old-fashioned way and wait to see the film in a theater before I consider whether or not I want it for my library. By the time I do purchase a copy, the pre-order goodies are gone. I’ll survive.

I understand that the studios, sensing a hit especially after a successful first installment in terms of money and word of mouth, will greenlight a sequel, regardless of whether or not it was really needed. I die a little inside when I hear that not one but two sequels are greenlit for a movie that was lacking in story and character development and that a trilogy can be made as it seems to be the new thing this decade. Could they improve? Sure, but the odds are never really good.

With the recent string of failing tentpoles we had this summer, I wonder and hope that some people are taking notice and realize that just because you have a big budget and star power doesn’t mean it will be a big success. You can have all of the special effects in the world but unless they aid the story, they mean nothing. You could have a thrilling, incomprehensible chase scene with lots of explosions but it’s pointless if the story never called for it. Every element in a movie has to be important and work together, regardless of budget. If any part is neglected, the whole movie suffers.

If anything, just hold off on when to start allowing pre-orders and look at the results. It’s not that hard.