Jumanji: The Next Level Is Cashing In On B.S.

Jumanji: The Next Level is storming into cineplexes this weekend. Ready to make fistfuls of holiday cash because it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad (currently 67% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes – meh, but plenty good enough), people loved the first one so they will go to this one in droves. That’s how it works. The only danger to the next Next Level is if people hate this one.

Just make essentially the same movie every time and you can ride the cash cow until audiences get really bored, which can take a loooong time (what number Fast and Furious are we on? Exactly. And each one is so different from the one before).

And this new Jumanji looks just like the last one. So much so that the studio felt compelled to air some ads with giant text proclaiming that this time “EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE”. Oooo – and we all know advertising reeks of credibility. This despite the fact that everything we see in the ad that promises complete change looks identical to the first movie. Because in reality, nothing has changed. It’s the same movie with a few new faces and jokes. Because that’s all the audience needs to be served.

But that’s not the real story.

The real story is the bogus trend that’s been going on now for a long time when it comes to reporting the opening weekend box-office numbers – in the never-ending bid for studios to simply spin the perception of success (regardless of true financial success, which few really care about).

Sony is reporting 4.7 million from last night’s “previews”. That number will then conveniently be rolled into the Friday/Saturday/Sunday numbers and hailed as part of the grand total for the “3”-day weekend. Which will then be measured against other “3”-day weekend openings, or if it serves the narrative they’ll compare it to movies that opened without the benefit of an extra day (and with “previews” starting at 4pm Thursday it IS an extra day – how much movie business do you think happens pre-4pm on a typical Thursday?).

This is total bullshit. And no one cares. The world just lets it happen. They all do it, it’s not just Sony.

Right now the predictions are 45-50 million for the “3”-day weekend. Which includes the 4.7 million that in no way can be argued is part of a 3-day weekend. The trend started with 12:01am showings on Thursday night/Friday morning so they could “technically” be stated as part of Friday numbers. But soon they ate earlier and earlier into Thursday and just didn’t give a shit. Anything to make the numbers “look” better.

Sony of course is publicly saying they only expect 35 million for the “3”-day weekend. Why low-ball themselves? Especially when everyone else sees it so much higher? Perception of course. They want the narrative on Monday to be that the movie “over-performed” it’s expectations of 35 million. Which means it’s a huge hit and everyone can pad their resumes.

It has nothing to do with whether or not the movie was a hit with audiences or a financial success. The perception of good numbers is really all that matters to everyone. The truth is irrelevant. That’s also why they make sure no one ever really knows exactly how many millions were spent on making and promoting the movie. So they can dictate the narrative. No matter how much they have to lie, cheat, and steal.

If the truth mattered, the reporting would include TICKET SALES for Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Then suddenly inflation and rising ticket costs wouldn’t factor in. All the comparisons they love to throw around would actually be FAIR. You could go back to Gone With The Wind and it would be a fair comparison. Ticket sales. How many people bought tickets?

But then what you would see is a movie industry in deep decline. Ticket sales have been declining for decades you see. But no one wants to talk about that.

It doesn’t fit the narrative.

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