It must be nice. You make a hit movie and then you have a franchise. You can keep milking the cow until there’s absolutely nothing left to squeeze out. Sequels, spin-offs, rip-offs – anything to take advantage of the brand. The movies don’t have to be good. Sure, it’s a nice bonus if they are – but they don’t have to be. Fools will still buy tickets.
The Star Wars franchise is guilty. The lack of quality since The Empire Strikes Back has been appalling – especially the unwatchable prequels (again, prequels suck to begin with, but those were just embarrassing). None of that mattered. Every new chapter makes hundreds of millions of dollars, often a billion. Franchise!
But the story here is Minions. The latest money-grab in the Despicable Me franchise. Because the first Minions movie wasn’t bad enough, so now we get Minions: The Rise Of Gru. Check out the trailer:
Pretty great, huh? Could you guess what’s missing? I’ll help you out – LAUGHS. Maybe a minor chuckle or two at best. So either the movie isn’t funny (very possible), or they just made an awful trailer (also very possible). I watched it with kids who are right in the demo for this and they pretty much yawned. So did I. And we WANTED to like it.
Seriously, how hard is it to make the minions do funny, bumbling, silly things? It’s a freaking cartoon! Ever watch Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote? It’s not that hard to be funny in a cartoon! Make kids laugh, and ideally make their parents laugh. Why is this so difficult?
Oh Universal THINKS this is a good trailer. They spent lots of money to make it, and even more to test it and research it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. But testing is an incredibly flawed process in movie marketing. If this is what research told them was the best way to go they should ask for their money back.
Kids are the easiest audience in the world. The lowest hanging fruit. They like almost anything. I’m sure plenty say they like this just because they like the franchise – they like seeing the minions do anything. But guess what? They’d LOVE it if the minions were actually FUNNY. That’s what they liked about them in the first place! That’s WHY there’s a franchise!
Thing is, if they just made a little effort, they could keep extending the life of the franchise. Like Fast And the Furious – which should have never have even made it to franchise territory as the early movies were pretty bad. But they pushed their way through and eventually found the right formula and that’s what they deliver over and over again. They’re up to F9 now and still not slowing down. Just DELIVER what your audiences actually wants. Rocket science, huh?
Trailers steal every great (usable) joke from the movie – which is why you always see the funniest stuff there instead of experiencing it for the first time in the movie. Filmmakers hate that, but most of them understand you gotta give up those jokes to sell tickets.
Point is, if there was really funny stuff in The Rise Of Gru, we should be seeing some of it in the trailer. Yes it’s possible they just suck at making trailers. But more likely the movie just isn’t very funny.
The money will still roll in. But the cow is getting tired, and they’re squeezing pretty hard to get those last drops out.
And who really suffers for it?