[Originally Posted to Tumblr]
I woke up in a good mood this Monday morning, but that quickly soured as I scoured some of my favorite sites for information about Benedict Cumberbatch and came across an explosion of commentary regarding how poorly The Fifth Estate performed, and how this is bad news for Benedict. This meant I had a very bad morning because as a huge Cumberbatch fan, I am overly invested in him having a long, varied, and full movie/television/theatre career so I will never run out of things to reblog on Tumblr.
According to fans in the industry or at least people who profess to be in the film industry (the money part) but may just be trolling, Benedict’s name being associated with underperforming films is what is going to have a negative impact on him being hired to lead films in Hollywood. And this has nothing to do with his talent but everything to do with whether his face will get butts in seats and in dollars in pockets. This is all according to this rather polemically titled rant thread here.
- This gossip blog: http://www.laineygossip.com/Benedict-
- The Hollywood Reporter article that started it all: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/
- And this REALLY unfortunately titled article : http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/10/20/
- STiD was considered not a good showing so this is a black mark against him.
- That he is on all the posters for TFE and did all the promo and pretty much the fact that Dreamworks were using his rising star power to see the film is going to work hugely against him.
- The Hobbit is not considered a financial success and The Desolation of Smaug is not anticipated to do that hot either.
- Hollywood investors are super conservative and only care about making money, but also suck at understanding why things do or don’t make a lot of money and therefore like to blame the talent - especially if new.
- Having a bit part in a film or two that does well artistically is not going to help demonstrate that Benedict is a good investment to lead a film.
- The Hollywood model of putting all its money on big blockbuster tentpole films is a broken model and more and more BIG films are failing (see The Lone Ranger, the Man of Steel, John Carter of Mars) and this is going to result in even less variety in films coming out as film investors get super conservative and scared and avoid risks. Even Spielberg is having a difficult time producing and has to invests in his own films for them to happen: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/
Reading all this made me think that Assange, in his letter to Benedict, was right about one thing but for the wrong reason. Dreamworks used Benedict. Dreamworks opened TFE too broadly and had too high an estimate for a film about a man that a good chunk of America doesn’t like/thinks is a threat to national security/doesn’t remember or care about. Their marketing relied heavily on Benedict’s face, rising star, and fan base, a good chunk of which is not in the US and still can’t see the damn film because it hasn’t opened yet (it comes out in Germany the end of October, in Denmark in November, in Sweden in December, and I cannot even find a release date for Japan.)
So they hitched their film to his rising star to try and take advantage of his momentum, to make some money. They took a risk, but Benedict was too new and hadn’t reached high enough visibility among the audiences they hoped to reach (not the Cumbercollective) and his promotion was limited (Katie Couric is not David Letterman or the Colbert Report) and it brought in so little money on its opening weekend that now whenever the financial failure of the film is being discussed, it’s linked with Benedict’s name.