Newsday‘s Lewis Beale has posted a piece about the biggest winners and losers of the summer movie season, which ends on Labor Day. Two of his losers are Sofia Coppola and Steven Soderbergh, so named because their respective films, The Beguiled and Logan Lucky, whiffed at the box-office. After 49 days The Beguiled has earned a lousy $10,576,669 domestic (maximum theatre count: 941) and $16,656,888 worldwide, and over the last 7 days Logan Lucky has generated a meager box-office of $9,316,933, albeit in three times as many theatres (3,031).
The problem with Beale’s verdict is that The Beguiled was a reasonably decent period drama (I called it a better film than Don Siegel‘s 1971 version with Clint Eastwood), and Logan Lucky is a bone dry, brilliantly fine-tuned redneck caper flick. Both films proved that Coppola and Soderbergh are pros who know their stuff, and it hardly makes them “losers” simply because ticket buyers decided they weren’t interested. If you ask me it’s the ticket buyers who lost.
Was it commercially savvy to re-make a gothic Civil War-era melodrama involving sex and dismemberment but with most of the sex taken out? Perhaps not. Did it make sense to re-make Ocean’s 11 in a bumblefuck milieu, minus the big stars and a Las Vegas setting? Okay, maybe Logan Lucky couldn’t have become a hit no matter what. But Soderbergh and Coppola did their jobs well. They made a pair of engaging, first-rate films. They brought honor upon themselves.
Beale’s other losers: 1. Universal Pictures for the wipe-out of Tom Cruise‘s The Mummy (HE agrees). 2. Michael Bay‘s Transformers: The Last Knight (ditto — HE only saw Cinemacon product reel, decided against attending). 3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (shitty reviews, $166 million gross vs. $230 production cost). 4. Baywatch (crappy reviews, audiences weren’t sold). 5. Will Ferrell for the embarassing failure of The House. 6. French comic books — i.e., the complete cratering of Luc Besson‘s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. 7. Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal‘s Detroit. 8. Halle Berry for the barely noticed failure of Kidnap.