Fox - You've Sunk to a New Low
by Alex Billington
June 6, 2007
I've had a bone to pick with 20th Century Fox for a long time now. Back in late June of 2006 I wrote an article titled Oh Fox, How We Loathe You. Now a year later they've had their chance to convince me otherwise and make me a believer, but as of yesterday, Fox has sunk to a new low. If you haven't already read it, go read the news - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer will be rated PG! They did it with Eragon, they're doing it with Fantastic Four 2, and it will be done to Live Free or Die Hard - they're destroying good films only to turn a higher profit with lower MPAA ratings, which will all soon bite them in the ass, yet again.
There will be those who stand up and defend the studio that in their golden days put out classics like Star Wars, Independence Day, and Home Alone, but now they've taken a nose dive straight into Hollywood hell. I can't speak for all of their films, but if you take a look at their line-up in the last six or so months, as well as what's coming up the rest of the year, you'll start to realize even the future looks grim.
From the end of last year until now they've put out all of these terrible films: Eragon, Deck the Halls, Night at the Museum (yes, it was a terrible movie), Epic Movie, Firehouse Dog, and Pathfinder. Give or take Night at the Museum, all of those were considered flops at the box office, too.
Coming up they've got Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Live Free or Die Hard, The Comebacks, The Dark Is Rising, Hitman, and Alien vs. Predator 2: No Peace On Earth. The only few coming up that may not be as bad as the rest are The Simpsons Movie, James Wan's Death Sentence, and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, but for all we know they could butcher these into PG-rated disasters, too.
It seems like what's happening is that they're struggling to earn more money in an increasingly competitive movie industry, and instead of considering the quality of films, they only consider the earnings. As any good business should consider, profit comes first, but in Hollywood and the film industry that's a touchy subject when most critics and, for that matter, most people in general dislike a film. With a few exceptions to the rule, that general dislike turns it into a box office failure and an attempt to broaden the audience instead results in a loss. Somehow they believe, or people keep going to see the movies, that by chopping up a film to get a lower MPAA rating and broaden the audience it will result in higher earnings, and sometimes it does. But any rightful movie fanatic knows that they're destroying what little hope these movies had to begin with.
The only good thing Fox has going at all is their Fox Searchlight division, which puts out independent and limited releases. They've always made the perfect purchases at Sundance and other film festivals and put out the likes of both Little Miss Sunshine and The Last King of Scotland last year. They're the only redeeming factor to the Fox corporation as a whole, but I still count them separate from those who head up the real studio and are responsible for all of the disasters mentioned so far.
Unless some big changes happen and some new people take control, Fox has sunk as low as any studio can be in my opinion. They're the corporation that's causing the most harm in the movie industry, both in theaters (with complaints that theaters shouldn't show such low quality films at all) and in general with the negative opinion they're building for their films. They can try and continue to believe that butchering films like this will result in higher profits, but we'll let the box office numbers prove that they're wrong. Good luck on success, Fox.
Reader Feedback - 9 Comments
I really didn't think it was a terrible thing for FF2 to get a PG rating as I've always thought of Fantastic Four as one of the milder superhero comics, but within the context of your article, yeah, I see what you're saying. I just watched the original Die Hard again the other day and with a PG-13 the new one will definitely NOT be in the same league. One of the things that really bother me about PG-13 violence is that it's so damned sanitized, and yes, the younger folks out there will get the idea that being shot is a quick, painless and relatively blood-free death. :-\ Is FOX doing Speed Racer? I can't remember but I do know I was shocked to hear the Wachowski brother were going for a G-rating on that one. I mean really... G is for Winnie the Pooh, ya know? Vic
Screen Rant on Jun 6, 2007
I don't have as bi a problem with the PG rating as I do with the fact that the movie is reportedly just 92 minutes long. That says to me it's going to be very "light" and provide much substance at all. Direct to DVD animated sequels are 92 minutes long, not major action adventure movies filled with SFX. It makes me think this was a much longer movie that a lot of people didn't like and so they pulled out the scissors to try and salvage what they could.
Chris Thilk on Jun 6, 2007
I'm with you on this one buddy. Why can't these studio exec's ever grow some balls. It's all very well targeting the kids but the audience with the dollars to buy the numerous DVD's etc are your late teens and adults so why not have the ring to appeal to them. I've also never understood in this day and age of directors cut DVD's and re-inserted deleted scenes that film companies never release two versions of a film when the DVD release is due. One a PG and one a 15/18. At least then they might have the proof that slightly more mature and action packed films sell more and are far more entertaining. Hellboy was a classic example. You had this awesome sword weilding Nazi robot yet he was cast in a film where he couldn't really hurt anyone, or at least let it be shown on screen. The nature of the material was dark enough that you could add a little realistic violence but no, lets cutesy it up and maybe get a fast food happy toy deal.
Payne by name on Jun 6, 2007
#4 Apart from the (strong)possibility that studios want to sell us the same film over and over again once they hit home theater, they also tend to consign 'harder' content to DVD 'special editions'. This has nothing to do with deciding that kids are a more lucrative market in the theatre and adults a more lucrative market t home (in practise it seems to be the reverse), but rather that the MPAA are sentrying films much harder than DVDs. Either way it is a very cynical workflow.
Martin Anderson on Jun 7, 2007
Let's break this down. "...classics like Star Wars, Independence Day, and Home Alone..." were rated PG, PG-13 and PG, respectively. That kind of flies in the face of your baffling assertation that PG=SUCK. It's also weird that you would praise Home Alone and criticize Night At The Museum when they are both made from the same mold: live-action slapstick kids' comedies with enough jokes to keep the adults happy. The fact that you think Home Alone represents some kind of cinematic zenith for a studio or that Eragon failed not on it's own merits, but because it was too kid friendly, speaks volumes about your poor taste. The Fantastic Four is an inherently silly property. One we all discovered as kids in the pages of the comic book that never went beyond a PG level of content. Why would you want to exclude kids from discovering such a fun story? Why must you drag this movie down to your level of narrow-minded arrested development where sex&violence = mature storytelling? Your way off base here.
DougSlack on Jun 7, 2007
My comment was removed! Nice to know that criticism is not allowed! DURRRR I DUN LIEK PG MOVIES DURRRRR
Werbal on Jun 8, 2007
all u babys who want a pg fantastic four can go watch bambie or some other syupid kiddie crap. Why cant we have a fantastic four movie that's actaully for adults???? Grow up and get your head out of your ass of adolecsents.
Errol Cobgobbler on Jun 8, 2007
Give me a break...and why can't we have a PG movie for the younger kids??? I'd like to take my kids to a Superhero Movie. Stop being so dramatic and selfish. And by the way, they are targeting the kids. Have you been down the toy aisle's lately? Fantastic Four is everywhere. Even in Happy Meals. I think if you have a problem with a cleaner movie that you are the one with the issues.
Mom on Sep 4, 2007
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