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Popularity of History Inspired Films

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Postby Sir Kohran » Sat May 26, 2007 3:48 pm

But I think European history/mythology is generally more popular in Europe than North America - the (mostly) Europe-set movies Gladiator, Troy, Alexander and Kingdom Of Heaven all made much more money 'overseas' than 'domestic'. It's similar with some video games - Prince Of Persia 3D was a financial disaster in America but for a time was the best-selling game in Europe. I'm not saying this is always the case - but it just strikes me as a genuine trend. So I can see the reasoning behind this.

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Postby Chrislad77 » Sat May 26, 2007 4:21 pm

HeartOfDarkness wrote:
Modern society values the individual and the knight and pirate are perfect representations of this. So Knights are popular among people.


I'm not so sure that modern society's view on the individual has much to do with this. Kids like pirates and knights because pirates and knights have been highly romanticized in modern culture. Did you, as a kid, ever set up a scenario where Pirate A is trying to resist peer pressure by donning a blue shirt while the rest of the crew has red shirts? Nope (at least I don't think so). You might have pirates B, C, and D keelhaul pirate A for being different, but that's a different thing altogether. And as for knights, those guys come a dime a dozen. Often with the same heraldry. I wouldn't necessarily call these themes 'representations of the individual'. Except for KK2, and we all know how that turned out. :wink:[/quote

I don't want to digress from the purpose of this thread too much, that being said...


Have you been an American public school lately? The individual is at the height of importence. Now I think all the points made in the last few posts are linked. What in comes down to is a heroic knight or rebel pirate is much better subject matter than the disciplined faceless roman legionnaire or greek hoplite.
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Postby HeartOfDarkness » Sat May 26, 2007 5:43 pm

Have you been an American public school lately? The individual is at the height of importence. Now I think all the points made in the last few posts are linked. What in comes down to is a heroic knight or rebel pirate is much better subject matter than the disciplined faceless roman legionnaire or greek hoplite.



I agree that individuality to the point of silliness is popular in oublic schools, but I don't really think that it has much to do with the popularity of pirates and knights. When Lego released unique knights without uniform color or heraldry in KK2, a lot of people complained, myself included. I'll bet that if Lego released a line of four or five pirates, each with distinct personality and color, it would flop. I also think that if Lego released a line of ancient Greek heroes, the same people would complain for the same reasons unless there were some cheap, ubiquitous, anonymous foot soldiers on each side. However, if it was marketed as an Adventurers-type line and existed seperate from the Castle line, I'd love it (especially if the heroes could be purchased by themselves in cheapo sets :D ).
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Postby RichardAM » Sat May 26, 2007 7:03 pm

Chrislad77 wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like your implying US children are less intelligent therefore would not like something like this...I might have misunderstood you so sorry if I randomly exploded .


Indeed. What I mean is, do kids anywhere nowadays want this kind of toy where history and a real understanding of the subject is involved, or would they rather have something moronic and founded on nothing?

Being out of the kid's toy loop other than all things Lego I really don't know what it is that children enjoy playing with nowadays, but even I can imagine my nephew preferring to play with something more futuristic-based and sci-fi rather than something cultural and with a deep history to it. The reasons for that stem from human society in general more than anything else.

Regardless, what I mean is, like the recent Vikings line, i'd image that it's a theme that's most popular in it's home country than anywhere else because of that cultural background and understanding. Though as Chris noted these are ideas and subjects that we know as humans, regardless of the placement this theme would work, but because of that original connection to the history and backstory, I think historical themes like this are always best in their home countries.

Also, haven't we all poo-pooed over Steve's vision enough already? ;)
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Postby Damien » Sun May 27, 2007 2:17 am

I think historical themes like this are always best in their home countries.


So, surely, you can provide us with the sales figures that support such an assertion - via clearly superior sales of Castle in Europe than in America, or of the Vikings line in Denmark over Italy or South America (sales as a percentile, obviously, to avoid population discrepancy issues).


But I think European history/mythology is generally more popular in Europe than North America - the (mostly) Europe-set movies Gladiator, Troy, Alexander and Kingdom Of Heaven all made much more money 'overseas' than 'domestic'.


This is an inaccurate statement. First of all, 'overseas' numbers, you have to understand, include everywhere that isn't the US. You can't group Japan, China, and France together and say it proves 'Europe likes X better than the US does.'

Further, Gladiator (one of your examples) grossed 187 million dollars in America, and 269 million elsewhere. Think about that. Over half of the money it made was made in America alone. Imagine it - it took practically the entire world to put more money into watching it than Americans did. Hardly a 'lack of interest' there.

The other movies mentioned should be examined as failures within their own scope, not simply by their subject matter. Troy was plainly NOT a good movie, and got terrible reviews. So - less people go to see it, as America has a problem with 'someone I don't know said it was bad, so I didn't go to see it.' Likewise, Americans also will see a crappy movie that flat out looks like it will be awful, because a fat guy in a chair tells them it's great.

Troy made over 70% of its revenue overseas because of this.

Alexander suffered similarly. Oliver Stone just doesn't know what he's doing anymore. The movie he made was convoluded and odd. Some of us really liked it, but for the most part it was not the type of movie that would appeal to an American audience - and again got terrible reviews. Hence, Americans didn't have any interest. The subject matter itself, believe it or not, was largely irrelevant. Plenty of non-historical movies have bombed in the US. And to point a fact, our very own story "The Alamo" bombed in the US!

Kingdom of Heaven bombed because it was not properly made for an American audience (i.e. short attention spans). The movie was oddly cut, yet making it longer (as they did with the Director's Cut, which was SO much better) would have alienated a large portion of the American audience. There was just no winning here. There was no way to save a movie designed like this unless you fill it with nudity and get it rated X. Doesn't matter if it's about the Alamo or the Crusades - if it's not properly made for an American audience, Americans won't put a lot of money into seeing it.

And frankly, what with the war, the whole Islam thing was bound to be unpopular anyway.

300, on the other hand, a 'historical' movie much better geared for American audiences, grossed over 210 MILLION dollars in the US alone. Worldwide (including America), the film grossed 437 million dollars. So, almost fully half of the ENTIRE WORLD's worth of watching that movie came out of America - similar to Gladiator.

I find it hard to believe anyone can look at such figures objectively and say that there is more interest abroad than here in the US.
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Postby Chrislad77 » Sun May 27, 2007 4:00 am

Damien wrote:
Kingdom of Heaven bombed because it was not properly made for an American audience (i.e. short attention spans). The movie was oddly cut, yet making it longer (as they did with the Director's Cut, which was SO much better) would have alienated a large portion of the American audience. There was just no winning here. There was no way to save a movie designed like this unless you fill it with nudity and get it rated X. Doesn't matter if it's about the Alamo or the Crusades - if it's not properly made for an American audience, Americans won't put a lot of money into seeing it.

And frankly, what with the war, the whole Islam thing was bound to be unpopular anyway.

.



Any review of Kingdom of Heaven no matter how brief should mention the miscasting of Orlando Bloom for the main role. He isn't Russell Crowe , no one could understand how this skinny blacksmith all of a sudden becomes this super warrior slaying arabs with ease. Plus the movies anti-christian tone wasn't going to work in America either. The only charcter worth watching was the terminally ill King.
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Postby Damien » Sun May 27, 2007 6:11 am

Not to get too off-topic, I'll just make a quick reply this one time to this:

Any review of Kingdom of Heaven no matter how brief should mention the miscasting of Orlando Bloom for the main role. He isn't Russell Crowe , no one could understand how this skinny blacksmith all of a sudden becomes this super warrior slaying arabs with ease. Plus the movies anti-christian tone wasn't going to work in America either. The only charcter worth watching was the terminally ill King.


I hate Russell Crowe. I think he's a terrible actor more on the level of Keanu-Birchwood-Reeves. Orlando, however much flack he gets, is a pretty decent actor and enjoyable, at least. Likewise, he was far from skinny - he had the same build in that movie that most real combat men would (and do) have: slim and well-muscled. Check out the scenes when he's not wearing a shirt. He absolutely must have hit the gym for awhile before filming started.

Also, the director's cut explains his background enough to explain that he's not 'just a blacksmith' -- the whole 'blacksmith becomes uber-warrior' thing really didn't make a lot of sense. But the DC fixed that tidily.

As well - I don't think the film was anti-Christian at all. But it could have benefited from showing a bit more bloodthirstiness in the Muslims as in the Christians.

Finally, Tiberias and Guy were as worth watching as Baldwin. All three characters were cunningly-written and very well-portrayed.
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Postby architect » Sun May 27, 2007 11:28 am

I split and moved this topic. Please start a new thread in the correct forum if the topic is changing. Thank you.

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Postby RichardAM » Sun May 27, 2007 11:50 am

Damien wrote:So, surely, you can provide us with the sales figures that support such an assertion - via clearly superior sales of Castle in Europe than in America, or of the Vikings line in Denmark over Italy or South America (sales as a percentile, obviously, to avoid population discrepancy issues).


Yes, I shall march to the Lego offices and acquire the details of such sales and figures.

Next time you're going to read (and quote) one of my posts, please read it properly, in this case, take stock of the term "I think" rather than confusing it with the radically different "I know for a fact".

Thank you.
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Postby architect » Sun May 27, 2007 3:15 pm

The truth about almost any toy line produced is that sales are highly unpredictable in all markets. Certain previous lines that fans think bombed actually sold very well for LEGO. Fan favorite themes do not always sell well. The toy industry is changing constantly. Predicting how a line will do is very tough.

The one thing that historic and fantasy themed LEGO lines have going for them now is the wide variety of history/fantasy inspired films which have been released lately.

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Postby Sir Kohran » Sun May 27, 2007 11:07 pm

Apologies if this post is a bit screwed up, it's because of the topic split...
Further, Gladiator (one of your examples) grossed 187 million dollars in America, and 269 million elsewhere. Think about that. Over half of the money it made was made in America alone.


Um...what? How is 187 million (money made in America) bigger than 269 million (money made everywhere else)? What am I not getting here?

Kingdom of Heaven bombed because it was not properly made for an American audience (i.e. short attention spans).


Now this I find interesting. So what's the big difference between America and everywhere else? You named 'short attention spans' but I'm sure there's more to it than that.

Likewise, Americans also will see a crappy movie that flat out looks like it will be awful, because a fat guy in a chair tells them it's great.


*coughDeadMan'sChestcough*

300, on the other hand, a 'historical' movie much better geared for American audiences, grossed over 210 MILLION dollars in the US alone. Worldwide (including America), the film grossed 437 million dollars. So, almost fully half of the ENTIRE WORLD's worth of watching that movie came out of America - similar to Gladiator.


300 may as well have been a fantasy movie for all the 'history' that was in it.

I hate Russell Crowe. I think he's a terrible actor more on the level of Keanu-Birchwood-Reeves.


Oh come on; look at that bit where he finds his wife and son's bodies and tell me he isn't a good actor.

Orlando, however much flack he gets, is a pretty decent actor and enjoyable, at least.


I think it's his lines - "A diversion!" (ROTK) - and his celebrity status; until he gets a bit older he won't be seen as much more than a chick magnet.

Likewise, he was far from skinny - he had the same build in that movie that most real combat men would (and do) have: slim and well-muscled. Check out the scenes when he's not wearing a shirt. He absolutely must have hit the gym for awhile before filming started.


Funnily enough he had to wear a hairpiece for his chest.

Also, the director's cut explains his background enough to explain that he's not 'just a blacksmith' -- the whole 'blacksmith becomes uber-warrior' thing really didn't make a lot of sense. But the DC fixed that tidily.


Yes, the DC is brilliant. Probably not a good 'main-stream' action movie, but for a historical movie it's great.

As well - I don't think the film was anti-Christian at all. But it could have benefited from showing a bit more bloodthirstiness in the Muslims as in the Christians.


It's anti-church - remember that bit when the priest guy suggests he and Balian leave the people to be slaughtered to save their own skin? This is a fair point; many churches in the Middle Ages were corrupt, bloated and stole money from the poor.

Finally, Tiberias and Guy were as worth watching as Baldwin. All three characters were cunningly-written and very well-portrayed.


Yeah; Jeremy Irons, Marton Csokas and Ed Norton are all good actors.

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Postby Shadowviking » Wed May 30, 2007 1:54 am

Damien wrote:scenes when he's not wearing a shirt.

..And there you have it. The explanation of why I dislike Orlando and Hayden (the Anakin one). They seem like they were picked almost solely for their "sex appeal", rather than their acting.
But that's just my two cents.
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Postby Damien » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:21 am

Next time you're going to read (and quote) one of my posts, please read it properly, in this case, take stock of the term "I think" rather than confusing it with the radically different "I know for a fact".


Don't be snide. The point, which you clearly missed, is that in order for you to form an opinion, you have to have some backing. You cannot, for instance, say "I think that guy is Spanish." You would need a reason to believe he is Spanish, otherwise why would you make the presumption? Following me so far? Okay, so if you presume that a particular toy line sold better one place than in another, you would need some foundation for making that claim.

What am I not getting here?


You're not getting that 187 million was made ONLY in America, and the 269 million is the collected amount from EVERY other country in the world. Therefore, every country singularly put in less than America did.

Thus, Europe spent -less- money seeing this movie than America did.

Get what I mean now?



So what's the big difference between America and everywhere else? You named 'short attention spans' but I'm sure there's more to it than that.


Not really. Look at our schools. Look at our 'big draw' entertainment. America spends more money on movies with explosions that are an hour and a half or shorter than any other country. To be perfectly blunt, much of Europe (and the rest of the world) tends to be more sophisticated than Americans (as a general audience).

Americans have no attention span, as a collective group. Give them a long, involved plotline and you'll cut your target audience by a huge margin. Gladiator had explosions, quick plotline development, and gore. It did well in America. Kingdom of Heaven had long dialogue scenes, no real suspense or surprise, no gore, and only a few, very quick, battle scenes. It bombed (also due to the fact that America is on a wicked anti-Muslim trip).

Case in point.


*coughDeadMan'sChestcough*


Precisely.


300 may as well have been a fantasy movie for all the 'history' that was in it.


The theme was still history, I meant. It may have been very fantasy, but it was still very much the backdrop of history, however mangled it may have been.


Oh come on; look at that bit where he finds his wife and son's bodies and tell me he isn't a good actor.


He's not a good actor.

Every actor, at least almost, has had moments where they pull off dramatic moments. Even Keanu Reeves has done that a few times. But just because you can wail and cry on command doesn't mean you are, more generally, a good actor. There's more to it than that. Though one would be hardpressed to really explain what makes a good actor. It's just that 'something' that they have. Johnny Depp is a good actor. Christopher Lee is a good actor. Crowe is an overpaid shmuck that only got by because chicks thought he was 'dreamy' and he looked tough.


I think it's his lines - "A diversion!" (ROTK) - and his celebrity status; until he gets a bit older he won't be seen as much more than a chick magnet.


Definitely. He's still young. And he's still growing as an actor. But he gets way more negativity than he deserves because he's not actually a -bad- actor. He's just not full-grown into his career yet. Johnny Depp was a 'heart-throb' in his early years as well. Look how he turned out - one of the best Hollywood can get.


Yes, the DC is brilliant. Probably not a good 'main-stream' action movie, but for a historical movie it's great.


Agreed, completely. I've watched it plenty of times since it came out and am glad to own it. Terrific movie and so much better than the theatrical release that it's hard to grasp they are the same movie.


It's anti-church - remember that bit when the priest guy suggests he and Balian leave the people to be slaughtered to save their own skin? This is a fair point; many churches in the Middle Ages were corrupt, bloated and stole money from the poor.


Just in the Middle Ages?


But yes, the movie definitely has anti-church undertones. Personally, I don't think it's overt. And on the other hand, the Hospitaller is shown in an extremely positive light - a 'true Christian' in every way. No character like that could even exist in a film designed to be anti-Christian.


..And there you have it. The explanation of why I dislike Orlando and Hayden (the Anakin one). They seem like they were picked almost solely for their "sex appeal", rather than their acting.


I think that's an unfair statement. Some of the greatest actors of our time were originally chosen partially for their 'sex appeal.' Look at Sean Connery. Women -still- fall all over themselves for him. And Johnny Depp. Collin Farrel. Richard Gere. Gerard Butler. Great actors all, but were definitely handed some things along the way because women wanted to see them.

Doesn't make them bad actors. Their good looks certainly shouldn't be held against them. Nor should it be held against a movie company for wanting to get a male lead that the women in the crowd will want to look at for extended periods of time. Female leads are no different, you know. Keira Knightley didn't get her roles because she's the best female actor in all Hollywood.
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Postby Shadowviking » Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:49 pm

Damien wrote:
..And there you have it. The explanation of why I dislike Orlando and Hayden (the Anakin one). They seem like they were picked almost solely for their "sex appeal", rather than their acting.


I think that's an unfair statement. Some of the greatest actors of our time were originally chosen partially for their 'sex appeal.' Look at Sean Connery. Women -still- fall all over themselves for him. And Johnny Depp. Collin Farrel. Richard Gere. Gerard Butler. Great actors all, but were definitely handed some things along the way because women wanted to see them.

Doesn't make them bad actors. Their good looks certainly shouldn't be held against them. Nor should it be held against a movie company for wanting to get a male lead that the women in the crowd will want to look at for extended periods of time. Female leads are no different, you know. Keira Knightley didn't get her roles because she's the best female actor in all Hollywood.

Sean Connery...
...Keira Knightley

Arg, my weak spots!
I suppose, but the original Star Wars trilogy got along fine without Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford baring their chests... why have Anakin do it?
But now I'm getting off the topic of Historical-based movies, so I'll stop.
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Postby Blueandwhite » Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:28 pm

Sir Kohran wrote:
Likewise, Americans also will see a crappy movie that flat out looks like it will be awful, because a fat guy in a chair tells them it's great.


*coughDeadMan'sChestcough*

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Hey, I LIKED DeadMan's Chest :P !

Seriously, the amount of chest-thumping and ego pushing in these America vs. Europe threads is enough to make a man sick.
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