Behind the Scenes: Edge of Tomorrow (2014), a relic of bygone summer movie seasons
Edge of Tomorrow was supposed to be Tom Cruise’s re-anointment. The movie’s release last weekend was accompanied by a groundswell of positive reviews and career re-appraisals led by Amy Nicholson’s piece in LA Weekly.
That re-christening has become a requiem.
In its opening weekend, Edge of Tomorrow finished miles behind a low-budget teenaged cancer drama and a PG-rated live action Disney film in its second week of release. Maybe Nicholson’s LA Weekly essay is right – there are no more movie stars. Properties and franchises sell movies now – and the faces adorning them are largely interchangeable. The model for the major studios going forward will be based almost entirely around four types of movies:
1) tentpole properties with the ability to spin-off characters into additional films (the Marvel model)
2) the James Bond model in which the main character can be reconstituted ad infinitum (Batman and now Spider-Man essentially follow that model)
3) niche genre films budgeted at $30 million or less (i.e. The Fault in Our Stars, which cost $12 million, and Neighbors, which cost $18 million, in addition to low-budget horror offerings)
4) a few weeks worth of prestige Oscar-bait crammed into December
Edge of Tomorrow feels like a tipping point into an age in which an $180 million sci-fi action movie with a major movie star at its core is considered a hard sell merely because it’s based on source material with a low Q score.