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What Does June Gloom “Sequelitis” Mean For Legend of Tarzan?

Legend of Tarzan (Movie)

There is a message being painfully delivered from film-goers to Hollywood Studios, but it’s not quite clear what that message means for Legend of Tarzan.  Last weekends “Memorial Day Massacre” at the Box Office saw X-Men Apocalypse win the weekend but open below expectations at $79M, while Alice Through the Looking Glass opened weakly at $33M and dropped a whopping 66% to $10.6M this weekend.  Now comes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, another sequel,  — staggering to a “win” at $35M.

Meanwhile the romantic drama Me Before You exceeded expectations at $18.6M — not bad for a $20M film.

What does it mean?

Has Hollywood made a major miscalculation?

“In 2014, people were running out to see Ninja Turtles out of nostalgia for the past movies and the TV show,” says Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. “But the fans are clearly not as enthusiastic about one movie every two years. This is a lesson for Hollywood, which is suffering with sequels this summer.”

Me Before You  managed only a 55% score at Rotten Tomatoes but had an A cinemascore with audiences.  According toPaul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, Me Before You   “was a true bright spot in this weekend’s box-office derby that clearly struck a chord with audiences looking for something completely different from the typical summer fare. This paid off big.”

Now . . . .let’s think about Legend of Tarzan.

First of all — LOT is not a sequel.  And with 32 years having elapsed since Greystoke, the last live action major release Tarzan, is it even a reboot? Not really. I think a reboot has to happen at least within a generation of the original.  But then on the other hand –  it seems  questionable  to think of it as neither a reboot or a sequel when it will be the 53rd Tarzan movie.  But does any of that matter to the millenials and younger who have to get motivated to go out and support it? (The fortysomethings and up can help, but they can’t carry it.)

I just don’t know.

Next weekend doesn’t look like it will cure the malaise, with Now You See Me 2 and The Conjuring 2, plus Warcraft will likely open in the high 20’s to the low 40’s and not change the narrative.  Then comes Finding Dory, which should crack the $100M barrier and regalvanize the box office and maybe lay to rest some of the sequelitis . . . . then comes Independence Day Resurgence, looking a little soft . . . and then it’s Tarzan/BFG/The Purge.

Somewhere in all of this it feels like there could be an opening for big, romantic, old school Legend of Tarzan overperform just like small, romantic You Before Me did this weekend.  Or am I just wishin’ and hopin’ ?

Well, we’re four weeks out.

Plenty of time to fret.



  • I think people are suffering from sequelitis, as you point out.There certainly are enough complaints about it on IMBD,You Tube and other sites. Added to this ennui is the fact that a lot more people are traveling to vacation spots than they have for years due to lower gas prices. Once at their vacation destination,seeing a movie is not usually on the agenda. Particularly ,when they are not very excited to see yet another sequel. I expect this trend will continue throughout the summer, Hopefully, enough of them will realize that LOT is an old fashioned action adventure and not just a live action version of Disney’s cartoon or a reboot of the numerous B movie Tarzan’s we have had down through the years.. I have heard some posters at various sites say it’s too similar to Jungle Book which just came out. I guess the boy raised by animals in a jungle theme is what they are referring to because there are no other real similarities. For a generation who possesses little to no critical thinking skills, I guess that’s enough for them to come to their snap judgement and decide they don’t or others won’t want to see this film.

  • Once again I agree with all you’ve said. I also wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your responses to the knuckleheads who keep dissing LOT on IMDb. I was honored you used me as an example by pointing out how I’m showing the trailer to my 7 and 8the grade students and they seem to enjoy it. Period peace or not. Anyway, I so hope that LOT does well so I can rub their faces in their lack of knowledge. I know, I can be a little petty.

    I also wanted to agree with another statement you made that the main demographic for LOT is 18-39. That’s why I’m not afraid of BFG. That’s the young family crowd that LOT doesn’t really need. If WB does their job and it’s looking pretty good so far (fingers crossed) it just looks like the perfect date night movie. As a guy who takes his wife to the movies on a regular basis a perfect date night movie doesn’t happen very often. Plus I’m really counting on stellar reviews. If the RottenTomatoes score is in the high 80-90’s it’s definitely a hit imo.

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