I can’t believe they’re doing this. It’s just sad.
A few months ago I wrote a glowing review of the Tom Cruise summer tentpole film Edge of Tomorrow. Sadly, despite my best efforts, that film went on to bomb at the box office. In its theatrical run the film made about $100 million off a $178 million budget. Yes, this is indeed bomb-ish.
What can ya do? Really, I can understand why it bombed, despite its being a fun, well-made action flick. I didn’t think it looked that good in the trailers. Plot-wise, the film looked like it was going to be a sci-fi version of Bill Murray’s loved 1986 film Groundhog Day. Been there, done that, was my general feeling. I would have never bothered to see EOT in the theaters at all, but I was treated to complimentary tickets and had nothing better to do. Yes, I left the theatre that day pleasantly surprised, but you can’t enjoy a movie unless you get your butt to the theatre in the first place. Apparently not many folks did for this flick.
Fast forward a few months to present day, when Warner Brother—the studio behind the film—is prepping the movie for dvd and Blu ray release. Understandably, WB is hoping to recap some of their money with sales from the home release. Plenty of blockbuster summer flicks make most of their money after the initial theatrical run anyway, so WB isn’t necessarily expecting Edge of Tomorrow to turn water into wine here. All it would need to do to make up for its own $78 million deficit is to have reasonably OK dvd sales.
According to Kagan Media Research, summer blockbuster Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, eventually made $498 million in DVD revenue, compared to its $314 million haul at the box office. Briefly, I skimmed Kagan’s numbers for other big tent-pole movies, and the numbers seemed to suggest that yes, home video sales are where the real money’s at, perhaps owing to Hollywood’s strategy of releasing films on DVD soon enough after those films’ theatrical run that they could benefit from the original wave a marketing.
So it’s not unreasonable to think that Edge of Tomorrow could at least break even in its afterlife as a DVD/Bluray. It’s probably even likely. And Warner Brothers doesn’t even need to do anything special—just freakin ship the thing to Best Buy.
But Warner Brothers has, indeed, decided to do something special. They decided to get greedy, and I think it’ll cost them this time. What they’re going to do it completely rebrand the movie. Change its very name, as if it’s a blog post that failed to get enough hits. You see, WB really thought it had had a hit on its hands with Edge of Tomorrow. Its eventually bombing must have really flabbergasted them. Some real shoulder-shrugging must have been going on.
Ultimately, the WB execs in charge clearly decided that the moviegoing public had simply been misinformed. Apparently, the title “Edge of Tomorrow” doesn’t adequately suggest the potential of the film’s home run premise. It doesn’t tease the film’s time-travel conceit blatantly enough. Therefore, for the DVD release, why not go with a brand spanking new title? Let’s rock the boat!
I’m telling ya, these WB execs must have really been impressed with the whole Groundhog Day meets Matrix premise. It, like, blew their minds.
This is completely asinine, of course. People didn’t see this movie probably because of the Groundhog Day time traveling conceit. Like me, people saw the trailers and thought “Aww, that’s just like Groundhog Day. Unoriginal Hollywood hacks! Boo!” People didn’t not see this film because they didn’t get the whole live/die/repeat plot device. Likewise, people didn’t not see this film because the name “Edge of Tomorrow” failed to tease said plot device. Because by that logic, nobody should have turned up to see Groundhog Day itself, because it wasn’t, after all, a serious film about the origin and commercial significance of that particular holiday.
But the folks over at Warner Brothers have decided to go all in. If they’re gonna lose, they’re gonna lose big.
And what is Edge of Tomorrow’s new name? What is this magic new name that’s going to turn this film into an unlikely mega DVD hit?
The new name is “Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow” I’m not kidding. Basically, Warner Brothers’s master plan to redeem Edge of Tomorrow is to make it sound like it’s its the crappy direct-to-DVD sequel to itself, maybe starring Ian Ziering or somebody.
I could be wrong, but here’s what I think’s probably gonna happen. John Doe walks into best buy curious about that Edge of Tomorrow film he’d missed in the movies. John Doe can’t find Edge of Tomorrow, but he finds Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. John Doe shrugs his shoulders and says, “Well hell, I don’t want to see the crappy direct-to-DVD sequel before I even saw the original! I’m not buying this junk! Where’s Sharknado?”
By doing this, Warner Brothers is negating the very trend responsible for most movies’ successful DVD afterlife: the piggy-backing off the film’s original theatrical marketing. Warner Brothers is essentially saying, “People wouldn’t watch the movie when we paid $70 million advertising it as “Edge of Tomorrow,” but they’ll definitely flock to Best Buy in droves now that much of that initial advertising momentum has faded off and, either way, our film doesn’t even have the same name anymore. Hey, who’s got the coke?
When nobody reads one of my blog posts because my headline sucked, I eventually go back and change the title. After all, why not? I have absolutely nothing to lose. Poor Edge of Tomorrow, though. It’s like the physically talented who gets picked last in gym class, and then sprains his ankle before he can even participate at all.
Read my original review of Edge of Tomorrow
Read more about WB’s bizarre, unprecedented rebranding of Edge of Tomorrow here.