Sunday 17 December 2017

Top 7 review-proof movies

Megan Fox and Shia LaBoeuf in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Megan Fox and Shia LaBoeuf in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

As Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie rakes in a record breaking €1.02m at the Irish box office on opening weekend, despite being panned by critics, we check out the top 7 review-proof films and franchises.

Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie (2014)

Rotten Tomatoes: Just three scathing reviews so far

Box Office: Took a record breaking €1.02m at the Irish box office on opening weekend.

Sample review: "This isn't funny. It isn't even unfunny. It's something close to anti-funny." - Robbie Collins, The Telegraph

Since its debut on RTE in Jaunary 2011, the Mrs Brown’s Boys TV series has proven to be the epitome of TV Marmite.

The chasm in opinion between viewers and reviewers is something of a black hole with viewing figures consistently impressive despite negative reviews.

The first series garnered an average of 750,000 viewers per episode on RTE and the Christmas special was the most-watched TV show in Ireland in 2011. 

Meanwhile, in the UK, the show steadily built a loyal audience via the BBC with the 2012 Christmas special drawing almost 12 million viewers.

So, with such a loyal, ever-expanding fanbase tuning in religiously every week, a big screen adaptation was a no-brainer. 

The few reviews that have surfaced have been overwhelmingly negative but fans are impervious - Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie has taken a record breaking €1.02m at the Irish box office on its opening weekend, representing almost 20% of the UK and Irish box office total.


The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%

Worldwide gross: $709.8

Sample review: "I can't comment on the acting because I didn't catch Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner doing any. They basically primp and pose through the same humdrum motions they did before." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

The first instalment in the Twilight series (based on the best-selling  young adult novels of Stephanie Meyer) grossed a whopping $392 million worldwide, ensuring the fate of the franchise.

Reviews were mixed but the fan base was poised to lap it up and turned up in droves.  By the time the first sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon was released, anticipation was at fever pitch.

The fact it was a Christmas turkey, reaching an abysmal 28% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, didn’t matter.  Another three films followed, with the worldwide gross for the franchise topping and whopping $3.3 billion.


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Rotten Tomatoes: 19%

Worldwide gross: $836.3

Sample review: "Much of the movie is computer-generated hash, weightless even with nonstop BOOMS and METAL GROANS and THUDS." - David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Transformers, Michael Bay’s big screen adaptation of the 80s animated series, met with a lukewarm response from critics although most reluctantly conceded it had enough heart behind its big budget effects (and Megan Fox’s ‘acting’) to warrant a thumbs up. 

The second instalment, however, was a spectacular mess – too long, too loud, and devoid of coherency in either tone or plot.   

Reviews for Revenge of the Fallen didn’t hold back, but everyone and their mothers went to see it anyway.  With a worldwide box office gross of $836 million it’s the 38th highest grossing film of all time.  Dark of the Moon followed, with slightly better reviews and made a cool $1.2 billion.


Shrek the Third (2007) 

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%

Worldwide gross: $799 million

Sample review: "This is the most visually impressive Shrek yet. It's also the least inspired." - Richard Ropeper, Ebert & Roeper

The first two Shrek movies were lauded for their characters, wit, and heart.  Shrek the Third, however, was branded lazy by critics who believed it was a cynical attempt to cash in on DreamWorks resident cash cow. 

Whilst it didn’t quite reach the dizzying box office heights of Shrek 2 (which earned $919.8 worldwide) it came close at a still fairly dizzying $799 million. 


2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%

Worldwide gross: $236 million

Sample review: "It's a terrible movie, stuck in plot idiocies and big, noisy set pieces like a tire mired in mud." - Charles Taylor,

The Fast & Furious franchise, starring the late Paul Walker and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, has never needed positive reviews given its heady mix of hot cars, hot women, and law-breaking protagnoists aimed squarely at a lucrative market populated by petrol heads and 12-year-old boys. 

The first outing garnered lukewarm reviews but still grossed more than $200 million worldwide.  The second film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, was universally panned (reaching just 36% on Rotten Tomatoes) but earned $36 million more. 

The third instalment was a resounding flop both critically and financially given it lacked key stars Walker and Johnson, but the fourth film, Fast & Furious was back on track with $363 million worldwide gross despite scathing reviews (and a sorry 27% on RT). 

The more horrendous the reviews, the larger the audience.  The fifth and sixth instalments, however, received rave reviews and increased profits (Fast & Furious 6 grossed $788 worldwide).  The audience, it seems, are immune to negativity from critics but will actively respond to positive reviews.


Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%

Worldwide box office: $111 million

Sample review: "Evolution's action sequences are as horribly bungled as its plot, resulting in a string of repetitive confrontations that feel toothless even by the last movie's standards." - James Dyer, Empire

Maybe it was the promise of Kate Beckinsale kicking ass in head-to-toe black skintight PVC, but the sequel to Underworld made $10 million more than the first despite even more vicious reviews (Underworld was panned, garnering just 31% on RT).


The SAW franchise

Rotten Tomatoes:  12% - 36%

Worldwide gross: $873 for 7 movies

Sample review (for Saw V): “Oh, Jigsaw. Here we go again. You kill. I doze off. Someone at the studio goes 'ka-ching!'” – Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

Lionsgate stopped screening Saw to film critics prior to release because reviews were so appalling.  It mattered not, however, because the fans returned in equal numbers every year from 2004-2010 to see the latest Saw instalment. 


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