By Thomas Cowley
Metallica's recent excursion into the world of cinematic entertainment with “Metallica: Through The Never” has met with a bit of a set back. Well that might be a bit misleading on my part because they suffered a set back in the same way that the Titanic suffered a bit of a leak.
Since the film/concerts initial debut on September 27th, the event has only made 2.7 million of its 18 million dollar budget and dropped in weekend gross by 56%. Now I'm not the best at math but even I can tell that number is dangerously low, and it is very unlikely that it will improve.
The fact is that most movies make the bulk of their money back on opening weekend, hence the hard push to fill as many seats those few days. This is done in part because new movies release every week and therefore statistics say there is an inherent loss in ticket sales for older films. But the primary reason is that movies live or die based on word of mouth. Whether it comes from a revered critic, a trusted friend, or that chatty clerk at the grocery store, most people make a judgement call on movies they are on the fence about via the word of others.
As a result, if a movie is good, it only has to wait for more people to show up to help boost sales (a la “Black Swan”). Conversely however, if a movie is a steaming pile of horse excrement, then they have to get as many people in the theater before word of mouth can spread crying out “Beware the poo!” such as “After Earth” (though that may not have been mush of surprise).
Part of the problem with “Metallica: Through the Never” is that it is less a movie and more a live concert. Part of the problem is that “Gravity” has received good word of mouth and is now becoming the next big IMAX experience, a hook that M:TTN was hoping to capitalize on.
This does not seem to concern the band however. When asked if the movie was worth the potential financial loss, drummer Lars Ulrich said to The Quietus, “That remains to be seen. Ask me when I come back and talk about the new record two years from now. I have no idea.”.
Ulrich was confident that even if the movie did not make its money back, the band would not suffer greatly. “This is another chapter in Metallica's existence, and I'm sure that if we don't make all the money back, then, I don't know, [we will in] t-shirt sales seven years down the line.”, which is most likely true.
Photo courtesy of www.imdb.com