Monthly Movie Roundup — August 2014

2014-08

by Ken B.

Welcome to Monthly Movie Roundup, a look at the month in movies both in general and for this site. Here’s the post for August 2014.

MOVIE NEWS

According to Box Office Mojo, here are the top five grossing movies in the US for this month (as of 8/31):

# Title Domestic Monthly Gross Opened
1 Guardians of the Galaxy $274.6M 8/1
2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $162.4M 8/8
3 Lucy $56.5M 7/25
4 Let’s Be Cops $51.1M 8/13
5 Into the Storm $40.0M 8/8

Not particularly shocking, as Guardians of the Galaxy has continued to top daily and weekly charts. It’s worth noting that the drop between #1 and #2 is 59% and the drop between #2 and #3 is a further 35%. Bottom line? Guardians dominated this month – nothing else came close to dethroning it. You’ll also notice that Guardians of the Galaxy opened to very positive reviews across the board for its entertainment value and wit. This easily disproves two often cited arguments – that critics have an aversion to blockbusters sight unseen, and big-budget summer action films have to be stupid to be successful. But of course, I guarantee these claims will spring up on fanboy forums again upon the release of the next Michael Bay event (or possibly sooner).

In terms of general news, August has been a pretty rough month – two of the biggest celebrity deaths this month were Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams. I had considered writing a blog post about Williams, but I never did get around to it – what others had written with much more clarity and speed was more that sufficient. Additionally, you can dig up a few reviews of films Williams starred in here, but I was a bit shocked to discover that I’ve never reviewed anything starring Bacall on the site. I’ll have to look into that.

AROUND THE SITE

First off, I thought I would recount the best and worst films I’ve reviewed this month.

THE BEST – SPIRITED AWAY

Spirited Away

Incredible. Phenomenal. Stunning. Unforgettable. Brilliant. These are words that could be aptly used in describing Spirited Away, which is fully captivating for every second of its two hour runtime. It’s an animated film that appeals to more people than just little kids (it really isn’t even for the youngest, as they’ll likely be frightened by the more intense sequences in the film), and fully realizes the potential of animation – creating worlds that would be thoroughly inconceivable in a live-action setting.

THE WORST – DIVERGENT

Divergent

Ugh.

Now don’t get me wrong, while it is entirely within the realm of possibility that the quality of these films could dramatically improve in the future, the inaugural entry in the franchise did little to convince me of this. With bad pacing, writing, and camera work, it almost seemed like the poorer qualities of the film were deliberately set out to sabotage the ones that worked.


 

Now, I’ll move onto some observations on the site itself (easily bored readers may not find much of interest here).

For the entire month, web traffic has been at its highest since March, and it’s been growing steadily in the space between. The site appears to be on an upward trend at the moment, and that’s always good. When it comes to more recent numbers, they become less desirable. Labor Day weekend is both a holiday weekend and traditionally one of the slowest weeks for movies in general, as the end of the summer and beginning of the school year aren’t particularly compelling times of the year to go to a theater or lazily browse the web. Therefore, a slump in readership hasn’t proved particularly surprising.

The strongest day this month was August 11, seemingly inexplicably so. Looking at the traffic logs for that day, I can’t deduce a reason that activity to the site jumped that high. The second highest was August 5, but I know exactly why the numbers were so good that day – around 40 – 45% of the site’s unique visitors went to my review of Get on Up, which was published that evening. It seems like the film never did get that much exposure, which is a shame, since as many people as possible should be exposed to the strength of Chadwick Boseman’s performance as James Brown.

Finally, I want to wrap up this set of admittedly snooze-inducing notes to report that engagement to Amazon links has been down from this point last month. If you ever feel compelled to buy a DVD or Blu-ray of a film we’ve reviewed, know that clicking through to Amazon from here will send a percentage of the purchase (if you do decide to make one) back to the site. You don’t even have to buy that specific item – anything you buy from Amazon, as long as you do so from the same tab in your browser will have a similar effect.

So, this concludes the first Monthly Movie Roundup. Make sure to leave feedback on if you liked it, and how it could be improved in the future.

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