The summer 2010 season is already being labeled a massive failure. Iron Man 2 and Shrek Forever After have been the biggest hits, but they didn’t exactly thrill their bases. Sex and the City 2 may have been the low point of that franchise, critically and commercially. Robin Hood and Prince of Persia didn’t bring the action crowd in, while comedies like Get Him To The Greek, Killers, Marmaduke and MacGruber opened with mixed results and reviews, or worse.
Pretty much every single summer 2010 movie has been met with lousy reviews, poorer than expected box office, or both. With this long string of disappointing movies, fans are desperate for a summer movie that’s actually good and profitable. There should be a lot of time left to find one, but as it stands, there aren’t many promising options left. In fact, the hopes to salvage the summer 2010 movie season may ride on two films alone.
Days from now, the toys will finally be back in town, to the relief of kids and adults. Toy Story 3 will open on June 18, and if any movie is expected to actually deliver this summer, it’s this one. Pixar, of course, has never failed audiences, and neither have the toys that started their empire.
Normally, the third film in a franchise is supposed to be when luck runs out. What’s more, after 10 consecutive hits, Pixar is bound to make one mediocre film sooner or later. If even Pixar, Woody and Buzz can’t make it work, then that’s the biggest sign for summer 2010 being a total waste. However, early raves for an unfinished cut at the ShoWest Festival in March are a good sign.
The popular view is that after Toy Story 3 airs, summer 2010 will be disappointing again until July 16. Pixar has the longest winning streak in Hollywood, but the only one that can come close to their record is Christopher Nolan. After The Dark Knight, Nolan was put on an even higher pedestal, as his first five films have either been critical hits, commercial hits, or both. But Nolan hasn’t had a big commercial hit outside the Batman movies, although Inception could change that and keep the critics on his side.
Inception was a movie that Dark Knight fans wanted Nolan to finish quick, so he could get to Batman 3. But after the first trailers came out, anticipation for Inception has reached near-Dark Knight levels. With the track record of Nolan and Leonardo DiCaprio, the impressive names in the supporting cast, and the mind-bending images in the trailers, almost no one thinks Inception will fail.
Both Toy Story 3 and Inception are made by people with perfect track records. Both movies have also released just enough footage to suggest they will stay perfect. And although both Toy Story 3 and Inception have a high bar to clear, followers are certain that Pixar and Nolan have topped themselves again. If they have, then that might be enough to erase the bombs and disappointments of summer 2010.
No matter how bad most of the summer is, all it needs is one or two popular hits to overshadow the failures. If critics happen to embrace those hits, then it works even better. The last few summers have had a fair share of those films, but they may be on short supply this time.
As such, the burden on Toy Story 3 and Inception to fill the good summer movie quota is even greater. They already have to live up to Pixar and Nolan’s earlier movies, which is hard enough without carrying an entire movie season on their backs.
Of course, Toy Story 3 is more likely to be a smash hit than Inception, for obvious reasons. Families all over the world will flock to see Woody, Buzz and friends again, but Inception doesn’t have that advantage. Inception is a brand new commodity, as it looks to be twisty, mind-bending, and perhaps not for everyone. With no Batman or Heath Ledger to elevate Nolan’s lofty themes, will Inception have too much style and no substance? Even if it’s merely good, anything short of past Nolan classics like Memento and The Dark Knight could be declared another summer letdown.
In past summers, Toy Story 3 and Inception wouldn’t have had to go it alone. Even if they are the first real failures for Pixar and Nolan, the disappointment would have been balanced out by other success stories. But for summer 2010, it may be harder to find those stories.
If Toy Story 3 and Inception let everyone down after all, it will severely frustrate quality-starved audiences, as well as Pixar and Nolan’s worshippers. What’s more, it will be the death blow to the already battered reputation of summer 2010. Yet if they can continue Hollywood’s greatest winning streaks, then the bombs and disappointments of this season will finally have something to hide behind.
Cinemablend- “ShoWest: Toy Story 3 Is A Guaranteed New Hit For Pixar”
Rope of Silicon- “Does Inception Face Unfair Expectations?”