It is perhaps not surprising that a good chunk of Hollywood hates Looper, and that the people who cover Hollywood believe Looper is a bomb, or at least “underperforming”. The narrative is that it’s becoming yet another casualty of Internet hype and audiences being too dumb to appreciate its genius.
Unfortunately, this ignores a pretty important reality: Uh, Looper is actually doing incredibly well.
To understand why, you first have to understand that the words “time travel movie with a complicated plot directed by an indie darling nobody’s heard of” does not exactly give Hollywood a raging money-boner. Throw in an R-rating and a Hollywood bigwig won’t even take the time to blow smoke from his cigar in your face before having you thrown out.
But Looper has persisted. First it was supposed to tank because it was an R-rated movie up against a kiddie flick, Hotel Transylvania. That match-up ended with Looper in second, grossing $21 million.
And now the word is in this weekend. Liam Neeson was supposed to punch this movie’s lights out with Taken 2, and that movie was indeed #1 at the box office.
Looper lost less than fifty percent of its gross, 41%, actually, for a $12 million total. If this sounds bad, it’s not. Most movies week over week lose about 50% of their gross. Less than that and a movie has a potential to sit in theaters for quite a while.
More to the point, it cost $30 million, and for a movie to be profitable in theaters (i.e. a hit) it needs to collect twice its budget. Looper stands at about $40 million right now: Making that extra $20 million in the U.S. alone will be fairly easy.
In short, Looper is not just a great science fiction movie. It’s a great science fiction movie that will actually make money, and possibly push the mindless greed of Hollywood into making another science fiction movie actually worth seeing.
Well, probably they’ll just remake The Terminator, but we can dream.