Exciting times for BMT this week. We have our last genre film of the Now a Major Motion Picture cycle for SciFi/Fantasy and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check off 2016 film as the Razzies fast approach. That’s right, we’re watching The 5th Wave! It’s based on the first book of a YA trilogy, but I probably won’t read all of them (it’s not even certain whether they will even film the franchise). But that’s not the only exciting thing about the film. It also stands as the introduction to the next great BMT game! We call it Chris Klein’s Number Line and it’s where Patrick and I try to collect films with numbers in the the title (kind of like how the mapl.de.map was a way for us to collect states). From the beginning of the year we had eyed The 5th Wave for the (surprisingly rare) 5 spot on the line and it fortunately turned out to be a terrible film. Phew. I’ll work on a graphic to accompany the game soon. For now, it’ll just be theoretical. Let’s go!
The 5th Wave (2016) – BMeTric: 55.3
(Okay … this plot is actually really cool. The regression to the mean not only goes backwards, but this is actually a prime example of it defying that usual trend, because it drops a lot lower than you’d expect given just regression to the mean. I can, with confidence, say that this is an example of fans of the book rating the movie early and then as more and more people who just watched the movie on a whim go and see the film the rating plummets. Interesting that it doesn’t have much of an affect on the BMeTric trajectory. That 30-50+ double plateau is very very normal. I think three films have it this year: The 5th Wave, Zoolander 2, and The Forest all have roughly the same trajectory.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – Important elements are sketched-in and undeveloped in the film. We’re left with Cassie and Evan throwing longing looks at one another, confusing monologues where people figure out what the “5th wave” is, and reunion scenes that have no punch. The closing narration is milquetoast cliche, something the Cassie in the book, with her raw tenderized heart, would never have tolerated.
(Uh… did you say “confusing monologues?” Yes, please. No need to say more. I’m also pretty sure Milquetoast Cliche and Raw Tenderized Heart are emo bands from the early 2000s. [Patrick Note: Also if you read this review it is by a person who clearly not only read but liked the series of books the movie is based on, and their feelings about the book clearly color their attitude towards the movie. It is interesting. A little peak into the alternative universe where Jamie is a movie critic. Slammed?])
(They made it look exciting enough. However, having just finished the book I can tell you that it looks like a pretty straight adaptation, which [spoiler alert] is not a good sign for how exciting it actually will be.)
Directors – J Blakeson – (Known For: The Disappearance of Alice Creed; BMT: The 5th Wave; Notes: Interesting story here. Alice Creed was a microbudget thriller film that Blakeson made in order to gain interest from studios to direct. He certainly got interest, having been tapped for The Imitation Game and several other major films. All fell through, though, and he ended up taking on The 5th Wave. Not the studio debut he hoped for probably.)
Writers – Susannah Grant (screenplay) – (Known For: Erin Brockovich; Charlotte’s Web; EverAfter; Pocahontas; In Her Shoes; The Soloist; BMT: The 5th Wave; 28 Days; Catch and Release; Notes: Wow, this is way outside her norm. Not really anything that would sugest Sci Fi in her previous filmography. Although, the book is pretty heavy on the emotional and romantic side of an alien invasion (seriously). So it oddly fits.)
Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; Batman Forever; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; The 5th Wave; Practical Magic; A New York Winter’s Tale; Insurgent; The Da Vinci Code; Notes: One of the most successful screenwriters and script doctors in Hollywood. Won Screenplay Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1998 for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill)
Jeff Pinkner (screenplay) – (Known For: The Amazing Spider-Man 2; BMT: The 5th Wave; Notes: Big time television writer (Lost, Alias, Fringe), before breaking into film with Spider-Man. Now on tap for The Dark Tower, Jumanji, and a bunch of other garbage.)
Rick Yancey (novel) – (BMT: The 5th Wave; Notes: Writer of three YA series (the Alfred Kropp series, the Monstrumologist series, and the 5th Wave) and one adult detective series… seems to like making series.)
Actors – Chloë Grace Moretz – (Known For: Bad Neighbours 2; The Equalizer; Kick-Ass; 500 Days of Summer; Carrie; Hugo; Let Me In; Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Say When; Bolt; Clouds of Sils Maria; Muppets Most Wanted; Kaguyahime no monogatari; The Poker House; Wicked Little Things; Heart of the Beholder; BMT: Movie 43; Big Momma’s House 2; The 5th Wave; The Eye; Room 6; Hick; Texas Killing Fields; The Amityville Horror; Dark Shadows; Not Forgotten; Dark Places; Kick-Ass 2; Notes: She’s in Big Momma’s House 2?! Yes, please. She is apparently now dating Beckham’s son.)
Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $34,912,982 (Worldwide: $109,902,567)
(Pretty small budget. Probably why they chose the director, since they knew he could make a big film on budget. Did have a rough time in the US box office, but overall seems to have a profit. Wonder if it will get the sequel.)
#32 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre
(We’ve seen this plot before for The Day the Earth Stood Still. New observations: Looks to me like there was a slow increase starting in 2000 for this genre and over the years a pretty consistent return per theater (slowly trickling down over the years). It exploded in the 2010s, probably because of the abundance of cheap CGI now available. And now is going down to a more stable level, possibly because there doesn’t seem to be a huge “tentpole” market for something as niche as sci fi. It feel weird calling Sci Fi niche, but unlike comic book films it doesn’t seem like they could yet sustain a big multipart franchise. Like fantasy the fanbases tend to be small and passionate. A few weeks ago I speculated that Independence Day 2 might pull the genre a bit more into the mainstream, but that I think is wrong.)
#33 for the Sci-Fi – Based on Book genre
(This is obviously having a moment almost entirely fueled by YA novels: Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, The Host, this. Fifth wave sits right above BMT “it’s not that bad” classic Dreamcatcher. The theater return looks stable, which means there should be plenty more to see in the future. Although with Divergent diverting into a tv movie finale this might signal a realization that the trend is dying. Smaller budget productions like this one (which has half the budget of a Hunger Games or Divergent movie at most) will probably be the trend).
#40 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre
(It is kind of amazing right? It is as if YA novels just weren’t thought of before 2000. Maybe because kids were perceived as not having disposable money to spend? Or perhaps the literature genre itself was rather small previously? Regardless it is basically slowly developed into a fairly powerful box office draw over the past 15 years it would seem. Something like $1.2 billion if you estimate from the chart over a 24 month span at this point. It looks to be regressing a bit (it feels that way too), which makes sense. They overshot a bit, but are coming back to earth. Pretty standard.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (20/125): With unimpressive effects and plot points seemingly pieced together from previous dystopian YA sci-fi films, The 5th Wave ends up feeling like more of a limp, derivative wriggle.
(I’m not sure I understand the “limp, derivative wiggle” joke at the end. Pretty lame attempt by RT for a clever consensus. I also can never truly buy the “unimpressive effects” critique after seeing A Sound of Thunder. Nothing will ever compare.)
(I actually kind of like the color scene (blue/orange) but the tilt is unnecessary. Fairly innocuous otherwise.)
Tagline(s) – Can we survive the 5th wave? (F)
(Gross gross gross. It’s like they purposefully made a tagline to hurt me. Can I survive The 5th Wave? Probably not judging from this tagline. Gross.)
Keyword(s) – based on young adult novel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.5 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 71.5 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 71.4 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 55.3 The 5th Wave (2016); 49.7 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012); 42.1 Beastly (2011); 39.7 Vampire Academy (2014); 33.2 Allegiant (2016); 32.7 The Host (2013); 29.6 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013);
(Totally forgot about The Mortal Instruments. That would have been a great one for this entry. Alas, have to feed the 2016 Razzie beast.)
Notes – During filming in Macon, GA, a bus explosion damaged several businesses along Cotton Avenue. (Word)
Tye Sheridan, Nick Robinson and Mitchell Hope auditioned for the role of Ben Parish. (I like Tye Sheridan as an actor, but that would have been a hilarious miscasting.)
The book is set in Dayton, Ohio. (And the movie? I’m on pins and needles in anticipation of finding out. I’m gonna guess it’s now Georgia.)
Originally, the film had a sex scene between Cassie and Evan, but the scene didn’t make it to the final cut. However, the scene is included as part of ‘deleted scenes’ on the DVD. (Ha, wot? That was not in the book, which makes it an odd addition to the script.)