Could Richard Armitage have fixed the 2017 “Summer from Hell” box office slump?

Reports deafen us: Summer 2017 busted the U.S. box office the worst of any summer in twenty years (although the situation may be less drastic than the headlines suggest). Faced with this summer’s offerings, moviegoers went practically anywhere else they could than to the cinema.

Judging by my previous experiences, I’d have gone to the movies between eight and thirteen times more often than I did if Armitage had been on view in even one film. Hence my question — given that we know what an attraction Richard Armitage is, could any of these disastrous films have been saved if Armitage had been included in them? Below, I look at some of the worst financial and critical flops of Summer 2017 and assess whether Armitage’s perception could have made a difference.

Warning: this is a very unscientific and uninformed analysis, as I haven’t actually seen any of these films. But I figure that doesn’t disqualify me in this case, since practically no one else did, either.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Overview: revisionist, “gonzo” take on the Arthur legend, directed by Guy Ritchie, first of planned six-film franchise. Predicted loss: $150M.

Charlie Hunnam in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Do they only have one color palette for medieval movies these days? This looks a lot like Pilgrimage.

Armitage’s agent says: “We turned it down. Richard’s already been in both Robin Hood and The Hobbit.”

Armitage said (rumored): “This film didn’t have any Merlin. That’s the only character in Arthurian legend that I want to play.”

Servetus’ verdict: “Richard Armitage was already in one gloomy medieval film this summer that no one saw. But if he could have used his “constant bombardment of the writers” technique to get the Merlin character added, it might have helped the film overall.”

The Mummy

Overview: A slightly clueless American soldier (Tom Cruise) stumbles upon an ancient tomb with an evil mummy, and unleashes horror upon the world, or at least England. This may be the most convoluted plot ever. Estimated to lose $95M, even before Cruise is paid.

Fan response: “Richard Armitage or Tom Cruise? There’s a no-brainer.”

Armitage said (rumored): “I’d have played the Mummy, but it was a chick role.”

Armitage’s agent: “Even Richard’s beautiful blue eyes against the white of the mummy wrappings couldn’t have saved this one. My client doesn’t work for nothing, you know.”

Servetus says: “Richard Armitage would have fixed everything wrong with this film, because Obscura said so. Oh, wait, wrong Mummy. It might have worked if there was a long scene where someone unwrapped Armitage erotically. Although the missing entrails would have been a huge turnoff.”

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Overview: Smurfette inadvertently discovers a lost village of Smurfs, several of whom are female (!). In a conflict with Gargamel, she and Papa Smurf are able to restore Smurf unity, leading the new Smurfs back to Smurf Village. This one didn’t lose money, but the critics didn’t care for it.

Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) and Smurfwillow (Julia Roberts) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE.

Fan response: “Not sure we want to see Armitage in another film with a young woman who can’t act.”

Armitage’s agent says: “They only offered Papa Smurf, I guess because of my client’s beard. Besides the fact that it required full-body blue pancake makeup, red pants are not in Richard’s color palette.”

Armitage said (rumored): “My agent seemed confused about it being an animation. But I’ve already been in a film where I lead a bunch of short men who live almost entirely without females back to their ancestral homeland.”

Industry rumors: Armitage was in serious talks for the role, but he didn’t sign because his pressure on the writers to build a backstory for Papa Smurf as a high-dosage opioid addict who medicated the other Smurfs to keep them artificially happy alienated the director.

Servetus says: “While I love Armitage’s voice, it’s hard for anyone to compete with the appeal of Mandy Patinkin.”

CHiPs

1970s California Highway Patrol officers Jon and Ponch are resurrected to investigate corruption in the Los Angeles police department. A financial and critical failure with only a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Dax Shepard and Michael Peña as Ponch and Jon in CHiPs (2017). Somehow the casting director missed that the original actors, Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada, were both extra-cute.

Fans outside the US and UK: “Who’s Ponch?”

Armitage’s agent says: “My client had never heard of ‘Ponch’.”

Armitage said (rumored): “Who’s Ponch?”

Servetus says: “Even the original actors were unenthused about a feature film version of CHiPs. Apart from his polished Californian accent, it doesn’t seem that Armitage could have brought anything to the role or improved the film’s box office for an intellectual property that had practically no remaining audience. He wasn’t really Latino enough to play Ponch and the directors thought his hair was too curly and not fluffy enough to play Jon.”

Baywatch

Elite lifeguard Mitch (Dwayne Johnson), aided by Matt (Zac Efron) struggles to save lives and free the beach from the influence of a drug runner who seeks to privatize it.

Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron in Baywatch.

Fan response outside of Germany: “Richard Armitage in swimming trunks and wet suits? Yes, please! In any role! Who is that short-ass guy next to The Rock, anyway?”

Armitage’s agent says: “My client turned it down. Apart from his own opinion that he’s ‘flabby,’ it was asking of a man who’s afraid of water to make a movie about water rescues.”

Armitaged said (rumored): “Language! I want my scripts to be watchable for mums and little ears.”

Servetus says: “Given the prevalence of dick jokes, you’d have thought this might have been a no-brainer for Armitage. Also, he might have gotten a chance to play a wannabe rocker in Mitch’s fantasies, something we’ve heard he’s been interested in. However, he knew the German fans would never forgive him.”

The Emoji Movie

An emoji named Gene rushes to avoid deletion after wrecking the text center by making an unclear expression. The film did okay financially (perhaps because it was review embargoed on its opening weekend), but it got an 8% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the worst averages ever.

Fan response: “We love it when Richard uses social media!”

Armitage’s agent says: “I advised my client against this one. I feared he would be upstaged by Patrick Stewart playing a living electronic turd.”

Armitage said (rumored): “I’m very good at being confusing and especially at any and all deletions!”

Servetus, “Unfortunately, since Gene was not deleted but saved himself, I doubt this film would have made the best use of Armitage’s talents with his thumbs. However, this could potentially have been THE film for every fan who says she would listen to him read the telephone book, as the script sounds similarly exciting.”

~ by Servetus on September 11, 2017.

52 Responses to “Could Richard Armitage have fixed the 2017 “Summer from Hell” box office slump?”

  1. LOL. It’s brilliant, Servetus! thanks a lot!

  2. Wonderful! That’s a good start to the day!

  3. Love it! Creative as always 👍🏻 Still can’t forget your “cereal killer” 😊

  4. I’m in my office and laughing really hard. The others think I’m mad; “this is a serious workplace”…yeah, right :-):-):-)

  5. Omg this is the perfect antidote to the overload of testosterone self-importance I am just experiencing. Mind you, I am so out of the loop, I am missing the reference to German fans and swimming trunks. However, Bayqatch would definitely have bombed in Germany. We only watch Baywatch when the Hoff is in it…

  6. Richard could have incorporated his ‘party trick’ into any of those last three movies (I didn’t see any of them but I did suffer through the trailers)

  7. So funny! What a load of stinkers this summer! I for one am really pleased that Richard Armitage was not in any of them!

    • When you look at this summer you start to believe his claim that he doesn’t get offered that much of interest.

      • But just think… he wanted Pennywise. “It” and other horror films are supposed to be doing really well right now. (Glad he didn’t get that one though, even though I may see it with my younger son.)

        • Yeah — just as I was writing this, news came in that IT had a $117M opening weekend, breaking a number of records for horror films, Stephen King films, etc. Not planning to watch it either. Also, there was a lot of chatter over the weekend — apparently the book included an underage sex orgy scene that the film left out. King is annoyed for some reason that people find the notion of an underage sex orgy objectionable. I guess I book all of that stuff under “things I don’t understand and am not especially curious about.” I read a few of his books as a teen and decided to opt out.

          • I read the book so long ago that I don’t remember any details. But my son really wants to go see it (unless he ditches me for his friends!). I stopped reading his books too – too gross and too twisted. Although, I read “11/22/63” and thought it was really good, without any of that stuff. It’s a novel about going back in time and trying to prevent the Kennedy assassination and how small changes impact the timeline. Really well done.

            • Historians have this thing about historical counterfactuals, and amateur writing about the Kennedy Assassination is one of our pet peeves (something like 83 percent of Americans now believe a conspiracy theory about it rather than the version published after the government explanation) … the main thing I remember of his at this point are Carrie and The Shining. I don’t think I even looked at anything after that. However, occasionally he publishes something about the art of writing that I find interesting. I admire his self-discipline and output!

              • I didn’t know that. For me, I just enjoy stories that play with time. He is certainly an extremely prolific writer.

                • I’m enjoy some fantasies that play with time. But Americans have a real difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, especially these days.

                  What impresses me about King, even though I don’t read him, is that the books are apparently consistently good, i.e., he writes a lot but it’s not schlock. I remember that much about the books I read which are now forty years old, that they were effectively written, well structured, emotionally insightful, etc. Most people who are putting out as much as he does are not putting it out at a very high quality. He reminds me a bit of Robert Parker in that regard. Several novels a year and all excellent.

                  • Apparently I live under a rock, because I had never heard of Robert Parker! But yes, King’s writing is pretty consistently good.

                    • I liked the Spenser series a lot. (Are there audiobooks, LOL?) Robert Urich and Avery Brooks were in the TV series. Parker died a few years ago so I think what’s coming out now is ghost-written.

                    • Ahh. I do recall “Spenser for Hire.”

          • From memory i wouldn’t describe the scene as an orgy exactly, but as a kind of bonding exercise they do before confronting IT. But yes it would be extremely problematic to film and i don’t remember the other film version tackling it either.

  8. Personally, I think the writers of Smurfs should have worked in a tall, well-toned character that looked like Richard, with a dark beard, to be captured by the height challenged, pseudo Amazonian female village. They would of course have treated their captive in exactly the way they would be tempted.
    They may have needed to change the rating, but I would have seen it. 😈 😂

  9. Looks like you had some FUN doing this one…..I definitely had fun reading it. Slam dunk. Do I remember correctly that RA did audition for IT? He said he was “up for Pennywise (!!!) and there probably was an audition video of him screaming & running around naked somewhere”. I think RA has lost roles to both Benedict and Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise) before.

    • It was useful to have this to write while I was watching the FL news. Yes, he was up for Pennywise. Not feeling bad about that (sorry Armitage!).

  10. Thanks for the giggles. Enjoyable. “language?” lol…sheesh with all the F words in BS…amazing. lol

  11. “Richard Armitage was already in one gloomy medieval film this summer that no one saw…” AUTSCH – but true giggle

    Re Baywatch: The Hoff is busy trying to bring down the mexican wall before it’s even built, so I would have been totally understanding if RA played his part in the movie 😉

    ROFLMAO Thanks a lot for the that post Serv!!!

  12. This is fun. King Arthur seemed semi-serious (I could see Richard as Merlin!), but the Smurfs and Emoji movie took it in a different direction.

  13. Excellent ^^

  14. ROFL!! My fave comment: “Fan response: “We love it when Richard uses social media!” 😉
    Of this list of movies I’ve only seen King Arthur and really wasn’t too blown away by it. Richard would for sure have made it better. 🙂

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