Final Fantasy: Spirits Within - Officially a flop?

BrianB

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SquareSoft ducks out of the movie business after a poor performance from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
The disappointing performance of the CGI movie has forced the publisher expect a loss in its current fiscal year. Profits from the film touched $30 million, way below the expected $80-90 million figure.
From
FGNOnline
Anyone know any more about this?
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Jason Seaver

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Profits?
Profits??????
I would be shocked if Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within came anywhere near a profit; according to the IMDB, Square made a $137M movie which grossed $61M worldwide. I'm not sure what their agreement with Sony was, but if they can show a $30M profit off FFTSW, I'd like to hire their accountants.
[Edited last by Jason Seaver on October 03, 2001 at 10:26 AM]
 

BrianB

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I think the report is wrong - profit should be revenue. It had revenue of $30 million in the US, didn't it?
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Jason Seaver

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IMDB shows it as taking in about $32M in the U.S.; about half the worldwide revenue (which is normal). Admittedly, its data is only up to late-August and thus doesn't include its run in Japan. Still, Final Fantasy The Spirits Within has officially been a bomb for some time now, even if it's not quite in the Cutthroat Island category.
 

Morgan Jolley

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Even though it was officially a bomb, it was still very good. Had they not made so many bad videogames, then they would be rolling in money after the release of Final Fantasy X in America. Instead, they will be counting change.
 

gregstaten

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And the DVD looks absolutely stunning and sounds fantastic. Several of us saw it at Widescreen Review last week. This is a reference quality direct-digital transfer from Columbia.
-greg
 

DaveF

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Unfortunately, I'm not surprised it went over badly in the US. FF:TSW was much more in the style of 'anime' than action movie. And anime doesn't do well theatrically in the US.
And while I think it's an average film overall, it is truly breathtaking visually (it is truly art, to me), and does some interesting things that typical action movies don't.
And if it did poorly financially, then we won't be seeing more, which is a pity.
 

Jeremiah

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Even though the movie is incredible to look at, that can only take a movie so far. I thought I could just watch the film and not worry about the plot or acting but I was wrong. It was just a cheesy movie with great CGI.
 

Marvin Richardson

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I hardly think Square has been making "so many bad videogames." They only release a few games a year, and what they've released so far on the PS2 have pretty much just been testing the development waters. I doubt they spent much money on Driving Emotion Type-S and The Bouncer. Their main games, Final Fantasy and the Chrono series, have been nothing but wonderful and have made the company all kinds of money.
I don't think that the moving failing in the states has anything to do with it being more anime, seeing as how it bombed in Japan almost as badly as it did here.
The cost of the movie is somewhat deceptive, too. They basically had to create a whole studio. Any further movies wouldn't have cost as much. Of course they STILL wouldn't have made a profit. Square is making the best decision they can. Videogames are their bread and butter, and they shouldn't let movie-making drag down the whole company.
Sony, on the other hand, makes TONS of bad games. Great system, but horrible first-party software.
 

Morgan Jolley

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If you consider the studio they made as an investment and don't count it for the movie, they probably broke even, if not a little less, with ticket sales.
Square has made many bad games on PSX. Chocobo's Dungeon? Chocobo Racing? Ehrgeiz? True, all the good games sell like crazy, but you can't say that every bad game they had was testing the waters.
I thought the Bouncer was pretty good, for what it was. Oh, and Chrono isn't exactly much of a series since it has 2 games that were released several years apart from eachother. Its a budding series.
I loved the FF movie. Many people think its cheesy because this movie accurately represented the games without being the games. Had Tomb Raider had even less of a storyline and more places that Lara went to, it would have been an accurate representation of the game. Overall, FF was very good. Some say that the plot was cheesy because of the subject matter and the emotions, but if that makes a movie cheesy, then what the hell was Hanks doing in You've Got Mail? Chick flicks have twice as much cheese and make even more money. My guess: people who say its cheesy and had a bad story didn't get it or missed the "info" in the ending.
Visually stunning. Yes. I was surprised the cinematography was so good, especially since they used a computer. Excellent.
Oh, and Sony does make bad games. They have a good one or two every once in a while, and its usually a VERY good game, but the rest suck.
 

Marvin Richardson

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Yeah, they make bad games, but I guess my point was that the ones they spend a lot anything near significant amounts of money on are well received and sell well.
I consider Chrono a series now. Chrono Trigger on SNES, Chrono Cross on PSX, and Chrono Trigger remake on PSX. Plus Chrono 3 on PS2...it's in the very early stages of development. I know, I know, its a stretch, but I absolutely love the Chrono games...much better than most FF games with the exception of FF VI.
 

DaveF

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Even though the movie is incredible to look at, that can only take a movie so far. I thought I could just watch the film and not worry about the plot or acting but I was wrong. It was just a cheesy movie with great CGI.
Then how do you account for "The Rock", "Armageddon", and "Mission Impossible 2"?

I don't go to an art gallery for the plot; Likewise I can just watch FF for its visual beauty.
It's too bad that Square won't do any more movies -- I'd go see them.
 

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They will probably claw back a load on the DVD. I am not interested in this movie but when you do a great DVD of a so-so movie it can make it worth picking up to a lot of people.
I would say that the technology to develop these movies seems sound enough. But Pixar don't write their own movies, do they? Effectively they have made an advert for their film production technology so if there's someone out there with a script that could benefit then I'm sure they'll come knocking on the door and we'll see a decent film.
Theo
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Jason Seaver

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But Pixar don't write their own movies, do they?
Yes, they do, for the most part. Joss Whedon was brought in to do the script for Toy Story, but one of the reasons, if not the main reason, Pixar is so successful is John Lasseter, one of the best storytellers in cinema today (and they've got Brad Bird working there too!).
 

DaveF

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But Pixar don't write their own movies, do they?
Backing up Jason, yes they do. There is a lot of back-and-forth with Disney. But with, say, Toy Story 2, that was Pixar's story, refined no doubt with Disney's help, but it originated at Pixar.
 

TheoGB

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Ahh I knew Joss had done Toy Story but wasn't sure about the rest. It is still a fact that you're better off getting someone else to write your scripts, especially if you're used to writing for Computer games.
Also I find Japanese games are marked out by their abyssmal dialogue (though other games are pretty awful no matter where their origins). Valve stated that Metal Gear Solid owned them while writing Half-Life, and it shows in the game design. But the spoken sections of H-L are great whereas MGS is just pure corn through and through.
Theo
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DaveF

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And it's probably not a good sign when the James Woods/villain character says something and the audience is nodding... Yes... He makes a good point...
Actually, that is a good sign. That's typical of the few anime films I've seen: the situation is not sharply black and white. The choices made by both good and bad guys cover many grays in a complex situation, and we can see the logic or sense in the 'bad' choices. Hmm... a bit like real life...

But yes, the voice acting and writing was not the same caliber of typical Disney animations.
 

Jason Seaver

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Ah, but the problem was, it was black and white. The villain was the reasonable one while the "good guys" were clearly insane. Even when he started killing his own subordinates, I still had a hard time getting out of his corner. I don't quite think that's what the writers were shooting for.
 

TheLongshot

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Well, the problem is that Square bet the farm on one film and its future as a film production unit was all based on that. If Square was serious about being in films, they should have worked on smaller projects first and built up that division. Instead, they did a vanity piece that was technically brilliant, but from all reports (I haven't seen it yet), lacked soul. Sorry to see it, since the animation looked great, and damned if we could use another animation studio in the states.
Jason
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