Movie: The Illusionist vs The Prestige
I watched DVDs of these two movies sometime in May, and made this comparison
The Illusionist (I) vs The Prestige (P)
Theatrical Release: 9/1/2006 (I) vs 10/20/2006 (P)
Budget: 16.5 million (I) vs 40 million (P)
Gross in US: 39.8 million (I) vs 53 million (P)
Theme: magician; one magician fighting for his love one (I) vs two magicians competing with each other, initiated by the loss of a love one (P)
IMDB: 7.7 (32,510 votes) (I) vs 8.4 (59,357 votes) (P)
Tomatometer: 75% in critics 87% in users (I) vs 74% in critics 92% in users (P)
Both starts the story at one essential stage performance with some involvement of the police or the court. Then the story go back to the earlier days till that important show. From there the story continues and unfold the mystery.
However in The Prestige, it is presented more in the form of flashbacks, while The Illusionist is more linear in time.
What do we learn from these facts?
- Profit margin is higher in The Illusionist, because of the lower budget (because of the movie stars or the filming location?) . But I guess the DVD sales in The Prestige would be higher than The Illusionist due to its higher user rating. This implies that for a high-budget movie the movie company can only hope the DVD sales can really make money for them (that is, to release as many editions of DVD as possible, e. g. the theatrical version, special edition, extended cut and/or the director cut etc).
- According to Tomatometer, both films received about the same responses from the critics, but for general moviegoers, they like The Prestige more than The illusionist. What’s the important factor causing this difference? Actors? Story? Director? For the latter, it affects how the story is told (Story Structure). Or, just the marketing?
I don’t have enough information to make the conclusion. But do the movie companies pay enough attention to what moviegoers like? This reminds me of the article I read, “The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller” (New York Times, May 16, 2007). It’s not the book from a well-known author that can make lots of money for the publisher, but the surprise bestseller from a little-known or even a debut author. Well, probably the movie industry isn’t so much like a casino as publishing is (Why? Do they listen to the moviegoers more than the publishers to the readers?), but it may be a gambling when making a big-budget film.