Mrs Brown’s Age of Extinction could soon be upon us

Two movies are going to tear up the box office this week. Imagine if they were one . . .

Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 00:00

An entertainment phenomenon dismisses the critics as his film eats up the box-office. “They love to hate and I don’t care; let them hate. They’re still going to see the movie!” he says. You could be forgiven for thinking that was Brendan O’Carroll speaking. Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie has, indeed, been enjoying a staggeringly successful week at cinemas in the UK and Ireland. Unless I’m making this up, the film has taken more in seven days than the Star Wars series accumulated in 30 years. Did I read an article in which gross national products of small nations were mentioned? Probably not.

Anyway, it’s enormous. All this despite overwhelmingly negative reviews from those pretentious, elitist critics. Though O’Carroll did allow irritation to show as host of The Marian Finucane Show last week – launching a deeply puzzling attack on this newspaper in the process – he has, for the most part, declared himself uninterested in what the reviewers say.

The words above were, however, not from the Finglas man. You couldn’t say that Brendan O’Carroll has much in common with Michael Bay. One is a diminutive, unpretentious striver who took decades to work his way up from waiter to all-round entertainer. The other is a sleek, tall Californian who made his name in advertising before bursting eardrums with such hugely budgeted action adventures as Armageddon, Pearl Harbour and the Transformers franchise. Yet, this summer, the two men find themselves manacled together in an unlikely embrace. Both get consistently trashed by the critics. Both retain hugely dedicated followings. Both pretend to ignore those terrible reviews.

It seems highly probable that Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie and Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction will be the two most successful films of the summer at the domestic box office (and far from improbable that they will occupy the top spots for the whole year). That was, indeed, Michael Bay we quoted at the top of the piece. “I used to get bothered by it, but I think it’s good to get the dialogue going. It makes me think, and it keeps me on my toes, so it’s good,” he continued.

Obviously, you don’t accumulate these sorts of numbers without crossing demographics. But the similarities in the two men’s current situations should not distract us from noting how very different their core audiences and unique selling propositions are. O’Carroll skews towards the older end of the market; Bay plays largely to the kids. O’Carroll deals in gritty comedy; Bay employs extravagant special effects to create fantastic worlds.

A terrifying, terrifying vista begins to form in my mind’s eye. Should they join forces for Mrs Brown II (or Transformers V), they will surely annihilate all before them. No niche demographic will escape. What have I done? I think of Oppenheimer quoting the Bhagavad Gita at Los Alamos. “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Burn this column. You didn’t hear anything. Move along. Nothing to see here.

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